Rio Ferdinand urges Arsenal to back Mikel Arteta in Pablo Mari transfer

Mari has reportedly flown back to Brazil (Picture: Getty)

Rio Ferdinand has urged Arsenal to sign Pablo Mari after talks appeared to stall with Flamengo over the transfer.

Arsenal technical director Edu has identified Mari, a former Manchester City player, as the defender to improve a fragile Gunners defence.

Arteta has made it clear to the Arsenal board he needs a new centre-back and Mari was in London last weekend to undergo a medical.

But amid reports Flamengo are ready to pull out of the deal, Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, urged Arsenal to back their manager: ‘This is where Mikel Arteta needs to do something different to the Arsenal managers in the last eight or nine years – buy a decent centre-half.

‘Buy someone who can come in and be a mainstay and you go, “actually wow, he’s made us better”.

‘Because I haven’t seen one come in since [Laurent] Koscielny.

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‘If that’s the player [Mari] that Mikel Arteta wants and he deems him the man who’s going to come in and shore up the defence, I think he deserves that.

‘You’ve invested in him as a manager, you need to invest in his ideas as a manager in the transfer market, too.’

Arteta was hoping for several additions to his squad this month, but the board has been restricted by limited transfer funds.

Arsenal have been pushing for loan deals, but have failed in bids to sign Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matviyenko.

Flamengo are reportedly furious that Arsenal for trying to ‘change the terms’ of the deal after Mari had arrived in London.

‘We expect him at Ninho do Urubu this afternoon (for pre-season),’ an unnamed director said.

Flamengo feel Arsenal have tried to pull one over on them at the death (Picture: Getty)

‘We had agreed to sell him for a fee, he arrived in London and Arsenal changed the terms. Flamengo is a serious club.’

Arsenal have until Friday to sign players, with the January transfer window set close at 11pm on 31 January.

MORE: Mikel Arteta rules out Barcelona’s chances of signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal in January

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