EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal turn to Pablo Maia as Douglas Luiz alternative

Arsenal are looking to Sao Paulo midfielder Pablo Maia as a potential January addition to Mikel Arteta’s midfield, FootballTransfers understands.

The 21-year-old is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Brazilian football currently and has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €11.6 million.

Indeed, new Arsenal scout Paulo Xavier’s first job was to monitor Maia after being assigned a reconnaissance mission by sporting director Edu, who previously worked with Xavier with the Brazil national team in 2016.

Arsenal have been monitoring Pablo for some weeks, with reports of their interest first emerging in November. They are now getting ready to act on that as moves for other alternatives are proving difficult.

The Emirates side have primarily targeted Douglas Luiz and Joao Palhinha of Aston Villa and Fulham respectively as targets for January but deals for both are complicated.

With the prospect of getting a deal for either of these players across the line next month fading, the Gunners are ready to turn towards an increasingly familiar source of players for them.

Arsenal have sought to take advantage of the South American market in recent seasons by signing Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano in 2019 and Marquinhos from Sao Paulo in 2022.

Now Pablo Maia is the latest Brazilian ace to be linked with a move to Arsenal, as a potential replacement for Thomas Partey.

Maia is one of several exciting talents coming through in Brazil. The youngster, who has already made more than 100 appearances for his club, is one of several Brazilian youngsters Arsenal have been looking at in the last few months, with Marcos Leonardo being the most prominent.

What type of player is Pablo Maia?
Pablo Maia is primarily a deep-lying player, who was one of the stronger midfielders in Brazil’s Serie A during the 2023 season.

According to data analytics experts SciSports, Pablo was impressive in terms of his ball retention and finishing, while his positioning is another aspect of his game that is a particular strength.

He was, however, weaker defensively, notably scoring poorly in terms of his recoveries and pressing.

Read more about: Premier League, Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Fulham, Sao Paulo, Douglas Luiz, Joao Palhinha, Pablo Maia

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