ARSENAL have been dealt a blow in their bid to signing Philippe Coutinho with the Barcelona star looking set to stay in Spain this season.
Meanwhile Rennes have confirmed that they are in talks with the Gunners over a move for goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
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Get all the latest news and transfer gossip from North London here…
Mikel Arteta is keen to drag Arsenal up the table after a disappointing 8th place finish in the Premier League last season.
It won't be an easy start though, with trips to Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all pencilled in before the end of October.
Arsenal fans should be encouraged by their end of season run-in, however, which from here looks pretty comfortable.
ONE MAN PARTEY?
Alexandre Lacazette is seeking clarification over his role at Arsenal – but is not agitating to leave, according to reports.
The French hitman is currently in limbo at the Emirates with multiple reports suggesting he could be on his way and used as a bargaining chip for Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey.
A starting spot is also not guaranteed with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in sparkling form for much of Mikel Arteta's time in charge.
Now ESPN reports that sources have informed them that he will be allowed to leave for £40 million, with Arteta keen to raise funds.
The 29-year-old has two years left on his contract but his manager is believed to prefer him staying put for now.
ALL ABOUT OZIL
Mesut Ozil has wrapped up his twitter session and no one can say he did not entertain.
The Arsenal misfit spoke about everyone and everything – and even managed to get in one final dig at rivals Tottenham.
He named Carles Puyol as the best defender he ever faced and slipped former Arsenal favourite Santi Carzola in his best 11.
The team is largely dominated by his ex-Real Madrid colleagues, including the likes of Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The German also said becoming a father was “the most beautiful day” in his life – but added he does not sleep as much as before.
He also advised how to overcome detractors, saying: “Don't listen to the critics. Just focus on yourself.”
The 31-year-old may have had his tongue in his cheek when he claimed Mathieu Flamini was the best player he worked with at Arsenal – if only because he added in brackets “two goals vs. Tottenham”.
GOOD FOR THE SOL
Cesc Fabregas' mum has revealed that the presence of “six foot tank” Sol Campbell helped ease her fears when her 16-year-old son moved to Arsenal.
The Spanish midfielder arrived North London in 2003 when he was just a teen and left his mother Nuria in tears at the airport.
But a chance encounter with then England skipper Campbell helped put her mind at rest.
In an interview with Marca, she said: “I went to London after one month and while waiting for him [Fabregas] to come out, a 6ft tank came out wearing a fashionable beret.
“And then my little one appears. I ask him 'who is this?' and he says 'Sol Campbell, mum. He is the captain of England.'”
She then asked: “But he plays with you right?”
When Cesc confirmed he did, his mother was relieved: “That's great! Now I am calm.”
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FIT AND READY
Mesut Ozil continues to spill the beans on his Arsenal experience and has revealed he is fit and ready for the weekend's game – but doesn't know if he will be picked.
The German hinted at the tensions inside the Gunners' dressing room after Mikel Arteta froze him out of much first team football after lockdown.
It is unknown whether he will be a part of the manager's plans next season – despite his hefty wages keeping him at the club.
But the talented midfielder has confirmed he is ready to step up, making Arteta's team selection at Craven Cottage on Saturday all the more interesting.
Away from bantering Spurs, Mesut Ozil has been looking back on days gone by as fans pepper him with questions on Arsenal's golden age.
One supporter asked him to describe his former boss Arsene Wenger in three words.
Ozil tweeted in response: “Gentleman. Legendary. Invincible.”
If that wasn't enough to get Gooners nostalgic, one fan then asked him which player he would most like to play with from the legendary unbeaten season.
He responded that it was “really hard to pick” as he threw up the names of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, before he eventually settled on his “good friend” Robert Pires.
Outcast Mesut Ozil has been answering questions on his twitter page under the hashtag AskMesut – and he's managed to get a dig in on his North London rivals within minutes.
One fan asked him: “If you had a choice would you rather play for Tottenham or retire?”
The German did not hesitate in cheekily poking fun at Spurs' notorious lack of trophies.
He quipped: “If I don't want to win a cup, I should go there.”
If that doesn't put him back in Mikel Arteta's good books, it's possible nothing will.
ALL KITTED OUT
Arsenal's new third kit has been leaked online… with rockstar Nicolas Pepe sporting a snazzy leather jacket in the photoshoot.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is front and centre in the big reveal despite his future still yet to be officially tied down at the club.
MARTINEZ MAKING MOVES?
Gunners stopper Emiliano Martinez could be on the move as Aston Villa step up their pursuit to help aid their goalkeeping woes.
