Pablo Mari to Arsenal: Transfer deal with Flamengo, medical and more - what we know so far

Tom Doyle
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Mikel Arteta is set to seal his first signing as Arsenal manager, with Pablo Mari on his way to London.

Who is Pablo Mari?

Pablo Marí Villar is a 26-year-old Spanish centre-back currently playing for Flamengo.

Is Mari joining Arsenal?

Standard Sport understands Arsenal are closing in on a deal, with Mari due to arrive in London on Saturday lunchtime for a medical and to confirm personal terms. Mari is set to join Arsenal on loan with a view to a permanent transfer.

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Why do Arsenal want Mari?

Mikel Arteta is short of numbers in defence with Calum Chambers ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

Shkodran Mustafi remains error-prone, and with Mikel Arteta lacking the funds to sign RB Leipzig's £70million-rated Dayot Upamecano, a short-term deal for Mari is affordable and will - in theory - solve a problem area immediately.

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Early days

Mari was born in Almussafes, in Ribera Baixa in the autonomous Valencian Community of Spain on August 31, 1993.

The defender came through RCD Mallorca's youth system, and played 69 games for Mallorca B.

Mari made two appearances for the senior side before joining Gimnastic, and made 91 appearances, helping the club reach the second tier of Spanish football in 2015.

Move to Man City

A year later, Mari signed for Manchester City before being immediately loaned to Girona for the 2016/17 season.

The following season saw him move on loan again - this time to the Netherlands, where he captained NAC - and then went on loan again the next year to Deportivo La Coruna.

Mari failed to make a single first-team appearance for Man City, and was then sold to Brazilian top-flight side Flamengo in a deal worth around £1million.

Success with Flamengo

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Mari has enjoyed a fine first season at Flamengo, winning Campeonato Brasileiro Série A - the Brazilian league title - along with a dramatic Copa Libertadores victory over River Plate thanks to two late goals from Gabriel Barbosa.

The Copa success saw Flamengo qualify for the Fifa Club World Cup, where they were eventually beaten 1-0 in the final by Liverpool.

Mari played the full 120 minutes against Jurgen Klopp's side, helping to keep them at bay until Roberto Firmino's late extra-time goal.