Arsenal centre-back target Pablo Mari met club technical director Edu at the airport ahead of a reported transfer, with Brazilian media obtaining a photo of the meeting.
In a very fast-moving story, Flamengo defender Pablo Mari already appears close to completing a transfer to Arsenal. Paparazzo Rubro-Negro on Twitter claims the player already said his goodbyes to teammates at his current club.
Brazilian journalist Victor Gammaro then obtained a picture of the centre-back sitting alongside Arsenal director Edu Gaspar at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport.
Edu Gaspar, dirigente do Arsenal, e Pablo Marí no Galeão. pic.twitter.com/wcKhlL9D9r
— Victor Gammaro (@vgammaross) January 25, 2020
Back in England, there are differing reports over the nature of the deal. Paul Brown of the Daily Star claims it’s an £8m permanent deal. Mark Mann-Bryans and Charles Watts write that it’s an initial loan deal with an option to make it permanent.
Mari’s career so far is very interesting. He started with Mallorca, before signing with third-tier Spanish side Gimnastic. After winning promotion, he got a move to Manchester City, but he immediately went on loan.
After temporary spells with Girona, NAC Breda in the Eredivisie and Deportivo back in Spain, he joined Flamengo last summer. He won the Copa Libertadores and the Serie A, and put in an impressive performance against Liverpool in the Club World Cup final.
Now, it seems the 26-year-old is returning to England. Given his parent club was Manchester City whilst Mikel Arteta was also there, presumably the Arsenal head coach is a bit more aware of him than the rest of us.
Add in the Brazilian connection through Edu and it’s not hard to see why this transfer is happening. The player’s agent is also reportedly close with Raul Sanllehi.