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Arsenal exercise buy option for Flamengo defender

Premier League side Arsenal have exercised the option to sign Pablo Mari from Flamengo on a permanent basis despite the fact that he has recently suffered a serious ankle injury.

The Spaniard made the move to the Gunners on loan from the reigning Brazilian champions during the winter transfer window after they agreed on a fee of around £4.5m.

He was able to impress in a couple of appearances in the FA Cup and Premier League respectively before the season was temporarily suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The north London outfit resumed their campaign earlier this week with an away trip to Manchester City, but it was one to forget for the 26-year-old as he was substituted after just 24 minutes with a worrying ankle injury.

Following the club’s 3-0 defeat, it has been reported that the central defender could be out for the rest of the season with the setback, but the club have still decided to sign him on a long-term deal.

According to Coluna Do Fla, Mikel Arteta’s side have chosen to activate the buy clause on the centre-back’s contract and the overall deal including the loan fee, will cost £14.5m.

Arteta has been keen on finding the balance at the heart of the backline with a left-footed centre-back and Mari has obviously been the Spaniard’s preferred choice.

Mari’s injury is definitely unfortunate for the capital outfit, considering the former Manchester City man had previously gone unscathed for 236 consecutive games while playing for different clubs.

Arsenal currently have only two fit senior centre-backs in the form of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi. Sokratis is out for a couple of weeks with a thigh strain while Mari and Calum Chambers are long-term absentees.

David Luiz, on the other hand, will serve a two-game ban after his second-straight red card of the season in midweek. There are doubts whether his contract will be extended beyond June 30 after his horror show at the Etihad Stadium where he was responsible for two goals conceded.

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