Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus has revealed he’s in the dark about what the future holds for Pablo Mari as Arsenal attempt to push through a January deal for the centre-back. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wants the former Manchester City defender to bolster his squad but a potential move is being held up by the north Londoners’ desire for the switch to initially be on loan.
Mari has flown back to his native Brazil having been in the UK for a medical over the weekend, giving rise to fears the transfer might collapse and Arsenal will be left empty-handed.
After returning to work on Monday following the Brazilian off-season, though, Jesus offered Arsenal fans hope the switch could still be in the works as he admitted the 26-year-old’s future was out of his hands.
The fact Jesus is yet to hear either way about Mari’s future suggests an agreement may be reached before Friday night’s deadline.
According to ESPN, when asked about Flamengo’s pursuit of Inter Milan striker Gabriel Barbosa and for an update on Mari, Jesus said: “Gabi is not a Flamengo player, he is Inter. Pablo, yes, is from Flamengo.
“Pablo stood out after the beautiful season [in 2019 when Flamengo won the Brazilian title and Copa Libertadores], there is a market, demand, but this is left to the management, I don’t know exactly what’s happening.
“Gabi is also a player that we really want, like Pablo, that we want in our squad. We are confident of Gabi, it has to do with the direction to achieve [a deal]. Pablo too, but he’s already on a different plane.”
Arteta’s eagerness to bring in a new centre-back is born out of David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi’s failure to impress this season.
None of the trio have established themselves as sure-fire starters despite their senior status and Arsenal are in dire need of upgrades to be able to contend with the Premier League’s frontrunners.
Express Sport understands Dayot Upamecano is Arsenal’s first-choice to bolster their defence and they plan to raid RB Leipzig for him in the summer.
For now, the Gunners are focussing on sealing loans and low cost permanent transfers as their coffers were left severely depleted by last summer’s mega spree.
Flamengo are thought to be demanding Arsenal stump up cash for Mari up front, which means his prospective arrival at the Emirates has been put on hold until a solution can be found.
Arsenal currently sit a disappointing 10th in the Premier League and will return to top-flight action on Sunday when they travel to Burnley.