Arsenal transfer news: Emirates exit for Mustafi and Xhaka?
Expensive duo have failed to impress during their time in north London
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Is Arsene Wenger about to embark on a major overhaul of his Arsenal defence?
That could be the case with the London Evening Standard reporting that Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka “face uncertain futures” at the Emirates, while the Metro says that the Gunners are on the tail of Fulham defender Ryan Fredericks.
Neither defensive midfielder Xhaka or centre-back Mustafi have impressed during their time in north London with the German blocker in particular a major disappointment. Despite the fact that Arsene Wenger splashed out a club record £35m for Mustafi - making him the eighth most expensive defender of all-time - he has looked consistently suspect, and the fans are now on his back, usually a sign that a player is set for the exit.
Xhaka, who arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2016 for £34m, has also failed to live up to expectations and according to the Standard neither player provide “foundations for the future”.
That’s probably why Metro says that Wenger is “keen” to bring Ryan Fredericks to the Emirates having had his scouts run the rule over the 25-year-old on a number of occasions this season.
The full-back, who this week was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, has attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs, but Wenger is believed to be leading the race to sign him and Metro claims he is “looking at the possibility of striking a deal for Fredericks, who will be out of contract come the summer”.
As for who Wenger might bring in to replace Xhaka, the Daily Mail says that Arsenal are “interested in signing James Maddison”. Then again, so apparently are Manchester City, and Norwich are expected to try and engineer a bidding war between the two clubs to hike up the price.
The Canaries have already slapped a £30m price tag on the 21-year-old midfielder, and there is also believed to be interest from Tottenham for a player who has scored 14 times and racked up eight assists this season.
Santi Cazorla could be let go by Arsenal
Arsenal could be ready to part company with injury-jinxed Santi Cazorla, reports The Sun, with the paper claiming that the Gunners are ready to call time on his forlorn attempts to regain fitness.
The pint-sized Spanish playmaker has made 180 appearances in the red and white shirt but he hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since October 2016 after suffering an horrendous Achilles tendon injury.
At one stage surgeons considered amputating his foot, so bad was his plight, but while he battled back from that possibility, Cazorla is nowhere near ready to resume training.
Consequently, says the Sun, Arsenal “are debating whether to extend his stay at the Emirates”. The 33-year-old, who joined the Gunners in a £10m deal from Malaga in 2012, wants to remain part of the squad, but the club is reluctant to keep paying his hefty wages given his fitness and his age.
The Sun, taking its information from Spanish paper El Confidencial, says the Arsenal board are “sceptical” about his chances of ever fully recovering after enduring ten operations and nearly losing his foot to an infection.
Gunners scout Schalke star Max Meyer
The Daily Express says that Arsenal’s head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, has been spotted in Germany, fuelling speculation that the Gunners are going to make a concerted effort to prise Max Meyer from Schalke over the summer.
There was a slight problem, however, reports the Express, namely that the 22-year-old was an unused substitute during his side’s 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund.
Still, that’s unlikely to worry Arsenal, who have been linked with the German international midfielder for a while, and are aware that his contract with Schalke expires in June.
Meyer has recently turned down the offer of an extension and the club director, Christian Heidel, has told German media that he believes the young playmaker is poised to leave the club in June with Arsenal favourites to secure his services.
Earlier this month, Heidel said: “At the moment we can and must expect that Max leaves the club in the summer. Everything suggests that. There is no offer from us and no wish from Max to have a conversation again.”
Arsenal chase Matthijs de Ligt
He’s dubbed the “new Virgil van Dijk” and according to the Daily Mirror Matthijs de Ligt is being hunted by Arsenal, Man City and Bayern Munich.
The 18-year-old defender has won rave reviews this season for his composed performances for Ajax, earning him comparisons with his compatriot who has impressed for Liverpool since signing from Southampton in January.
The Gunners, new Premier League champions City and the German title winners Bayern are all chasing the teenager’s signature but his £50m asking price has raised eyebrows in some quarters.
The Mirror says the Gunners find the price a little steep with Bayern also “baulking at his valuation”. City are less worried about the fee given that Guardiola is expected to be handed a £200m war chest this summer to strengthen his squad.
All three clubs sent their scouts to the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday to watch De Ligt in action for Ajax against PSV Eindhoven.
