In Brief

Arsenal ready to swap Hector Bellerin for Merih Demiral

Gunners will look to offer the Spaniard as part of a deal with Juventus

With Arsenal’s defence a national laughing stock, the Gunners are intent on bringing in some back four reinforcements next month and top of the list is Juventus stopper Merih Demiral.

According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal will “offer Hector Bellerin” as part of any deal with the Spanish right back now considered surplus to requirements at the Emirates.

Injury-plagued

Bellerin has been bedevilled by injuries in recent seasons and he hasn’t kicked on the way it was once hoped in north London. 

The Mirror, citing Italian outlet Calciomercato, says that Bellerin believes it would be in everyone’s best interest if he sought out fresh pastures. 

“He likes Italy, the interest of an Italian club has been there but I can’t reveal it,” said Bellerin’s agent, Albert Botines. “He has a long contract and it won’t be easy to take him away from Arsenal.”

Turkish delight

But it might be easier than imagined if Juventus agree to a deal involving Demiral. The 21-year-old Turkish international has slipped down the pecking order in Turin this season behind Leonardo Bonucci and new arrival Matthijs de Ligt. 

Apparently he is desperate for regular game time ahead of the 2020 European Championships and the prospect of playing in the Premier League is an attractive one. 

The Mirror says the Italian champions “would want around £34m for Demiral - but Arsenal will aim to ease the financial burden by offering right-back Bellerin”.

Rugani is Plan B

The Mirror also claims that if Juventus refuse to allow Demiral to leave next month then Arsenal could look to swap Bellerin for Daniel Rugani. Ex-gaffer Unai Emery was said to be keen on the 25-year-old last summer, but he was deterred by Juve’s £30m asking price. 

However, according to Italian outlet Il Bianconero, Rugani is unsettled this season under new coach Maurizio Sarri and is weighing up his options with the Premier League one of them.

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Today’s back pages

Jesus beats Pope as Man City resurrect Premier League title bid

Premier League results and fixtures 

Tuesday 3 December results
  • Crystal Palace 1 AFC Bournemouth 0 
  • Burnley 1 Manchester City 4
Wednesday 4 December fixtures
  • Chelsea vs. Aston Villa (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video) 
  • Leicester City vs. Watford (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)  
  • Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)   
  • Southampton vs. Norwich City (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)   
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. West Ham United (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)   
  • Liverpool vs. Everton (8.15pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)  
Thursday 5 December fixtures
  • Sheffield United vs. Newcastle United (7.30pm, live on Amazon Prime Video)
  • Arsenal vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (8.15pm, live on Amazon Prime Video) 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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