Footy Extras

Ivorian winger explains his decision to join Arsenal

The Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe revealed he signed for Arsenal this summer transfer market because the club matched his ambition.

The summer acquisition arrived in a £72m deal in one of the transfer coups of the market, with Nicolas also attracting interest from Manchester United and Liverpool.

Reports in France state both Liverpool and United made bids for Pepe, but the forward decided the Gunners was the club for him.

Napoli too were scrambling to land the goalscorer, and the player lifted the lid on why he chose Unai Emery’s side.

‘I chose to come here because it’s a club with a lot of ambition,’ Pepe told the Gunners’ website.

‘They have the dream of coming back to the Champions League and I am also an ambitious person, so the choice was very logical.

Nicolas is still waiting on his first start, coming off the bench in both of his side’s games so far.

Arsenal travel to Liverpool this weekend with both clubs unbeaten and Pepe explained how manager Unai Emery was key to helping him settle in at the London outfit.

‘It’s been really good because he speaks French and it has been much easier for us to communicate,’ Pepe said.

Meantime, Out-of-favour Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi looks set to depart the club this week on a season-long loan deal to Serie A side AS Roma, according to reports.

He has not played a single minute for Arsenal so far this season, and is prepared to leave north London in the coming days.

Man Utd to begin talks with No.3 centre-back for contract renewal

Manchester United are poised to open negotiations with the central defender Eric Bailly over a new deal, as they don’t want to lose the Ivorian for free when his contract expires next summer.

Following the big-money signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, at least one of the Red Devils’ current crop of centre-halfs is expected to depart the club in the near future, and Eric – who is out injured until January – has been claimed as the unlucky casualty.

However, according to The Sun, Manchester ​United remain committed to the Ivory Coast international, in spite of the lengthy injury struggles which have plagued the star’s time at Old Trafford.

As it stands, with 12 months left on his current contract, ​Bailly would be free to negotiate a transfer overseas when Eric returns from his knee injury in the winter, but the management are hoping to avoid that and plan to open talks over a fresh deal.

The Sun claim there’s a clause in Bailly’s £120,000 per week contract which allows manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to automatically extend his current deal, but United would prefer to tie the player down to a fresh one as an indication of their commitment to him.

A Red Devils source is quoted as saying: “The club want Eric to stay and are looking for talks about an extension. We don’t want to lose him on a free transfer next summer. It’s just down to both parties agreeing to everything.

“His injury record isn’t a major concern for us. We just think he has been unlucky with everyone over the last few years. Ole is a fan of the player and we’re going to convince him to stay, at least that is the plan at present.”

Should he remain at Manchester United, Bailly is expected to act as a backup to Harry Maguire and Victor

On-loan Chelsea star picks up muscle injury at Super Lig club

Chelsea loanee Victor Moses has reportedly been ruled out for five weeks after suffering a muscle tear while playing for the Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Victor has been at Fenerbahce since the winter transfer market on an 18-month loan deal from the west London heavyweights and has been playing regular football in Turkey.

He netted and assisted in Fenerbahce’s 5-0 win against Gazisehir in their opening league match, but left the pitch hobbling after 77 minutes because of an injury.

Fener have carried out checks to determine the area of his injury and he has torn a muscle.

And according to a Turkish daily Star, he’s set miss the next five weeks of action as the wing-back recovers on the sidelines.

Victor will be undergoing rehabilitation in Turkey as the star looks to recover from the injury as soon as possible and return to the action.

The Blues’ medical team are likely to monitor his recovery as well and coordinate with their counterparts at Super Lig giants.

The 28-year-old versatile player still has a contract until the summer of 2021 with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

In other news, Chelsea U23s picked up a convincing 3-0 win against Liverpool Under-23s on Monday evening, largely thanks to extremely impressive performances from both Michy Batshuayi and Antonio Rudiger.

the German had been sidelined since the 1-1 draw with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United in April, in which the defender picked up a nasty knee injury which required surgery.

However, the former Roma player made his long-awaited return to action at Chelsea, playing the full 90 minutes versus ​Liverpool and forming a stunning partnership with young Marc Guehi in defence.

Arsenal scouts watched Rennes wonderkid against PSG

Arsenal are keeping a close eye on Rennes’ teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga and sent emissaries to watch his eye-catching display against Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.