Currently on a paltry £15,000-a-week, the teenage stopper recently said of his future: “I am going to make a decision with my head, not based on money offers… my next step just has to be right for me when I look at the team and where and how I will live.”
Dembele dismisses Arsenal rumours
Meanwhile, the Daily Express reports that Barcelona ace Ousmane Dembele has dismissed suggestions he could be ready to leave the club for the Emirates in the summer.
The 20-year-old Frenchman, who arrived at the Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund in a £135m move last season, has struggled to make an impression in Spain.
Rumours have been gathering pace that he could join the Gunners. But speaking to the French outlet Telefoot, he said: “I’m not going to leave after just one season. I signed a five-year contract with Barcelona. I’ll be here for a long time.”
Gunners target Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez
“Sensational” and “stunning” are just two of the superlatives deployed by the Daily Express in its claim that Arsenal have been in touch with Atletico Madrid over the possibility of a deal for Saul Niguez.
It seems that the Gunners are resigned to losing Jack Wilshere at the end of the season. The Arsenal midfielder is reportedly ready to look for a new club once his contract expires next month. Consequently, says the Express, the Gunners have contacted the La Liga outfit with a view to signing Niguez as Wilshere’s ready-made replacement.
The Spanish rag Sport broke the story, reminding readers that Niguez was linked with a move to Manchester United during Louis van Gaal’s time in charge. That deal fell through but apparently he could now be ready to give England a try, provided Arsenal don’t mind “paying his £143m release clause”.
The Express adds that Manchester City and Liverpool are sniffing around Wilshere. But according to the Birmingham Mail, it’s Everton who are in pole position to land the injury-prone midfielder.
The paper says the Toffees are “growing in confidence” that they’ll convince Wilshere to move to Goodison Park, having made it clear they’re ready to pay “a sizeable signing on fee and have no issue matching the wages he is currently on in north London”.
Mercurial midfielder heading to Arsenal?
He’s described by talkSPORT as a “mercurial midfielder” and, it says, Dani Ceballos could be set to trade Real Madrid for Arsenal at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old moved to the European champions from Real Betis last summer, but he’s failed to make much of an impression at the Bernabeu and didn’t make the squad against Juventus last nigh. The Spanish press now claim he’s ready to depart for a new challenge.
According to El Confidencial, the Gunners are “weighing up a move” as Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer of the young playmaker.
Apparently, the Arsenal gaffer “scouted the midfielder during his time at Real Betis” and although he lost out to Real, his ardour remains undimmed.
However, talkSPORT says Wenger will have to look lively because Liverpool are also “keen” on Ceballos. So, too, are Roma and Juventus, although it’s not sure if they’d be ready to meet Real’s asking price of around £28m.
Metro adds that Wenger is increasingly concerned about his chances of retaining Jack Wilshere at the end of the season and sees Ceballos as an ideal replacement.
There is also uncertainty about the future of Aaron Ramsey, adds the paper, saying the Gunners “are considering cashing in on the Wales international, with Manchester United readying a £35m bid”.
Tussle for a teenage sensation
According to The Sun, 15-year-old Robert Navarro “is set to meet Barca representatives in the next few days” to discuss his future, amid growing speculation in Spain that the player commonly called a “wonderkid” will move on at the end of the season.
Taking its information from Spanish newspaper Sport, the redtop says Arsenal and Manchester City are both on the tail of the youth academy star.
Navarro is eligible to move when he turns 16 on 12 April and apparently the two Premier League clubs, plus Juventus and Monaco, are waiting to wish the midfielder a happy birthday.
Keylor the new Arsenal keeper?
With Real Madrid set to release goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the end of the season in order to make way for either Man Utd’s David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea, the 31-year-old “is keen on a move to Arsenal”, the Daily Express says.
Taking its cue from Spanish outlet Don Balon, the paper reports the Costa Rica international “has decided to quit the club at the end of the season after discovering they will attempt to replace him in the summer”.
Several European clubs have apparently been in touch with Navas, but he is said to want to test himself in the Premier League and Arsenal are in pole position to land him as they look to replace the ageing Petr Cech.
Cech, 35, was omitted from the side that beat Stoke City yesterday, with David Ospina deputising between the sticks, but the Express says the South American “could also exit” at the end of this season.
