Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Flamengo defender Pablo Mari on loan until the end of the season, with an option to make the move permanent in the summer.
The Gunners announced the acquisition via the club’s official website, and Mari becomes the first new signing to arrive at the Emirates Stadium since Mikel Arteta took over as head coach, just days after the transfer appeared to be at risk.
Sky Sports reported Arsenal will play $5.2 million (£4 million) to loan Mari for the remainder of the season and must pay a further $10.4 million (£8 million) to make the transfer permanent.
The 26-year-old joined Flamengo in July 2019 from Manchester City—for whom he failed to make a single first-team appearance—and returns to the Premier League after a successful stint in Brazil.
Mari was part of the team that finished as runners-up to Liverpool in the FIFA Club World Cup in December, having previously won the 2019 Copa Libertadores and Brasileiro Serie A titles.
A statement from Arsenal included quotes from technical director Edu, who said the club “have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while.” For his part, Mari expressed excitement to be joining one of the world's great clubs:
Mari will provide important reinforcements in defence for Arsenal, who have already lost Calum Chambers for the rest of the season. Rob Holding recovered from a serious knee injury earlier in the campaign, and Shkodran Mustafi is currently sidelined due to a sprained ankle.
The Gunners sit 10th in the Premier League and have conceded 34 goals in 24 games—only ninth-place Southampton (42) have leaked more among top-half teams.
Mari will likely require some time to settle in north London, though the Spaniard could be ready in time to make his English debut when Arsenal travel to Burnley on Sunday.