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The Premier League club who wanted to sign Pablo Mari before Arsenal made January transfer move

Pablo Mari will become Arsenal’s first January transfer window signing, if all goes to plan in the next 24 hours.

The Flamengo central defender is expected to put pen to paper on a loan deal with a view to making the move permanent in the summer and will become head coach Mikel Arteta’s first signing.

Arsenal have been on the lookout for defensive reinforcements all month, with a number of names being linked with a transfer.

Mari’s name came somewhat out of the blue when he was spotted with Arsenal technical director Edu on Friday night with the Gunners hierarchy having stepped up their pursuit for defensive reinforcements this month after Calum Chambers suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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Mari actually has experience in England already, having signed for Manchester City in 2016, although he failed to make a first team appearance at the Etihad Stadium.

And while Arsenal look set to complete the deal now, that might not have been the case had another Premier League side stepped up their interest in him.

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Last month it was reported that Mari’s former employers Manchester City were keen to re-sign him.

According to Spanish journalist Todo Fichajes City were keeping tabs on their former players ahead of a potential January transfer because of the injury to Aymeric Laporte.

However, they did not make a move for the Flamengo star and Arsenal have been left to tie up a deal.

Mari told The Athletic that he signed for City because he believed he could cut it in the Premier League.

He said: “In my mind, I was moving to Manchester but I’d only been there once for my medical.  

“I signed for City in 2013 but I’ve never met Pep Guardiola or any of the first-team players. I’d love to one day speak to him because he’s one of the greatest ever coaches. And when I signed for City, I did so because I felt that one day, I could play for them.”