Footy Extras

Arsenal cancel their plan to snap up £20m-rated LOSC Lille talent

Boubakary Soumare will pick between Chelsea or Manchester United before the January transfer market slams shut, according to reports.

The 20-year-old LOSC Lille ace is expected to be on the move this January, although Arsenal, Valencia and Real Madrid are no longer in the mix to secure his services.

Boubakary, a box-to-box midfielder who has been compared to compatriot, Manchester United star Paul Pogba, has two and a half years left on his current contract at Les Dogues.

According to Sky Sports, both the Blues and Red Devils have held talks with Soumare regarding a summer move. But a transfer won’t go through until after Lille take on Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain on January 26.

And now-former Arsenal target has until this date to choose between Manchester United and Chelsea – should the two PL teams remain keen on trying to sign the Frenchman.

Despite the fact that Arsenal have cooled interest in the player, this doesn’t mean the Gunners will stop their search for a defensive midfielder as AC Milan’s Franck Kessie remains a transfer target for Mikel Arteta’s side.

In other news, Arsenal are working on a deal to land Paris St Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa.

The PA news agency understands negotiations between the Gunners and the Ligue 1 club have progressed past the initial stages.

Arsenal are short on variants in defence due to a number of injuries and, if Mikel Arteta is to bolster his squad during the current transfer market, adding numbers in that area was always going to be a priority.

Athletic Bilbao brace themselves for Arsenal target Unai Nunez departure

Athletic Bilbao fear that star centre-half Unai Nunez is ‘almost certain’ to depart the San Mames this month, according to El Gol Digital, with Arsenal, West Ham United, Manchester City and Everton interested in the impressive Spaniard.

The 22-year-old star has certainly proved himself as a man for the big occasion this campaign.

After starting the season with a supreme performance in a 1-0 triumph against La Liga champions Barcelona.

Nunez helped Athletic keep another clean sheet versus none other than Real Madrid – marking the occasion with a back-heel goal-line clearance to deny a stunned former France international Karim Benzema.

With those performances still fresh in the mind, the Spain international’s £25 million buy-out clause looks a snip. The Hammers are prepared to pay the fee, AS reports, while the Gunners and Toffees have also shown an interest.

According to El Gol Digital, however, the Citizens are now the most likely destination for Nunez.

Athletic board have failed to convince the star to renew his contract and the Basque giants are now convinced that a January exit is all-but inevitable.

In other news, Lille star Boubakary Soumare will reportedly choose to join either Chelsea or Manchester United during the January transfer market.

United are understood to see Boubakary as a Paul Pogba-type figure who fits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire for an all-around midfielder.

Sky Sports News reports that Arsenal have now pulled out of the race for the France U21 international, while Real Madrid and Valencia are also no longer thought to be keen.

La Liga giants turn their attention to Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette

Atletico Madrid are considering Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as a possible option with their move for PSG’s Edinson Cavani stalling.

The Spanish giants had hoped to bring in Cavani from the Paris-based club in this transfer window, but so far a move has not materialised.

As reported by Mundo Deportivo, France international is among the alternatives being considered.

The report claims that Cedric Bakambu of Beijing Guoan and Borussia Dortmund misfit Paco Alcacer are also being considered.

Lacazette has netted 42 goals in 108 appearances for the north London side since he joined the club in 2017.

However, the French star is currently enduring a fallow period in front of goal having not netted in his last seven appearances.

In the absence of the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre captained Arsenal in their 1-1 draw versus Sheffield United on Saturday.

Meantime, Newcastle United have launched a move for Arsenal youngster Alfie Matthews, according to the latest reports.

Having made an impression in Arsenal youth ranks this season, the forward is attracting interest from other PL clubs.

While Manchester United are believed to have made an approach, Football Insider claims that Magpies have now entered the race.

With the 18-year-old’s contract due to expire in the summer, the Magpies are trying to negotiate a transfer for later this month.

Matthews, who can play in all three positions in the attack, has contributed two goals from seven starts and three substitute outings this term.

