Arsenal agree deal for 23-year-old star as Arteta closes-in on first signing

By on January 28, 2020

According to Ukrainian outlet Zbrina, Arsenal have a deal in place to sign Nikolai Matviyenko and must now decide between the Shakhtar Donetsk star or Pablo Mari.

Mikel Arteta has made no secret of his desire to bring in reinforcements this month and centre-back is a particular area of concern as Calum Chambers has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury.

Dinos Mavropanos has been loaned to Nurnberg, Rob Holding is taking time getting back to his best following a serious injury while Shkodran Mustafi was stretchered off during Arsenal’s FA Cup win at Bournemouth on Monday night.

So we desperately need to sign another central defender this week and Matviyenko emerged as a potential target last week when his agent confirmed Arsenal were in talks over a deal to sign the Shakhtar star.

It looked like we then turned our attention to Pablo Mari as the Spaniard flew in to London with Arsenal director Edu over the weekend to undergo a medical ahead of a proposed move from Flamengo.

That deal then stalled as Arsenal want a simple loan until the summer while Flamengo prefer a permanent sale so we’re still trying to thrash out terms with the Brazilian outfit and Mari has already flown back to South America.

However, it appears Arsenal have been negotiating both deals simultaneously as Ukrainian media outlet Zbrina claims we have a deal agreed in principal to sign Matviyenko and Shakhtar are now just waiting for the go-ahead to complete the transfer.

It’s suggested in the report that Arsenal are yet to decide whether to push ahead with the deal for Matviyenko due to our interest in Mari so I think we’ve lined up the Matviyenko deal in-case we can’t get terms agreed with Flamengo.

Either way, it looks like one of Matviyenko or Mari will be arriving in north London before the window closes on Friday night so Arteta should have his first signing wrapped-up over the coming days.

Matviyenko has shown huge promise since breaking into the Shakhtar team and he’s got 20 caps for Ukraine already so in a lot of ways the 23-year-old looks to be the better bet on paper.

Mari failed to make it during his three year at Man City but has shone since joining Flamengo last year. At 26, he’s older than Matviyenko but the 6ft 3″ centre-back would certainly be an imposing presence at the back.

Both players have their strengths and weaknesses but I just hope Arsenal manage to get one of the deals over the line as we desperately need more bodies in defence.