Pablo Mari of Flamengo
Defender Pablo Mari of Flamengo may no longer be joining Arsenal after transfer talks have reportedly died. Marcelo Sayao/Shutterstock.

Arsenal’s plans to sign Flamengo’s Pablo Mari are reportedly on the “verge of collapse” after the defender is understood to have travelled back to Brazil following his north London medical.

It was expected that the centre-back would become the first signing under manager Mikel Arteta, but his arrival seemingly hangs in the balance following his departure from England.

Simon Jones of MailOnline wrote that Arsenal director Edu—who travelled with Mari to Heathrow from his native Brazil—“did not anticipate any problems” with the transfer. However, he added the former Manchester City defender—who failed to appear for the Citizens—has returned to Rio de Janeiro disappointed.

Sam Dean of the Telegraph offered hope, however, after he reported the plan was always for Mari to return to Brazil, adding the two clubs are still haggling over the deal.

It’s said Arsenal are keen to sign the 26-year-old on loan with a view to a permanent transfer, but current employers Flamengo want to sell the player in January.

The Gunners are in need of defensive reinforcements after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the rest of the season following a serious knee injury in December. Left-back Kieran Tierney has also been held back in his debut season and looks likely to be sidelined until March.

Former Gimnastic and Mallorca defender Mari joined Flamengo from City in July and helped the Brazilian outfit win the 2019 Copa Libertadores.

He could hope to propel Arteta’s side back into silverware contention in north London, though Arsenal’s most probable piece of winter business now looks less certain.