Arsenal have opted to make the loan signing of Pablo Mari permanent in a reported deal worth up to £14m - despite the defender potentially being ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.
Mari joined the Gunners from Brazilian side Flamengo in January as they looked to bolster their defensive options. An initial loan fee of £4.2m was paid, though a clause was added to the deal that the north Londoners could make the move a permanent one should they choose.
Mari limped off in the 3-0 defeat to champions Manchester City on Wednesday, with boss Mikel Arteta confirming the defender may require surgery, an injury which could see the Spaniard miss the remainder of the campaign.
Despite the setback, Brazilian news outlet Coluna Do Fla report that the Gunners have decided to exercise the clause in the defender’s contract, meaning he will sign permanently once his loan deal expires.
The muted transfer fee is said to include a number of bonuses, with the Gunners potentially shelling out as much as £14m for the 26-year-old.
Since arriving at the Emirates, Mari has made just three appearances for Arteta’s side. The Flamengo loanee made his Arsenal debut against Portsmouth in the FA Cup and played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over West Ham in March.
The signing might signal the end of David Luiz’s Arsenal career. The Brazilian endured a torrid time against City after replacing the injured Mari, with his error leading to Raheem Sterling’s opener, before being sent off for a challenge on Riyad Mahrez which ultimately led to City’s second of the night.
The former Chelsea man will subsequently be suspended for the Gunners’ trip to Brighton on Saturday, as Arteta’s men look to put Wednesday’s torrid showing behind them and finish a turbulent campaign strongly.