Arsenal’s deal for Flamengo’s Pablo Mari is in jeopardy after the defender returned to Brazil without signing on the dotted line.
Mari arrived with Arsenal chief Edu on a flight from Rio de Janiero on Saturday after agreeing a deal with Flamengo to sign him on loan with view to a £7.5m transfer.
GloboEsporte claimed Edu had worked a miracle in convincing Flamengo – beaten by Liverpool in the Club World Cup final last month – to sell one of their most important players for such a small price tag.
But the Daily Mail claim Arsenal sources say Mari, 26, had his medical and was set to sign, but a late hitch has seen negotiations stall at the final hurdle.
The report claims: “A disappointed Mari is now heading back to Rio de Janeiro. Negotiations are ongoing between Flamengo and Arsenal though the Gunners are also having to consider new targets.”
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta is preparing his squad to face Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Monday and was hopeful of getting a new man into his defence for the remainder of the season.
Apparently the deal could still go through, but the Gunners are open to alternatives with just five days of the transfer window remaining.
Arsenal had held talks with Bayern Munich over a possible deal for Jerome Boateng, but talks stalled once the Bundesliga giants named their terms and then were halted once they decided to take the player off the market.
The Gunners also asked RB Leipzig about a possible deal for Dayot Upamecano, but were set back when learning of his price tag.
The news will come as a blow to Arteta, who is familiar with Mari during his time at Manchester City.
The 26-year-old left City in summer 2019 for just £1m having had loan spells at Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna. Mari though left The Etihad without having made a first-team appearance for Pep Guardiola’s side.