Arsenal told to bring in £75,000-a-week Leicester City youngster

The rebuilding under manager Mikel Arteta at the Emirates Stadium gives way for interesting transfer talks, especially in the winter transfer market.

And former Aston Villa player Gabby Agbonlahor may have fuelled another story, with his recent comments.

In the latest interview, Agbanlahor claimed that Gunners should look for an upgrade over Lucas Torreira and that Leicester City star Wilfred Ndidi is a player Arteta should target in the future.

“I still don’t think he’s the player who is going to take Arsenal to that next step,” Gabby said of Torreira.

“I think the way he’s been playing for Leicester, he’s got the legs in midfield, he can play the ball forward as well, he can win the ball back,” – he claimed as a reason for the Gunners to sign the former Genk ace.

There are very few holding midfielders in the world that are as consistent and effective at the highest stage as the Foxes man and he will definitely improve this Arsenal side.

Arteta has the likes of Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka to add to Lucas Torreira to play in the defensive midfield roles.

In a 4-2-3-1, Wilfred Ndidi alongside Granit adds stability and strength to the side. Having Torreira with Wilfred will give them some fluidity while Matteo adds some flair if needed.

Arteta may struggle to afford regular playing time to all these four players but Wilfred Ndidi is surely an upgrade on the current options.

Ndidi’s presence in the midfield will undoubtedly make Arsenal more stable at the back and at just 23, the Nigerian is a player who can solve this issue in the long term.

Arsenal and their PL rivals battling it out for Jude Bellingham

Birmingham City talent Jude Bellingham is in the middle of a transfer tug-of-war between Arsenal and Manchester United as the January window begins to heat up.

The Red Devils have reportedly moved a step closer to snapping up the midfield prodigy, after reportedly making a £25m for the ace.

Jude broke club legend Trevor Francis’ record, set in 1970, as the club’s youngest first-team player when Jude started the Carabao Cup clash against Portsmouth in the summer at the age of 16 years 38 days.

And his talents have alerted Mikel Arteta’s side too, with the north Londoners said to be very interested in bringing him to the Emirates.

Journalist Jonathan Norcroft told Reach PLC’s Transfer Window Podcast: “Arsenal, I’m told are also very keen on him. He’s in an interesting position in that his father is a policeman and he is being strategic about his son’s career.

“He doesn’t want him to move somewhere where he won’t get game time.

“He’s seen what has happened with other English players who’ve bitten on big cash offers from top clubs at that age and ended up not playing and seeing their career go backwards.”

Jonathan added: “What I’m told from a contact at Birmingham is that the offer from Manchester United is £25m guaranteed for Bellingham.”

The Stourbridge-born midfielder has played 24 times for the Blues this campaign, scoring four goals, and won the EFL Young Player of the Month award for last year’s November.

Birmingham are hopeful that Jude will sign a professional contract with the EFL Championship club this summer.

And even with the £25 million offer that has been reported, fans of the club want to see the player stay at St Andrew’s.

Arsenal closing in on PSG star after agreeing personal terms with Frenchman

Layvin Kurzawa has reached a total agreement to join Arsenal this summer, according to the latest reports in France.

The Paris Saint-Germain defender is out of contract at the end of the term and would be available on a free transfer.

The French giants are open to selling the 27-year-old during the January transfer market and Arsenal have held talks over a possible deal this month.

But according to France Football, Layvin has now agreed a five-year contract with the north London outfit and will join them in the summer.

The report also states that Mikel Arteta is a huge admirer of Layvin and has ‘repeatedly’ told Arsenal’s board to step up their efforts to sign him.

Inter were also keen on a deal for Kurzawa but the defender refused their approach and has opted to sign for Arsenal.

Kurzawa was signed by the Parisians from Monaco for around £20 million in 2015 but the French left-back has fallen down the pecking order and has started just six matches in Ligue 1 this season.

As he is out of contract at the end of the season, Paris Saint-Germain have been demanding a fee between €5m and €7m (£4.2m – £6m) from the GUnners to complete a deal this month.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are reportedly considering a swoop for Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette after their attempts to land Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani stalled.

