Mikel Arteta has stated that following the season-ending injury from the midfielder, he wants to sign Pablo Mari permanently this summer.
The Spanish defender arrived on loan in January from the Brazilian side Flamengo and made just three appearances for the Gunners. He was injured during the defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday night and is now expected to miss the remainder of the season with damage to the ankle ligament.
But Arteta says the injury won’t change his summer plans and that securing Mari remains a priority permanently.
When asked specifically if we want to complete a permanent move for the 26-year-old,” Absolutely,” said the head coach of Arsenal.
Arsenal charged Flamengo with an initial loan fee of £4.25 million ($5.5 million) to take the 26-year-old in January, which included an opportunity to make the transfer permanent for a further £8 m ($9.9 million) payable in various installments.
Flamengo vice president Marcos Braz said a permanent contract was already negotiated on Friday, something that has since been refuted by Arsenal sources-but Arteta hopes the Gunners management can take up the option given the financial turmoil currently surrounding the club.
With William Saliba arriving at Saint-Etienne this summer after his season-long loan, he and Mari could form a new-look partnership in the heart of next season’s defense of Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Arteta praised Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the way he responded to the challenge he was facing just before the coronavirus pandemic suspended football.
Under Arteta the young midfielder had struggled for game time, making only three brief replacement appearances in two months before lockdown.
It seems those words had the desired effect, with Maitland-Niles coming off the bench at halfway through the second half of the 3-0 loss at City on Wednesday night.
However, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Brighton, Arteta says he’s much pleased with the level of dedication however attitude of the teenager.