Reports: Spanish defender in London for Arsenal medical

By Mirror: Sunday, January 26th 2020 at 19:50 GMT +3 | Football
Pablo Mari lands in London ahead of completing loan move to Arsenal

Flamengo defender Pablo Mari will undergo a medical with Arsenal this weekend after arriving at Heathrow Airport with Gunners technical director Edu.

Mari, 26, is set to complete a loan deal until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

The Spanish centre-back is well-known to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta having been on the books at Manchester City, where Arteta was Pep Guardiola's assistant, for three years.

However, he never played a senior game for City as he embarked on loan spells at Girona, NAC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna, before joining Flamengo on a one-year deal in July.

He featured 30 times for the Brazilian side in the 2019 season, and was part of the defence which shut out Liverpool over 90 minutes in last month's Club World Cup final, which the Reds eventually won 1-0 in extra-time.

Mari is now set to head to London Colney with Edu, and it is hoped that Arsenal will be able to formally announce him as their new player over the weekend or at the start of next week.

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Arteta has made strengthening the Gunners' defence a key priority ever since he arrived as head coach last month.

His side have kept two clean sheets in his seven games in charge, and he saw David Luiz sent off in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday.

The Brazilian will now serve a suspension, and with Calum Chambers out with a long-term ACL injury, Sokratis Papastahopoulos suffering with a recent bout of illness and questions over the form and future of Shkodran Mustafi, Arteta has been forced to look into the transfer market.

The Gunners are next in action at Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

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