Premier League giants Arsenal added Pablo Mari to Mikel Arteta’s squad after missing out on his Sao Paulo teammate Walce.

Sao Paolo held talks with Arsenal about a potential deal for centre-back Walce before a cruel injury blow forced the Gunners to turn to his highly-rated teammate Pablo Mari instead, sporting director Alexandre Passaro has told ESPN.

Finding left-sided centre-halves is no easy feat in today’s market, so the North London giants deserve plenty of credit for thinking outside the box to bring a one-time Manchester City youngster back to England after an impressive spell out of the limelight in South America.

Mari arrived on loan until the end of the season two months ago. And the 2019 Copa Libertadores winner has already caught the eye at the Emirates with his intelligent positioning and superb passing range.

But it seems that the former Etihad Stadium trainee was not the only Sao Paulo defender on Arsenal’s hit list.

“I can say that we had a conversation with Arsenal, we were talking to Edu Gaspar,” Passaro says, before admitting that an ill-timed injury wrecked Walce’s chances of a move to England.

“He ended up getting hurt, which happens.”

21-year-old Walce, a Brazil U23 international is now expected to miss the next few months with a cruciate ligament blow. By the time he returns, Mari might be a permanent member of Arsenal’s squad.

But, with Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi both facing uncertain futures at the Emirates beyond this summer, you can guarantee that Arsenal will be watching Walce’s recovery very closely indeed.

Interestingly, Edu was key to the deal that saw another Samba starlet, a certain Gabriel Martinelli, arrive in North London just last year.

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