According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta wants to sign a left-sided centre-back this summer, and the club are looking to make a permanent move for Pablo Mari.
The Spaniard was signed on a temporary basis from Flamengo in January, and he has featured twice.
The Gunners want a new centre-back this summer and have been recently linked with Reims youngster Axel Disasi.
However, the 22-year-old is a right-footed centre-back and Arteta isn’t particularly keen on adding any more player to that area of his defence, so it remains to be seen if a move for him is indeed on the cards.
“We know central defence is an area they are looking to strengthen, and in recent days, they have been linked to Axel Disasi, the Reims young French defender who has only got a year left on his contract,” the Athletic man said on The Ornstein and Chapman podcast.
“It is true that Arsenal have been tracking him over the last year or so, as have many other clubs, and I am not saying I know for sure that they would look to bring him in, but what I do know is that he is a right-footed centre half, and Mikel Arteta’s preference is to sign permanently a left-footed centre half. And as such, I understand that it’s very likely that they will make the loan deal for Pablo Mari into a permanent transfer for around £10 million and that will satisfy Arteta’s need for the left-sided centre half, but I’m not exactly sure what else they would do, whether they will bring in another centre-half or players in other positions.
“They would be busy, but I think Pablo Mari will be made permanent as I’m hearing for around £10 million.”
A major squad shake-up appears to be on the cards at Arsenal this summer, and it will be interesting to see which centre-back options Arteta will be starting the 2020-21 campaign with.
William Saliba will link up the team during the pre-season once his loan spell at Saint-Étienne ends, and he is expected to play a major role next season.
Despite playing just twice so far, Mari is also expected to be a key player for Arteta going forward as the boss knows what he is capable of from their days together at Manchester City, and getting his defensive set-up right is pertinent if Arsenal are to challenge for a top-four finish and cup titles next season.