PHOTO: Arsenal-linked World Cup star signs for Argentine side on free transfer

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Despite speculation linking him with a move to Arsenal, Colombian centre back Mario Yepes has joined Argentine side San Lorezno.

 

After selling Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona for £15m, Arsenal needed to sign a centre back as cover for first choice pairing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, and whilst the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Kostas Manolas and Matija Nastasic were all linked as deadline day approached, manager Arsene Wenger chose to focus his attention on signing a new forward in Danny Welbeck instead.

Premier League clubs are still able to sign free agents though, and that's where new speculation emerged from last week. After starring in Colombia's journey to the World Cup quarter-finals, centre back Mario Yepes had reportedly been lined up to sign a short-term contract to provide cover in defence after Wenger had been impressed with his spell at Paris Saint-Germain from 2004 to 2008, where he made almost 150 appearances.

Yepes was dominant in the air and performed his role as captain perfectly, constantly marshalling his defence, which included new Arsenal signing David Ospina in goal. The only problem is that Yepes is 38 and will turn 39 in January, so pace is something of an issue for the man who was released by Atalanta earlier this summer.

However, no deal will be struck to see Yepes arrive in North London after Argentine side San Lorenzo confirmed that Yepes has joined them on a one-year deal. Yepes posed with his agent Jaime Dinas (above) upon signing for San Lorenzo, with Yepes believed to favour a run in the Club World Cup later this year over being a substitute for Arsenal.

The options in the free agent market are dwindling by the day for Arsenal, who may be short once again after Mathieu Debuchy suffered an injury. Calum Chambers will fill in, but the former Southampton man had been playing at centre back in the absence of either Koscielny or Mertesacker - but clearly Wenger didn't feel that Yepes was the man to provide that much needed depth in defence.

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