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Arsenal sign Pablo Mari from Flamengo

The Spanish defender becomes Mikel Arteta's first signing as Gunners head coach after completing loan move

29 January, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

PABLO Mari arrived at Arsenal boasting he has joined “one of the best clubs in the world” after agreeing a six-month loan deal from Brazilian side Flamengo.

It is understood the Gunners have paid an initial fee in the region of £4m to sign the 26-year-old until the end of the season, and will pay a further £8m in the summer should they want to make the transfer permanent.

Mari, who spent three years at Manchester City but never played a first team game for the club, is Mikel Arteta’s first signing since taking over as Arsenal’s head coach in December.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining such a big club,” said Mari after finalising his deal this afternoon (Wednesday). “I’m really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team.

“It’s a massive opportunity for me to come to England, which is the best league in the world right now. Being able to play in this league and having the opportunity to play for Arsenal is incredible.”

Asked what Arsenal fans can expect him to bring to the pitch, Mari added: “I’m a very professional player. I like working hard every day to achieve objectives.

“One thing I can control is working hard on a daily basis to help my team-mates to win football matches and repay the faith that Mikel and Arsenal have shown me by signing me to play here, so that’s my main objective. I want to take it one day at a time and achieve big things at Arsenal.”

Mari recently played against Liverpool in the Club World Cup final, where he was part of a solid backline that received praise for how they handled Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.

Reflecting on the game, he said: “It was a great experience. It was really exciting to play against a big club and I think I performed really well.

“At the end of the day, they’re just people like everyone else. Obviously they’re in great form at the moment and they’re among the best players in the world, but we also have a fantastic team with top players.

“This is football and that’s the way you have to look at it. You have to compete against every side, whether it’s Liverpool or any other club in the world. I have a lot of faith in this great club, Arsenal, and I know we’re going to do very well.”

With the transfer window slamming shut at 11pm on Friday, Mari’s move could well be the only bit of business that Arsenal carry out in January.

They have also been linked with Ukrainian defender Mykola Matviyenko, but with Shakhtar Donetsk wanting in the region of £30m that’s a deal that is off the cards – at least until the summer.

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