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Flamengo director has hit out at Arsenal for trying to change the terms of their agreement for Pablo Mari. Mikel Arteta has been desperate to bring in a central defender this winter after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a serious knee injury.
Arsenal technical director Edu agreed a loan deal for Mari last week and the 26-year-old centre-back looked set to join the north London club before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Mari had reportedly said his goodbyes to Flamengo’s players and coaching staff and appeared to confirm his exit as he landed at Heathrow airport on Saturday.
The Gunners had even raised the prospect of a permanent £7.5million switch at the end of the season, but the move is now on the brink of collapse.
After undergoing a medical with Arsenal at the weekend, a ‘disappointed’ Mari made his way back to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – and an unnamed Flamengo director expects the Spaniard to join up with the rest of his team-mates for pre-season training.
‘We expect him at Ninho do Urubu this afternoon (for pre-season),’ he said. ‘We had agreed to sell him for a fee, he arrived in London and Arsenal changed the terms. ‘Flamengo is a serious club.’
The rumours surrounding Mari have cast serious doubt over Shkodran Mustafi’s future, but Arteta insists the German remains central to his plans at Arsenal.
Asked about Mustafi following the German’s calamitous performance against Chelsea, Arteta replied: ‘When he is my player and when he is training with me the way he does every day, of course.
‘The plans maybe in the summer were different with him. I came here, he is here and his attitude is always right and he wants to help.
‘Yes he made a mistake, but it’s OK. I like more the reaction and I look more at the reaction. ‘I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game; I really believe you can.
‘I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.
‘I can accept a mistake, no problem. What I’m not going to accept is somebody makes a mistake and after he stops playing, and he doesn’t want the ball and doesn’t want to make decisions.
That player is not acceptable for our team. ‘But Musti after that [mistake], he tried to play every single time, he went for every single challenge and put his body on the line.
He was down afterwards but he reacted and if he does that, he will overcome the situation. ‘I ask him to play the way we want to play.
He makes a mistake, another day it will be someone else. ‘Obviously we want to minimise that as quick as possible and find the reason why that happens, but I like his reaction after that.’