Free agent World Cup defender picks Argentine side over Arsenal - report

Speculation last week linked Arsenal with a swoop for free agent centre back Mario Yepes, but the Colombian looks set for a move to San Lorenzo.

Arsenal's summer spending topped £75m with the deadline day signing of Danny Welbeck, as the 24-year-old moved from Manchester United to join David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium with manager Arsene Wenger looking to mount a title challenge.

However, fans are still disappointed that the club failed to bring in a new central defender. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have formed a strong partnership in the heart of the Gunners backline, but there is no depth behind them at all after Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen was sold to Barcelona for £15m.

The transfer deadline passed without a centre back arriving, despite rumours of moves for Toby Alderweireld and Matija Nastasic. Instead, speculation suggested that Wenger had turned his attention to a 38-year-old free agent who looked dominant at this summer's World Cup.

Mario Yepes recently left Atalanta at the end of his contract, but the experienced centre back showed that he still has what it takes to be effective at the highest level having captained Colombia to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil. Alongside the more athletic Cristian Zapata, Yepes was strong and uncompromising, with his exceptional leadership a key reason for Colombia's success.

His age has no doubt put a number of teams off the idea of signing him, but speculation in Colombia late last week suggested that Yepes had been offered a short-term deal by Arsenal, with Premier League clubs still able to sign free agents outside of the transfer window.

Yet any prospect of a deal is now looking unlikely, with news in Argentina reporting that Yepes is poised to sign a deal with San Lorenzo ahead of their FIFA Club World Cup campaign later this year. At almost 39, Yepes is looking for one last big occasion rather than sitting behind Koscielny and Mertesacker at the Emirates Stadium - leaving Wenger thin in defence once again.

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