Arsenal tailing Ndidi
Meanwhile, Metro is one of several papers to claim Arsenal have “held talks over a move” for Leicester City star Wilfred Ndidi at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old midfielder has been an integral member of the Foxes’ squad since arriving at the King Power Stadium at the back end of 2016 and it seems his displays have caught the eye of Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger.
Apparently, scouts from Manchester United and Liverpool have also been tracking Ndidi, but Metro claims “Arsenal lead the race for the Nigeria international”.
The north London club have made an informal approach over a summer move, with Alex Iwobi reportedly urging his international teammate to join him at the Emirates.
The paper quotes an Arsenal insider as saying: “He is going to be a top player and Arsenal have been in contact… Wenger is a manager he admires a lot and his friend Alex Iwobi has told him lots of great things about the club.”
Tussle for a teenage starlet
Arsenal are “leading the race for Kai Havertz” ahead of Liverpool, who are also interested in the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, says the Daily Mirror.
Described as a “starlet” on account of his age, the 18-year-old has impressed for the Bundesliga outfit this season and the Mirror says Arsenal scouts were in attendance as he starred for Germany under-19s against Norway last month.
Havertz “is known to admire Mesut Ozil”, adds the paper, and the presence at the Emirates of the German midfielder could prove crucial in any summer bidding war with the Reds.
Lacazette lined up to replace Griezmann at Atletico
Atletico Madrid have identified the striker they want to replace Antoine Griezmann in the expected eventuality that he joins Barcelona in the summer. And who is the mystery marksman?
According to the Daily Express, he’s French and goes by the name of Alexandre Lacazette. Currently sidelined at the Emirates with a knee injury, Lacazette’s future at Arsenal has been the subject of growing speculation in recent weeks with rumours suggesting he could leave after just a season in north London.
The 26-year-old signed from Lyon last summer for £52.5m, but although he started well for the Gunners his form soon tailed off and the arrival in January of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has cast doubt on his future.
The Express says that Madrid are resigned to losing Griezmann at the end of the season but reports in Spain indicate that they are quietly confident they will be able to prise Lacazette from the Emirates.
The paper adds that the French frontman was “all set to join Atletico from Lyon last summer until Fifa upheld the Spanish giants’ transfer ban”. The ban, imposed for transfer irregularities the previous year, opened the door for Arsenal and Wenger duly snapped up Lacazette.
Premier League or bust for Jorginho
The agent of Jorginho has said that such is the value of his client that only a Premier League club could afford to sign him from Napoli.
In recent weeks Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal have been linked with the Italian midfielder, as have several clubs in Spain and Italy, but talkSPORT report the comments of Joao Santos when asked about Jorginho’s future in an interview with Radio Crc.
“He has a certain value for Napoli, a certain figure that almost only Premier League clubs can afford,” boasted a bullish Santos. “To date, no official offers have arrived. Jorginho’s only thinking about Napoli and we must wait until the end of the season to make certain assessments.”
Alisson’s asking price
Still in Italy and Metro says that Arsenal and Liverpool have been told that if they want to land Roma’s highly-rated goalkeeper Alisson it’s going to cost them an arm and a leg.
The Brazilian No.1, whose form is so hot he is keeping Manchester City star Ederson out of the national team, is being tailed by the Gunners while Liverpool are also believed to have checked out Alisson in recent months.
But Metro, quoting Italian rag Corriere dello Sport, says Roma president Jim Pallotta has let it be known that he will not “entertain any offers for the Brazilian unless they exceed €60m [£52m]”.
United plan raid for Bellerin
Having plundered Arsenal of Alexis Sanchez in January might Manchester United be plotting another raid on the Emirates?
Yes, according to the Daily Express, with the paper claiming that the Red Devils are “making strides in their bid to lure” Hector Bellerin from Arsenal.
The 23-year-old defender has been linked with Barcelona for much of this season as he looks to escape the floundering fortunes of the Gunners. But apparently the right-back “is being eyed as a potential replacement for Antonio Valencia”.
The Ecuadorian ace turns 33 in August and although Jose Mourinho believes the South American stopper still has a season left in him, he is already planning for the future and Bellerin fits in with his wish to bolster his back four.
The Spanish ace is reportedly “considering his future in north London” and a move to Old Trafford is likely to be considered as he weighs up his options. And the Express adds that Mourinho still plans to get shot of left-back Luke Shaw in the summer with Alex Sandro and Danny Rose among the names to replace him.