Diego Simeone’s side are said to be interested in adding to their strike force this window, with Los Rojiblancos managing just 22 league goals so far this campaign.

Arsenal in danger of losing Academy starlet as PL rivals lodge offer

Newcastle United have offered a contract to talented Arsenal forward Alfie Matthews, Football Insider has claimed.

The north-east giants are interested in prising the highly regarded 18-year-old from the Gunners this month ahead of his deal expiring in the summer.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider that the Magpies have made an offer to Matthews and are hopeful it will be accepted as the club look to get a deal agreed imminently.

This comes after Football Insider broke the news last week that United had opened talks with the Gunners over a potential deal for the rising star.

Matthews is on a two-year scholarship contract at the London giants that runs until the end of the season.

With his future at the Emirates shrouded in doubt, Newcastle United have made a move to try and take advantage of his possible availability.

Matthews has been a regular for their U18s this season and is considered as one of the best players at the club in his age group.

The versatile attacker, who can spearhead the final third or play in any of the three main roles behind the front man, has netted twice in seven starts among 10 appearances for Under-18s this campaign.

The youngster was also named on the bench for the U23s in a Premier League 2 match earlier in the season.

Newcastle’s pursuit of Alfie comes at a time when they are pursuing multiple potential acquisitions in the final two weeks of the window.

Arsenal reportedly lining up swoop for £50m Man City signing

Manchester City defender John Stones is reportedly prepared to hold discussions with Mikel Arteta to join Arsenal this month.

The 25-year-old star has failed to win Pep Guardiola’s trust after a number of high-profile mistakes across his three-and-a-half-year stay at the Etihad Stadium and makeshift centre-half Fernandinho has overtaken him in the pecking order at the heart of the Citizens’ defence.

Arsenal are on the hunt for reinforcements at the back after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the campaign with a serious knee injury and Arteta is interested in pursuing either a temporary or a permanent move for Stones.

According to The Sun, John would be interested in talking to the Gunners as he plans to secure regular game-time and nail down his place in England’s starting eleven ahead of Euro 2020.

Stones has badly struggled for fitness and form and the ex-Everton star has started just nine matches in the Premier League this term.

Arteta shares a good relationship with John from his time in the City dugout as Pep’s assistant and feels the Englishman would be a good fit at the Emirates Stadium.

The Spaniard allowed young centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos to join Nurnberg on loan earlier this week which has freed up a space in the Gunners’ squad for a new addition.

Stones and Arteta share the same agency which the Gunners could use to their advantage should they press ahead with a bid to land the City defender.

Athletico-PR chairman reveals Arsenal interest in 22-year-old midfielder

Athletico Paranaense chairman Mario Celso Petraglia has confirmed that Arsenal are keen on signing Bruno Guimaraes.

Reports last month stated that Arsenal and Chelsea are battling it out to land Guimaraes and scouts have been deployed to Brazil to watch the 22-year-old holding midfielder in action.

Both London clubs are on the observation post for midfield reinforcements and the feedback the club have received on Guimaraes has been extremely positive.

However, the PL duo will have to see off competition from SL Benfica for the Brazil Under-23 international.

Athletico Paranaense president Petraglia has revealed that the club received an offer from Benfica for Bruno over the weekend.

‘Yes it’s true. Yesterday came the official offer from Benfica to sign Bruno Guimaraes,’ Mario told Portuguese outlet O Jogo.

‘Let’s study Benfica’s offer. On Monday we will meet the club board to assess this situation.’

While the Gunners are yet to lodge a bid for Guimaraes, Petraglia believes the north London side could make an offer for the midfielder ahead of the summer transfer market.

‘Arsenal are interested, but will only make an offer towards the end of the season,’ Mario added.

It’s understood the Gunners are prioritising a move for a central defender this month after Calum Chambers was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a serious knee injury.

Mikel Arteta has confirmed that he is keen to strengthen his defensive options and Nathan Ake, Jerome Boateng and Dayot Upamecano have all been linked in recent weeks.