Arsenal turned down chance to sign 21-year-old Brazilian defender

Sao Paulo have confirmed that Gunners explored a potential deal for Walce in the winter transfer window. Spaniard was intent on strengthening his options in the back-line after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a severe knee injury and London club spent the winter scouring the market for possible solutions.

Arsenal went on to reach a loan agreement for 26-year-old Flamengo defender Pablo Mari, and Mikel Arteta made two appearances for the Gunners before the coronavirus pandemic forced the football campaign to be put on hold. Mari played his debut game excellently in Arsenal and proved his worth one more time.

Technical director Edu utilised his extensive talks back home to get a deal over the line for Pablo Mari, and it appears he wasn’t the only player on Gunners radar in Brazil. Alexandre Passaro, executive boss of Sao Paulo, claims Arsenal held talks to land their 21-year-old centre-back Walce before Pablo Mari signed on the dotted line.

‘Walce had a proposal from Red Bull Bragantino, which we denied,’ Passaro said. Gunners are heavily considering making Pablo Mari’s deal permanent in the summer, which could cost them nearly £14m, but several alternatives have emerged as targets over recent weeks.

Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Frankfurt’s Evan N’Dicka are both being watched, and reports in Italy claim Arsenal have made an offer for Chris Smalling. Chris has impressed on loan at Roma this campaign which has also put the likes of Tottenham, Everton and Leicester on alert. It’s understood United are demanding a fee of at least £25m.