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Arsenal seals six-month loan of Pablo Mari after embarrassing row


During his short stint in South America, Mari won the Copa Libertadores and the league title<br />Photo:

Arsenal have completed the loan signing of Pablo Mari from Flamengo.The deal for the 26-year-old Spaniard was confirmed on Wednesday with Mari arriving on six-month loan for a fee of around £4million. He will then join the club permanently in the summer with further add-ons.

Flamengo gave him permission to travel back to London and announced late on Tuesday night that they had confirmed the signing of Athletico Paranaense defender Leo Pereira for £5.9m as his replacement.

After finalising the move, the Spaniard revealed he was delighted to be joining the Emirates outfit.“When I spoke to my agent, it was a big thing that Arsenal were interested in me,’ Mari told the Arsenal website.“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.”


The move brings an end to an embarrassing saga between the two clubs which saw the transfer almost collapse.Mari had flown to London last Saturday with Edu, Arsenal’s technical director, and had his medical only for Flamengo to change their demands on the amount of money that was paid up front.

Mari was forced to return to Rio de Janeiro on Monday for the start of pre-season training but failed to report as he pushed to revive his dream move. But the switch has now gone through.“Right now I want to focus on the day-to-day side of things,’ Mari added on Wednesday.

“I think we need to put the plans to one side for now because the most important thing is to take things one day at a time and focus on achieving short-term goals.“We need to change the dynamic around the team, so the short-term objectives are the most important thing. As I’ve said, we have Mikel’s ideas, aligned with the club, and we need to perform very well to change things.’

Mari only moved to Flamengo in July but impressed during his short stint in South America.“The time has come to say goodbye to this defender who arrived at Flamengo to make his mark in our history with the titles of the CONMEBOL Libertadores and the Brazilian championship. Pablo Mari, thanks for everything,’ the club tweeted. Edu revealed Arsenal have been tracking Mari for some time.

“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,’ he said. “We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season.

“Together with Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.’ The need to add to his defensive ranks was not lost on Arteta, who has seen Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi sidelined with injuries and Konstantinos Mavropanos leave for Nurnberg on loan.“Mari came through the ranks at Real Mallorca before moving on to Gimnastic and then to Manchester City.
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