Footy Extras

Ligue 1 creative attacker emerged as shock transfer target for Arsenal

Arsenal are reportedly keeping tabs on the progress of Rennes playmaker Lovro Majer.

Since he finalise a transfer from Dinamo Zagreb to Rennes in August 2021, Majer has found back of the net seven times and provided 11 assists in 44 games for the Ligue 1 side.

The Croatia international is being monitored by a number of teams across Europe, including the Gunners who are keeping tabs on a player that has been compared to Croatia international midfielder Luka Modric.

According to The Mirror, the North London giants sent scouts to watch the midfielder come off the bench to score the winner in Croatia’s UEFA Nations League meeting with Denmark.

Arsenal could face stiff competition from La Liga giants, Barcelona who are believed to be interested in securing the services of the 24-year-old, while Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have also been linked.

Despite a number of teams pursuing Majer’s services, Rennes would only consider a fee in the region of €60m (£52.3m) for a player who has four years left on his current deal.

Meanwhile, Arsenal also plotting a move for Barcelona frustrated forward Memphis Depay who is believed to keen on to depart from the club following his limited first-team minutes.

Arsenal eyeing ambitious move to sign EPL No.17 attacker

Arsenal are reportedly firmly in the race to sign Raheem Sterling amid suggestions that Chelsea are open to selling the England international during this summer’s transfer window.

The 28-year-old only arrived at Stamford Bridge from Manchester City last July, and he has been a regular for the Blues this season, featuring on 22 occasions, scoring six goals and contributing three assists.

Sterling has only managed four Premier League goals, though, and a recent report claimed that the Blues were expecting a bigger contribution from the attacker.

Mykhaylo Mudryk’s big-money arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk has allegedly led to the club deciding to listen to offers for Sterling during the summer market.

According to Fichajes, Arsenal, who were linked with the forward last summer, are again showing an interest in the Englishman.

Sterling has a contract at Stamford Bridge until June 2027, but Chelsea will be under pressure to make some sales this summer due to their busy January transfer window.

The forward started his professional career with Liverpool, representing the Reds until 2015, when he made the switch to Man City.

Sterling won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four EFL Cup crowns during his time at the Etihad Stadium, scoring 131 goals and registering 95 assists in 339 appearances in all competitions.

However, he was deemed surplus to requirements by Citizens head coach Pep Guardiola over the summer, and Chelsea won the race for his signature despite a host of competition.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter admitted earlier this month that it has been “a challenge” for Sterling since his arrival at the club.

“It’s been a challenge for him but it’s been a challenging period for everybody,” Potter told reporters. “There’s been a lot of change and a lot has happened, so in that regard, it’s not easy to completely settle or hit the ground running.

“There is more to come from Raheem I’m sure but he gives his best every day and we need to help him get to the level we know he can reach.”

The Englishman is currently on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, suffering the issue during the early stages of the Premier League clash with Man City on January 5.

Deal Close: Arsenal on the verge to agree deal for 6 ft 3 French defensive rock

Arsenal plan to step up contract negotiations with centre-back William Saliba next week, according to a report.

After three years on loan in France with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille respectively, Saliba has since established himself as a first-team regular under head coach Mikel Arteta this season.

The 21-year-old has started in all 18 of Arsenal’s Premier League games this term, helping the Gunners keep nine clean sheets and consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Saliba has now entered the final 18 months of his contract at the Emirates Stadium and both the defender and Arsenal are keen to agree fresh terms over a new deal.

According to ESPN, Arsenal are planning to step up contract talks with Saliba at some stage next week and there is a ‘willingness on all sides’ for an agreement to be reached.

The France international recently revealed that he is enjoying his time with the Gunners and has hinted that contract talks are taking place behind the scenes.

“I am so happy here. The club is speaking with my agent and me, the only thing I can do is [focus on my football]. I am so happy here,” Saliba told reporters via the Evening Standard.

Asked if Arsenal’s 2-0 triumph in the North London derby over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday could influence his decision whether to remain with the club, Saliba said: “Yeah, of course!”

Arteta has also acknowledged that Saliba is “willing” to commit his future to the Gunners and is optimistic that both parties can soon come to an agreement.

Speaking to reporters earlier this month, the Spaniard said: “We have a few of those that we are willing to extend the contract. Willy is one of them.

“I think he’s shown in the months that he’s been with us the quality and the personality he has to play at the level that we want. We are trying to do that because we know he can be a really important part of our plans.

“I hope [negotiations are moving quickly]. That’s more to Edu and the board to be discussing with him. What I know is that the player is really happy, the player wants to be here and that’s the main thing.”