Villa manager Dean Smith has identified Martinez as the solution after Tom Heaton became injured and Pepe Reina joined Lazio.
They have launched a £20million bid for Martinez, after their inital offer was turned down as it fell short of the Gunners valuation.
Smith is optimistic of the deal going through as Martinez has rejected Arsenal's latest contract proposal.
Martinez, 28, has been with Arsenal since 2011, but has played second fiddle during his time there.
The Argentine did impress much of the fanbase, however, when he was called in to deputise for Bernd Leno when he clashed with Neal Maupay last season.
REIN IT IN
The BBC have banned sports commentators from using “racist” phrases including cakewalk, sold down the river and nitty gritty.
In an 'avoiding racial bias' training session, commentators and co-commentators were given a list of terms that must be avoided.
The Daily Mail reports that in the online training session staff were instructed to stop using “pace” and/or “power” to describe black players.
This can be deemed as racial stereotyping,
A guide was sent out to attendees which read: “Is there a danger of spreading a perception that black players' success is purely based on their athleticism and doesn't require hard work and intelligence?
“Do you need to spend more time thinking about how to explain the variety of reasons for a black player's success?”
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ANTHONY'S ALL GOOD
Anthony Martial enjoyed the full 90 minutes as France put four past Croatia.
While he did not get on the score sheet himself, he more than enjoyed getting in on the fun.
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EXCLUSIVE: SKY SHAKE-UP
Micah Richards and Alex Scott are not expected to be part of the new revolving Soccer Saturday panel on Sky this season, reports MARTIN LIPTON.
Sky’s decision to axe long-time studio guests Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and Phil Thompson brought suggestions that Richards and Scott would be parachuted in.
But the pair have been lined up for match punditry duties rather than sitting in front of TV screens on a Saturday afternoon.
Sky chiefs have decided not to have a permanent panel alongside host Jeff Stelling, with the likes of Matt Murray and Clinton Morrison likely to appear as well as retained veteran Paul Merson.
Fans were devastated when the trio of Nicholas, Le Tissier and Thompson, who had worked for the broadcaster for almost 50 years combined, were let go.
Scott Minto was then added to the cull after 13 years with the broadcaster.
PAIN IN THE NECK
Reports are emerging out of the Emirates this morning regarding news on their defenders.
Worryingly for Gooners fans, David Luiz is reported as being a huge doubt to make Saturday's opening Premier League game at Fulham because of a neck injury.
It is possible he could be out for an extended period, according to the Athletic's David Ornstein.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that whatever happens with Luiz's fitness, manager Mikel Arteta is keen to retain the services of Rob Holding.
The 24-year-old had been tipped to join Newcastle on loan but now looks set to stay in North London and play some role in Arsenal's 2020/21 campaign.
UP FOR SALE
It is likely we could see a few departures from the Emirates before the transfer window closes next month.
But the club will want some cash before parting with some of these names.
The Gunners have thrown themselves into the race to sign Sporting Lisbon's 18-year-old Nuno Mendes – but they'll have to compete against Prem rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
Portuguese outlet O Jogo reports the North London club are now the most interested Premier League side in the player.
The Gunners also face competition from AC Milan for the Portuguese starlet, with the Serie A side reportedly launching a bid worth £13.5million.
But Sporting are understood to be holding out for a much bigger sum – something that could derail Mikel Arteta's pursuit of the left-back.
With Mendes contracted until 2025, Sporting are not forced to sell up.
The Premier League is set to be left as the only major competition in Europe not to allow five substitutes, writes MARTIN LIPTON.
Clubs in Spain’s La Liga are poised to U-turn and revert to bigger benches and up to five changes.
They will join France and Germany in allowing five substitutes, with Italy’s Serie A now expected to follow suit.
That will leave the Prem as the stand-out exception among the Big Five, after clubs voted 11-9 last week in the second vote on the issue.
The vote was a rejection of the arguments of the Big Six Prem clubs, who were left angry and frustrated that their arguments carried no weight with their rivals.
SIMON JORDAN EXCLUSIVE
The former Crystal Palace owner takes aim at some new targets in his latest SunSport column.
Look at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moving nonchalantly into a £15million annual salary.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale realises maybe playing elsewhere is better than sitting at Real Madrid drawing enormous wages.
Then the daddy of them all, arguably the world’s greatest player Lionel Messi starts a feeding frenzy by deciding that Catalonia was no longer for him.
He wants his independence and it cues £600million transfer demands, £100m salaries and the mess that apparently is Barcelona. Please!
