Gunners tipped to make another loan swoop after completing Mari deal


Arsenal have signed Spanish defender Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo until the end of the season with the option to buy him permanently in the summer.

And reports suggest the Gunners could make one more loan signing in addition to Mari before Friday’s 11pm transfer deadline.

The 26-year-old spent a highly-successful six months with Flamengo after joining for just over £1million from Manchester City last summer.

He was an integral part of the Rio club’s march to the Copa Libertadores Final, which they won in dramatic circumstances against River Plate in November, before shining in Flamengo’s Fifa World Club Cup campaign in Qatar.

Flamengo officially announced his departure on Tuesday night when they published a video of the player’s farewell on social media, which included highlights of the defender’s short time at the club.

“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,” Arsenal technical director Edu, who flew to Brazil to push through the deal, said on Wednesday.

Mari has experience of English football from his time at Manchester City from 2016-19, although he never featured for Pep Guardiola’s first-team and spent most of his time on season-long loans at Girona, NAC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna.

“When I spoke to my agent, it was a big thing that Arsenal were interested in me,” said the left-sided defender. “This is one of the best clubs in the world, so I’m absolutely delighted to be joining. I’m really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team.”

He becomes Mikel Arteta’s first signing since the ex-Man City assistant boss was appointed as Gunners boss in December.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reckons there could be another loan addition made by the club in the time that remains in the January window.

Arsenal’s defensive problems increased with an injury to Shkodran Mustafi in their FA Cup fourth-round win at Bournemouth on Monday.

The German defender is due to have a scan after being taken off on a stretcher at Vitality Stadium.