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Arsenal set to complete the signing of 26-year-old Spaniard: report

Arsenal are reportedly on course to finalise their first signing of the winter transfer window with defender Pablo Mari expected to join them from Flamengo by the end of the weekend.

The 26-year-old emerged as a surprise target for the Gunners more than 24 hours ago and he has since been spotted arriving at the Heathrow Airport alongside technical director Edu, as per Goal.com.

The centre-back is scheduled to join the club on an initial loan deal with the option to buy and reports indicate that his transfer could be finalised by the end of Sunday, provided he successfully undergoes a medical.

Mari spent three years at Manchester City prior to last summer’s switch to Flamengo but during that period, he hardly got a game and spent time on loan with Girona, NAC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna.

At 6ft 3, the Spaniard should offer the Gunners with an aerial presence in and around the box but the tackling attribute is being considered as a probable weakness, as per whoscored.

Still, he was hugely impressive during the Club World Cup final defeat to Liverpool last month where he managed three successful tackles in addition to seven clearances, one interception and four aerial duels won.

A temporary deal would ideally suit Mikel Arteta to assess whether the centre-back can cope with the demands of the Premier League this season before deciding whether to trigger the optional buy-clause on the contract.

Arsenal are scheduled to face Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday night. Arteta would surely want to avoid a replay, given that would be played during the mid-season break.

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