The 16-year-old midfielder, who made a handful of appearances last campaign, is extremely highly regarded and showed exactly why as the ace bossed the Parisians’ midfield in a surprise 2-1 win for Rennes on Sunday.

According to a report from the Daily Mail, he is already on the transfer radar of a host of Premier League sides, including Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

All three sent scouts to Roazhon Park to watch his performance against PSG, while Tottenham even tried to sign him during the summer off the back of just seven senior matches.

He was the star of the show on the night, operating in midfield, showing poise on the ball, bursting forward and setting up a goal with an ideal cross.

The Angolan-born teenager has started all three of Rennes’ Ligue 1 games so far this campaign and is the process of gaining French nationality.

The French club manager Julien Stephan said of his showing afterwards: ‘He played a match, indeed, like the whole team – very interesting.’

‘We are talking to him. He is someone who is also very well-constructed intellectually, who knows how to question himself, who knows how to ask the right questions.’

‘Many of the pros have taken him under their wing, because he is very respectful in the dressing room and very attentive to their advice. He blossomed with us this summer.’

It is not just Premier League giants who are interested in Camavinga, though, with his performance versus PSG also making the La Liga heavyweight duo Barcelona and Real Madrid stand up and take notice.

Man Utd centre-back closing in on move to Fenerbahce

Manchester United centre-back Marcos Rojo is reportedly on the brink of signing for Turkish side Fenerbahce.

The Argentine star joined Manchester United from the Liga NOS outfit Sporting CP in the summer of 2014 for a reported transfer sum of £16 million.

The 29-year-old star has since made 113 matches for the Red Devils, scoring two goals and picking up four assists.

Marcos has struggled to prove himself as a regular for the Premier League heavyweights owing to injuries. Last campaign, he made only 6 appearances in all competitions, starting in only three of them.

The South American centre-back was close to joining Everton but the deal fell through with the Times reporting that the Glazers did not want to sell him to a Premier League side which could challenge for the top 6.

However, Marcos could still depart Old Trafford before the transfer market closes as Fenerbahce are close to landing him on a loan deal according to the Turkish TV show A Spor.

Provided the Super Lig outfit do sign the 29-year-old Rojo, he will be their 10th summer acquisition.

Fenerbahce who finished 6th in the Turkish top-flight last campaign will be eager to do better this time around and have started well with a 5-0 victory over Gazisehir Gaziantep.

With the likes of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in central defence, it seems very unlikely that Marcos will find much playing time this campaign.

Hence, a move to Istanbul could do him well and can also help the star return to the Argentina national team.

The defender is yet to feature for La Albiceleste since the previous summer’s World Cup in Russia where he netted the winner against Nigeria that took his country to the knockout stages.

€150m-rated forward insists he has no plans to leave Liverpool

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah insists he is happy at Anfield following claims from the former Manchester United player Gary Neville that he will depart the club.

The Egyptian star has lit up the English top-flight since his arrival at Liverpool from the Serie A heavyweights AS Roma for what has proven to be a bargain £37m transfer sum.

Salah – who was at the Reds’ league rivals Chelsea before joining Giallrossi – has occasionally been connected with a move to the likes of Real Madrid but Gary expressed his belief the 27-year-old forward will depart the club within 12 months.

Neville told The Debate: ‘Salah’s going to leave in the next 12 months, I can see it already.’

He [Jamie Carragher] knows, he won’t say it. He will [leave], I can absolutely guarantee it. ‘I can see it, you can feel it, you can smell it.’

However, Mohamed has moved to quash those claims, claiming he is happy on Merseyside.

Speaking to CNN, Egypt international said: ‘I’m happy at Liverpool ‘I’m happy in the city – I love the fans and they love me. ‘I’m happy at the club.’

Meanwhile, the promising Liverpool ace Bobby Duncan has reportedly appeared as a transfer target for Nordsjaelland.

In spite of being regarded as one of the top talents at Anfield, the 18-year-old is unlikely to gain any senior-team action with Liverpool this campaign.

According to the Daily Mail, Nordsjaelland have registered an interest in signing him, stating that they’ll provide him with senior action throughout the coming months.