With just a week left in the January transfer window, Arsenal are on the verge of shoring up their backline with Flamengo’s Spanish center-back Pablo Marí.
If you watched Arsenal vs Chelsea on Tuesday, you would’ve noticed some crucial mistakes from the Gunners center-backs, most notably Shkodran Mustafi, who has been an Arsenal player for far too long. We’ve been so used to seeing such dire center-backs at Arsenal that even Granit Xhaka looked far better than average for the Gunners when he played in the backline for the majority of the game against Chelsea.
Now, Mikel Arteta is looking to shore up his center-back core before the January window shuts, especially with Calum Chambers’ ACL rupture and Konstantinos Mavropanos’ loan. Flamengo center-back Pablo Marí seems to have caught Mikel Arteta’s eye, and Arsenal are reportedly on the verge of signing the 26-year-old, according to ESPN.
Marí was a Manchester City player between 2016 and 2019, which is why he would be familiar to Arteta, although Marí never made a first-team appearance for the Cityzens, going out on loan 3 times instead.
While Marí’s resume is not all that impressive overall, his performances with Flamengo last season were fantastic, as he earned a spot in the Brasileirao Team of the Year along with winning the league title and Copa Libertadores.
The Gunners have also been linked with Ukranian defender Mykola Matviyenko, who is younger than Marí but would likely cost more. An interesting tidbit about both Matviyenko and Marí – they are both left-footed, which certainly is a big hint as to what type of center-back Arteta wants to bring in.
Yesterday, Mari was also spotted at the airport with Arsenal technical director Edu.
While this signing is not the flashy, expensive one that Gooners might have been hoping for, it’s clear that Marí has some quality to his game and could help out Arsenal’s center-back core, which has been struggling for years.