Could he cut it in the Premier League?https://t.co/TYfdZXTre8— 90min (@90min_Football) March 26, 2018
According to talkSPORT Torino are “ready to drop the asking price” for Andrea Belotti this summer, and that’s good news for Arsenal and Manchester United.
The 24-year-old striker, who has nine goals in 25 appearances so far this season, has been linked with both Premier League clubs in the past when it was suggested he was wanting out of Serie A. The problem last summer was that Torino were demanding a “staggering £88m” and that put off his suitors.
However, says talkSPORT, the Italian club are in desperate need of some readies this summer and therefore Torino president Urbano Cairo “is ready to lower the valuation in the hope of starting a bidding war for the Italy international”.
While the Gunners and United are on Belotti’s tail there is also interest from clubs in Spain and Germany.
OK for Oblak?
Arsenal have been given what the Daily Star describes as a boost in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
The 25-year-old gloveman is under contract at Atletico until June 2021 but speculation is growing in Spain that he could be about to part company with the La Liga outfit.
Why? Because they’re allegedly close to agreeing terms with Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois, news which if true will turn the Blues even bluer.
The Star says that the “£63m-rated Slovenian is attracting plenty of interest and knows he could earn a major bump in his wages elsewhere”. Arsenal are apparently ready to meet his salary demands.
With Petr Cech’s future at the Emirates looking increasingly uncertain, Arsene Wenger is believed to have drawn up a shortlist and Oblak is at the top. The only potential problem for the Gunners gaffer is that Real Madrid, Liverpool and Paris St-Germain are also interested.
Asked about his future, Oblak replied: “It’s not easy to talk about what’s going to happen tomorrow never mind what will happen next season. But I am calm and the situation depends on Atletico – I must wait to see what Atleti’s plan is.”
Perez hoping to revive Arsenal career
Arsenal could be set to welcome back Lucas Perez after his “dream return to Deportivo La Coruna turned into a nightmare”.
That’s according to the London Evening Standard, which says that he’ll look to “revive his Arsenal career” next season after deciding that the grass isn’t always greener.
The Spanish striker had mixed fortunes in his first season at the Emirates in 2016-17, eventually returning to Deportivo on a season-long loan in August. But after failing to find the net much in La Liga, Perez is poised to be sent back to north London. The Standard says he’s targeting “a remarkable revival” with Arsenal.
Jose’s in for Jonny
According to Metro, Jose Mourinho is ready to challenge Arsenal and Tottenham for West Brom defender Jonny Evans.
With the Baggies looking likely to be relegated at the end of the season, the Northern Irish defender is expected to leave the Hawthorns in the summer.
Arsenal have long been linked with the centre-half but Metro says that Manchester United could make a move for their former star. The 30-year-old Evans started his career at Old Trafford, making more than 200 appearances before joining West Brom in 2015.
Tottenham tipped to beat Gunners to Malcom’s signature
Tottenham are tipped to beat Arsenal to sign Bordeaux’s Brazilian winger Malcom, claims the Daily Star.
The paper says that bookies have installed the Lilywhites as the favourites to land the 21-year-old after he realised the extent of Arsenal’s decline this season.
With Spurs still very much in contention to qualify for Champions League football next season, Malcom is looking favourably on a move to the refurbished White Hart Lane this summer.
Bayern Munich have also been linked with the young wideman but he gave the game away in a recent interview with Sky Sports Germany when he said he was “learning English”.
Asked why, he said: “Because it is the most important language in the world… [and] I would manage to live in England.”
As for what club might be the beneficiary of Malcom’s English, he replied: “I want to play for an elite club in Europe, win the Champions League.”
Benzema pursued by Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City
An old favourite of Transfer Talk is back in the news. Spanish sources claim that Karim Benzema is being pursued by Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
The 30-year-old frontman has failed to fire this season at Real Madrid, scoring just four league goals. According to Don Balon, the European champions are ready to listen to offers.
In reporting the story the Birmingham Mail claims that Real are poised to have “a shake-up during the transfer window” and the three Premier League clubs are preparing summer bids.
Liverpool hopeful of Jorginho deal
The Daily Mirror says that Arsenal will be beaten to the hand of Jorginho by Liverpool. The Reds are “confident” they will snap up the Napoli midfielder this summer.