Arsenal are also said to be keen to extend the contracts of key attacking duo Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

The Gunners allegedly triggered a one-year extension in Saka’s deal at the beginning of this month, keeping him tied to the Emirates until June 2024, but they are hoping that he will commit to longer terms in the near future.

Martinelli’s contract also expires in the summer of 2024, and a report from last month claims that the 21-year-old is ready to commit his future to the club until 2027.

Arsenal in advance talks to agree deal for 23-year-old Englishman

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Bournemouth winger Jaidon Anthony.

After they failed in their attempts to sign their top transfer target, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Arsenal have continued to look at alternatives to strengthen in the final third.

The Gunners are on the verge of completing a £27m transfer for Leandro Trossard, who is set to undergo a medical ahead of the move.

While Trossard looks set to join Arsenal this month, Mikel Arteta’s side are targeting a move for one of their former academy players.

According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are keen to sign Anthony, whose contract with Bournemouth expires at the end of the season.

The Gunners are said to be looking at the prospect of signing him on a free transfer in the summer, and they believe that he has the potential to improve at the club due to his age and previous academy experience.

The 23-year-old featured regularly in the Bournemouth side that won promotion to the Premier League last season, starting 45 of the club’s 46 Championship games.

Anthony scored eight goals and six assists in the league last term, helping Bournemouth finish just two points behind eventual Championship winners Fulham.

Although Anthony started only one of Bournemouth’s opening 16 Premier League games this term, he has managed to force his way into the side in recent weeks, starting the club’s last three league matches.

The Arsenal target has had to settle for two goals, scoring the winner in a 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest in September and finding the net in November’s commanding 3-0 win against Everton.

The Gunners could face competition for Anthony’s signature, with a number of clubs believed to be monitoring the situation.

Borussia Monchengladbach are among his admirers, as they look for a replacement for Marcus Thuram, who is set to leave the club either in January or when his contract expires in the summer.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi likely to return to Chelsea following his loan spell, Bayer Leverkusen are keeping tabs on the Bournemouth man, while Leicester City are also showing an interest.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are currently preparing for Sunday’s Premier League home meeting with Manchester United, and they head into the weekend with a five-point lead at the top of the table over defending champions Manchester City.

Arsenal keen on to make January approach for Premier League No.22 playmaker

Arsenal have reportedly identified Brighton & Hove Albion’s Kaoru Mitoma as a potential alternative to Mykhaylo Mudryk.

The Gunners appeared to be the frontrunners to recruit Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month, but the Ukrainian has instead joined London rivals Chelsea for around £88.6m.

Mikel Arteta’s side are now planning to delve back into the transfer market, with a forward high on their list of priorities as Gabriel Jesus is facing a lengthy period on the sidelines.

According to 90min, Mitoma is one of a number of players who Arsenal are interested in, but they are aware that they may have difficulties in luring the Japan international to the Emirates Stadium this month.

The report adds that Mitoma’s Brighton teammate Leandro Trossard is considered a ‘more-attainable target’ for the Gunners, with the Belgian wanting to leave the Seagulls after falling out with manager Roberto De Zerbi.

Trossard, 28, excelled for Brighton before the World Cup break, recording seven goals and three assists in 13 games across all competitions, but he has since struggled to rediscover his form and has been dropped from the matchday squad in their last two matches due to an alleged training ground bust-up with a teammate.

Nevertheless, Brighton have had no problems scoring goals without the presence of Trossard in attack, with Mitoma one player who has stepped up in his absence and impressed since the appointment of De Zerbi.

Indeed, the 25-year-old started only once under former boss Graham Potter at the start of this season, but he has since started eight games under De Zerbi, scoring four goals and providing three assists including a strike against Arsenal in a 3-1 away win in the EFL Cup third round.

Mitoma, who represented Japan at the World Cup, joined Brighton in August 2021 from Japanese club Kawasaki Frontale before immediately moving on loan to Belgian side Union SG, where he recorded eight goals and four assists in 29 appearances last season.

The Kanagawa-born attacker’s form for club and country over the last 12 months has been recognised as he was recently named Japan’s inaugural PFA Player of the Year for 2022.

It is thought that Brighton have no interest in letting Mitoma leave the club, with the winger under contract until June 2025, but Arsenal are said to have several other attacking players on their shortlist of targets.

The report from 90min claims that the Gunners have made contact with Barcelona to discuss the availability of Raphinha and Ferran Torres, who have struggled for regular game time under Xavi.

However, both players are believed to be keen to fight for their places at Camp Nou and have no intention of leaving the club midway through the season.