Apparently, Messi is entitled to leave for free and he’s earned that right.
Okey dokey, so the best part of a billion quid he’s earned as a Barcelona employee isn’t reward enough and somehow player power will prevail.
CLICK HERE TO READ SIMON JORDAN’S EXPLOSIVE SUNSPORT COLUMN HERE
Beefed-up Eddie Nketiah used his new-found strength to put England on the brink of Euro qualification.
The Arsenal striker hit the weights over lockdown to cope better with the Premier League’s physicality.
His extra power paid off here as he outmuscled Austrian defender Dario Maresic before coolly firing home to break the deadlock.
Ben Godfrey made it 2-0 shortly after the break – though a strike from Patrick Schmidt meant it was not an entirely trouble-free night for the Young Lions in the No Worries Arena.
But in the end it was a sixth win out of six for Aidy Boothroyd’s men, meaning they are six points clear and in need of one more victory to seal safe passage to next year’s finals.
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GOOD MORNING ARSENAL FANS,
Aston Villa have launched a £20million bid for Emiliano Martinez – with David Raya lined up as a replacement.
Villa already submitted a bid for the Argentine, but fell short of the Gunners valuation.
According to The Athletic, they have submitted a second offer which is said to be closer to the £20m Arsenal want for Martinez.
And Philippe Coutinho will STAY at Barcelona next season, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.
He told talkSPORT: “Yeah.
“Koeman called him right after the Champions League victory with Bayern, the following day, and told him he’s very much in his plans and would like him to return. He was due to return on September 7.
“But actually he returned at the beginning of September because he didn’t want to lose his momentum and fitness.
“He’s been training with Barcelona.
“All signs point to the fact Barcelona have changed quite dramatically, the way their philosophy of how they wanted to move forward from last year.
“And the players they’ve brought in, like Coutinho, Dembele and Griezmann they’re all going to be part of the squad this year.”
Lastly, Arsenal have reportedly been offered the chance to sign Real Madrid goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on loan.
But according to the Evening Standard, the Gunners reportedly face competition from Fulham in the race to sign the French shot-stopper.
Arsenal starlet Tyreece John-Jules has joined Doncaster Rovers on loan.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a seven-game stint in League one last season with Lincoln City.
Now the forward will be hoping to score more than the one goal he did for the Imps after heading back to the third tier for the upcoming campaign.
John-Jules is highly-rated by the Gunners after joining their youth set-up aged eight.
The ace is already an England Under-18 international and he has featured for Arsenal’s first-team during friendly matches.
Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his England debut during the 0-0 draw at Denmark.
Willian’s agent Kia Joorabchian has lifted the lid on the role Jose Mourinho played in the Brazilian's failed Tottenham transfer before joining Chelsea.
talkSPORT host Jim White asked. “Willian and you were sitting at Tottenham and he was about to sign…”
“And then Jose called,” Joorabchian went on.
“Yeah, but that was a bit of a different story, because the clubs – Spurs and Anzhi [Makhachkala] were in a conflict over a solidarity payment, and then Anzhi pulled the plug.
“So it was a different story [to what was reported].
“Obviously Jose was at Chelsea at that time and Willi did very well there, he won several trophies and succeeded very well, so I hope he does the same thing at Arsenal.”
PUT A SOK IN IT
Arsenal are reportedly prepared to let Sokratis Papastathopoulos join Napoli on a free transfer.
Gazzetta dello Sport claim today that the Greek defedner has reached an agreement with the Gunners which would allow him to leave the Emirates for nothing.
The report adds that Sokratis will sign a two-year contract worth around £3.17 million per season.
Kevin De Bruyne has become the first Manchester City player ever to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
The £54million Belgium international enjoyed an outstanding season – even though his team came up short in the Premier League and Europe.
He said: “It’s a huge honour. To be voted as best player by your colleagues and competitors from other teams who you play against is amazing.
“It’s strange that I’m the first one at City given all the good players that have played here before and who are still playing here – but it’s nice to represent the club.”
Arsenal have reportedly been offered the chance to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Alphonse Areola.
The Standard claims Mikel Arteta has been given the opportunity to loan the goalkeeper as Emiliano Martinez nears an exit.
The Argentine – who excelled for the Gunners at the end of last season – wants to be No1 at the Emirates but Bernd Leno is expected to be between the sticks on opening day.
It’s now reckoned Aston Villa are leading the race for Martinez’s signature.
And Areola, on loan at Real Madrid last season, could be set to arrive as Martinez’s replacement.
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