The Gunners are one of several clubs linked to the playmaker, who’s valued at £50m. But the Mirror says that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is in pole position to land Jorginho, who he sees as the ideal replacement for Emre Can.
Man Utd star Anthony Martial linked with Arsenal
The agent of Anthony Martial has refused to commit his player’s future to Manchester United, fuelling speculation that the French striker could move to the Emirates.
As The Sun reports, the 22-year-old Martial has “been linked with a move” to Arsenal on more than one occasion in recent months after failing to impress Jose Mourinho.
The United gaffer is poised to embark on a major overhaul of his squad in the summer and Martial is one of the players expected to leave after slipping down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
Arsenal scouts are known to have watched Martial on the few occasions he has got a run at United this season, but Juventus have also been monitoring the situation.
When asked by Italian rag Il Bianconero about his future, Martial’s representative Philippe Lamboley said: “Will [Martial] stay in Manchester in the summer? At the moment, I cannot say anything else about it.”
Martial, who joined United from Monaco in 2015 for £36m, is behind Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku in the scheme of things, and it’s believed that the club would want a similar sum for the young French frontman if they do decide to move him on.
Rabiot’s PSG future uncertain
Another young French firecracker with an uncertain future is Adrien Rabiot. He’s also been linked with Arsenal in recent months and French publication Le Parisien says that his time at Paris Saint-Germain could be coming to an end.
The midfielder has been critical of the way the club has failed to make a mark in European competition and, with his contract set to expire in June 2019, it may be that he leaves this summer so that the French giants can make a tidy profit.
Forsberg keen on Arsenal transfer
Finally, The Sun says that the Gunners are “set for a summer tilt at RB Leipzig forward Emil Forsberg” having got over their disappointment of failing to sign him in January.
Apparently the 26-year-old Swede is keen to move to the Emirates and Arsenal are cautiously optimistic that this time a deal can be agreed at the end of the season.
Gunners and United scout Benfica’s Zivkovic
Once again the word “desperate” is being used to describe Arsenal. This time it’s not about their on-field performances but about how the Daily Mirror describes their pursuit of Benfica winger Andrija Zivkovic.
The paper says that the Gunners are desperate to beat Manchester United to the hand of the 21-year-old Serbian. Apparently Arsenal have sent scouts to run the rule over Zivkovic as they “consider a bid this summer”.
Quoting the Portuguese newspaper O Jogo, the Mirror says that Arsene Wenger has been keen on the young wideman for a while and tried to sign the player before he joined the Portuguese giants from Partizan Belgrade in 2016.
Wenger’s interest has been reactivated in recent weeks. Arsenal scouts were present in Portugal at the weekend to watch Zivkovic in action for Benfica in their 2-0 win over Feirense.
Also there, however, were spies from Manchester United. Portuguese sources claim that Jose Mourinho is a fan of Zivkovic and the two Premier League giants could go “head to head for his signature at the end of the season”.
Dortmund make late move for Martinez
Arsenal’s hopes of landing Lautaro Martinez have hit turbulence with talkSPORT reporting that Borussia Dortmund “have made a late move” to sign the 20-year-old Racing Club striker.
Apparently the Gunners and Manchester City have both been tailing the talented South American sharpshooter with a view to a summer swoop. But talkSPORT, citing as its source outlet TyC Sports, report that the German outfit have tabled a bid of around £28.5m for Martinez and are confident of sealing a deal over the coming weeks.
Wenger set to make £25m bid for keeper Leno
The Sun says that the Gunners are “lining up a £25m summer move for Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno”.
Wenger has identified the 26-year-old German gloveman as the ideal replacement for Petr Cech, whose age has caught up with him this season in a series of cack-handed displays.
The Sun adds that Arsenal are aware of interest from Napoli and Liverpool for Leno – who’s expected to be a member of Germany’s World Cup squad – and therefore want to get the deal “sorted out as quickly as possible”.
Everton target Jack Wilshere on a free transfer
The Daily Mirror claims that Everton are “ready to make Jack Wilshere a big money offer to join them this summer”.
Although the Arsenal midfielder would like to stay loyal to the Gunners, negotiations over a new contract have stalled. Wilshere, 26, is unhappy at being asked to take a pay cut that would see his earnings slashed from £110,000 a week to £90,000 and could leave on a free transfer.