Meanwhile, a separate report claims that Arsenal have also made contact with Bayer Leverkusen over a possible move for winger Moussa Diaby, who is valued by the Bundesliga club at €100m (£88.4m).

Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia have also been linked with a big-money move to the red side of North London.

Deal Close: Arsenal set to make move for Shakhtar Donetsk attacker

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly among the clubs to have been offered the chance to sign Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Tete.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the 22-year-old moved to Lyon on loan until the end of the 2022-23 season and has made a positive impression in Europe.

Tete has registered seven goals and eight assists from 24 games in a Lyon shirt, including five goals and three assists from 13 games in the current Ligue 1 campaign.

However, with the attacker’s temporary deal with Les Gones set to come to an end next summer, his long-term future is up in the air, as Laurent Blanc’s side do not possess the option to sign him permanently.

Tete’s contract with Shakhtar also runs out in December 2023, but his deal with the Ukrainian giants was suspended as part of FIFA’s ruling on foreign players in the country.

According to 90Min, Tete is likely to end his loan spell at Lyon in January and secure a permanent move elsewhere, and a number of Premier League clubs have been alerted to his situation.

The report states that both Arsenal and Tottenham have been presented with the chance to sign the former Brazil Under-23 international, who does not fit into the plans of newly-appointed Lyon manager Blanc.

West Ham United and Newcastle United are also believed to have been made aware of Tete’s availability, while Southampton were apparently close to bringing Tete to St Mary’s last summer.

Tete came through the Gremio youth system before signing for Shakhtar in 2019, and he has amassed 31 goals and 15 assists in 108 appearances for the Ukrainian powerhouses in that time.

While primarily deployed as a right-winger, Tete has also garnered experience playing in the number 10 role and up front during the early stages of his career, and his versatility could appeal to Mikel Arteta.

The Arsenal manager has been left short of out-and-out attacking options after Gabriel Jesus’s knee injury and subsequent surgery, which is expected to sideline him for three months.

Gabriel Martinelli could be moved to a central role to ease the burden on Eddie Nketiah, but a new attacker is expected to be Arteta and Edu’s priority for the January market.

Tete’s Shakhtar teammate Mykhaylo Mudryk is regarded as Arsenal’s leading target in the final third, and the 21-year-old is understood to be pushing for a winter move to the Emirates.

However, Shakhtar director of football Darijo Srna has frequently claimed that it would take a fee of €100m (£88.5m) to sanction a sale, although Arsenal are supposedly confident that they can strike a deal for less.

Arteta’s men will aim to move eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table when they host West Ham United for a Boxing Day London derby.

West Ham United midfield maestro emerged as surprise transfer target for Arsenal

Arsenal are reportedly preparing to make an offer for West Ham United captain Declan Rice during this summer’s transfer window.

The 23-year-old stayed with the Hammers last summer despite the speculation surrounding his future, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool all believed to be keen on his signature.

Rice is widely expected to move on in 2023, though, especially with David Moyes’s side currently struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League table.

While away with England at the 2022 World Cup, the midfielder suggested that he wants to leave West Ham in the near future in order to challenge for major trophies.

“One hundred per cent I want to play in the Champions League,” Rice told reporters in Qatar. “For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that.

“I’ve been playing consistently well for my club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing. I see my friends here who are playing Champions League and for big trophies.

“You only get one career and at the end you want to look back at what you’ve won and the biggest games you’ve played in. I really want to do that.”

According to Fichajes, Arsenal have emerged as genuine contenders for Rice, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta pushing for the club to complete his signature during this summer’s transfer window.

The report claims that West Ham value the midfielder at €100m (£88m), which is a significant drop on the £150m that clubs were allegedly quoted last summer.

West Ham have the option to add another year on Rice’s deal, which would take him until June 2025, but the player is widely expected to push for an exit at the end of this season.

Rice has again been a vital player for the Hammers during the 2022-23 campaign, scoring one goal and registering two assists in 23 appearances in all competitions.

The midfielder has made 218 appearances for the London club in total since his debut in 2017, meanwhile, with the England international arriving from Chelsea’s academy.

Real Madrid have also been credited with an interest in Rice, but it is believed that he wants to remain in the Premier League.

The midfielder’s future could be directly related to what happens with Jude Bellingham, as his England teammate is likely to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, and the same clubs are believed to be interested in his signature.

Rice played the full 90 minutes of West Ham’s 2-2 draw with Leeds United in the Premier League on Wednesday night.

