Udinese are reportedly on the verge of completing a deal to sign Arsenal defender Pablo Mari on a short-term loan deal.

According to reliable Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Pablo Mari is set to join Udinese in this January transfer window. The Serie A outfit have reached an agreement with Arsenal over a loan deal for the Spanish defender, who is expected to play the second half of the season in Italy.

The short-term loan deal expires at the end of the season, with Udinese having no option to redeem the player. Mari was courted by several other clubs this January, including South American giants Flamengo, but the defender opted to remain in Europe in an attempt to redeem himself after a difficult period under Mikel Arteta.

Majorly a first-team regular at Arsenal up until the end of last season, Mari has been a victim of the club’s lavish policy in the transfer market that saw them bring in Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the summer. Quite predictably, the Spaniard has fallen out of favour at the Emirates this term, mustering a total of just 180 minutes of league football.

Mari’s struggles with a lack of game-time saw him reportedly being offered to Valencia earlier this month. But it appears Udinese have won the race to sign the 28-year-old, who is more than prepared to revive his career in Serie A during the second half of the campaign.

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Udinese are likely targeting the Arsenal centre-back as a direct replacement for Samir, who has joined Watford in the winter transfer window. The Serie A club had also lacked a reliable alternative for first-choice options Bram Nuytinck and Rodrigo Becao, especially with Sebastien De Maio also moving on to LR Vicenza.

Pablo Mari’s ability to play in a back three, therefore, could prove to be useful for coach Gabriele Cioffi, who has done a decent job since taking over from Luca Gotti on an interim basis.

As for Arsenal, they were linked with a move for Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet, potentially as an alternative for Gabriel and White at centre-back. But it won’t be surprising to see them refrain from making any attempts to replace Mari, as Arteta appears to be comfortable with the central defensive options he currently has at his disposal, including Rob Holding.

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