According to the Mirror the Toffees would ensure he gets “a big signing-on fee” and more money than Arsenal are offering.
Real and PSG eye youngster Nelson
Arsenal’s fall from grace this season could have serious implications for the future of their young stars, reports talkSPORT.
The broadcaster claims that the vultures are circling the Emirates in the expectation the Gunners will finish the season trophy-less and without a place in next year’s Champions League. One of the youngsters likely to be targeted is 18-year-old Reiss Nelson, with talkSPORT reporting that Real Madrid are ready to rival Paris Saint-Germain for the services of the teenage winger.
Nelson’s contract expires at the end of next season and the two European powerhouses believe they will be able to lure him from the Emirates in June. Spanish paper AS says that Real Madrid “are attracted to the Englishman’s potential” having watched him in action during the Europa League, and a bid is expected in the coming months.
Maycon back on Arsenal’s radar
Perhaps the prospect of losing Nelson is why Arsenal are back in the running for Maycon. Described by the Daily Express as a “Brazilian starlet”, the 20-year-old midfielder is currently plying his trade with Corinthians in his homeland.
According to the Express, Arsenal were first linked with Maycon in 2016 but he decided to stay in Brazil to finish his football education. Two years on and Brazilian outlet UOL Esporte claims he is now “keen on the Premier League side” and Arsenal’s interest remains undimmed. However, warns the Express, the north London side will face competition for Maycon from Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk.
AC Milan lead chase for Jack Wilshere
The Daily Express reports that AC Milan are lining up a summer move for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and would be available on a free transfer. It’s reported that negotiations with Arsenal are not progressing well but boss Arsene Wenger is confident that Wilshere will stay at the Emirates.
Wilshere is currently on £120,000 a week but has only been offered a £90,000-a-week deal to extend his time at the Gunners.
The Express says he will reject Arsenal’s latest offer and this will alert Milan’s Serie A rivals Juventus and Sampdoria who are also interested in the midfielder.
Modric ‘favours move’ to Arsenal
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could return to the Premier League and according to the Daily Star he would “apparently favour a move” to Arsenal over Liverpool.
Modric played for Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham before making a £27m move to Madrid in 2012. Reports in Spain say that the Croatian loved living in London and that could “swing things the way of the Gunners” if Arsenal make a bid for the 32-year-old.
Dembele ‘considers’ Arsenal switch
Ousmane Dembele is “considering” a shock move to Arsenal amid reports that he does not have the backing of Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi.
Dembele, 20, has struggled since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund and could leave the Camp Nou in the summer, the Daily Express reports.
Aubameyang backs Wenger
Arsenal record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given his full backing to under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger.
The £56m striker signed for the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in January and says that he moved to the north London club because of Wenger.
Aubameyang told the Daily Mirror: “Of course I am really happy because I am here because of him. He had the interest in me so I am happy to play for him.”
Joachim Low favourite to replace Wenger
Arsenal play AC Milan tonight in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 clash in a game that represents the Gunners’ last chance of a trophy.
Furthermore, it’s also their one remaining route into next season’s Champions League with Arsenal’s league position now so calamitous that only by winning the Europa League will they be able to qualify for Europe’s showpiece tournament.
Given their recent form - four wins in 14 matches this year - it’s a remote possibility and far more likely that Arsene Wenger will be gone by the end of the season.
As to who will replace the Frenchman, speculation is gathering pace that Germany coach Joachim Low is being lined up. According to ESPN the 58-year-old is “the leading candidate” to succeed Wenger with the Arsenal board convinced his proven track record with Germany is clear evidence he has the wherewithal to turn things around at the Emirates.
ESPN says that Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim and Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers are well regarded within the Emirates but that Low “would be the preferred candidate”.
There is a belief, too, that after 12 years coaching Germany - including guiding them to the 2014 World Cup - he is ready for a new challenge once this summer’s World Cup is completed.
Admittedly, Low has not managed at club level since leaving his post as Austria Vienna coach in 2004, but Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes he has the right “credentials” to rebuild Arsenal’s battered reputation.
One thing seems certain and that is the disenchantment felt by many within the Arsenal squad towards their current manager.
A source told ESPN that “a lot of the players don’t want Wenger. They are not happy with his tactics and the training”. In addition the sale of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in January alienated many within the Emirates dressing room because the players “think it sent the wrong message to sell him to a rival”.