Arsenal set to make bid for 22-year-old Spanish forward

Ferran Torres has said that he is looking forward to enjoying “many magical nights at Camp Nou” in 2023, with the attacker seemingly ruling out a move away from Barcelona in January.

The 22-year-old’s future has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks, with a number of clubs believed to be keeping a close eye on his situation in Spain.

A recent report claimed that Tottenham Hotspur were lining up an offer for the Spain international.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Arsenal are also interested, as the Gunners attempt to bring a new forward to the Emirates Stadium before the end of the January transfer window.

However, Torres appears to have ruled out a mid-season move away from Barcelona.

“Here’s to a 2023 with many magical nights at Camp Nou with our fans,” Torres told Sport when asked about his wishes for the new year.

Torres has been a regular for Barcelona during the 2022-23 campaign, making 20 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals and registering one assist.

The forward has only managed two goals in 14 La Liga outings, though, and he has been named in the starting XI in the league on just six occasions during the current season.

Torres, who has a contract at Camp Nou until June 2027, previously played in the Premier League for Manchester City, scoring 16 goals and registering four assists in 43 appearances for the club between 2020 and 2022.

As well as Tottenham and Arsenal, AC Milan have been credited with an interest in the forward, who was a part of the Spain squad at the 2022 World Cup.

Torres played 60 minutes of Barcelona’s 4-3 win over Intercity in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, with the Catalan outfit needing extra-time to beat the third-tier outfit.

“I’m satisfied with the game, with our team. We know what the cup is like, the rivals are extra-motivated, everything costs, we have made the game difficult for ourselves,” Barcelona boss Xavi told reporters after the match.

“We have been playing well but we are still lacking effectiveness. In general terms, I’m satisfied. I’m satisfied with the game, but we lacked effectiveness. We need to be more effective both in defense and in attack to decide the games.”

“Intercity it’s a team from a lower category and we had to dominate the game, we did it, but we suffered too much, we have to close the games earlier, it’s the same as against Espanyol.”

Torres could be an option to start at centre-forward against Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday evening, as Robert Lewandowski is suspended for the Catalan side.

Netherlands international attacker had chance to join Arsenal before Man Utd

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur turned down the chance to sign Burnley forward Wout Weghorst before he joined Manchester United on loan, according to the Dutchman.

The striker has failed to make his mark in English football since arriving at Turf Moor from Wolfsburg in January, providing just two goals and three assists in 20 games for the Clarets.

Weghorst rediscovered his goalscoring touch during the first half of the 2022-23 season on loan at Besiktas, scoring nine goals and setting up four more in 18 games before Man United came calling.

The 30-year-old bade an emotional farewell to Besiktas ahead of his temporary move to Old Trafford, and he made his debut in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, playing 69 minutes of the Selhurst Park encounter.

With Anthony Martial injured, Weghorst is expected to keep his place in the first XI for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, who were supposedly one of two other Big Six sides in the picture for the striker’s services.

According to Weghorst himself, both Arsenal and Tottenham were considering a swoop a couple of years ago, but neither North London giant firmed up their interest with an official bid.

“Two seasons ago there was serious interest in me from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. It was concrete – but in the end, they didn’t follow through,” football.london quotes Weghorst as saying.

“When it fell through, I set myself new goals. I took a good look at myself and which areas I needed to improve, physically and mentally. I drew up a plan for that with my specialist team. I realised I didn’t score enough with my head and so I started working on my technique with a volleyball coach three times a week.

“People will think to themselves: ‘What on earth is this guy doing?’ But it’s clearly had an effect. I now have real confidence. If a good ball comes over, I nod it in. I’m proud of that because it’s the result of focus and hard work.”

Arsenal have prioritised the signing of a new attacker this month after losing Gabriel Jesus to a serious knee injury, which could keep him out until March following surgery.

After losing out to Chelsea in the race for Mykhaylo Mudryk, the Gunners secured the signature of the versatile Leandro Trossard in a £26m deal from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Meanwhile, Tottenham are facing continued uncertainty over the future of talisman Harry Kane, whose existing contract now only has 18 months left to run.

The England captain pushed for a move away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021, which did not bear fruit, and Spurs have been attempting to tie him down to a new contract since.

However, with Antonio Conte’s side struggling for form since the turn of the year – losing three of their last four Premier League games and falling six points behind the Champions League spots – Kane is once again being tipped to leave.

With Man United expected to spend big on a new striker in the summer, the Red Devils are supposedly keeping a close eye on Kane’s situation, and the 29-year-old would be open to a switch to Old Trafford.

La Liga wonderkid could make switch to Arsenal in January

Liverpool are reportedly firmly in the race for Real Valladolid youngster Ivan Fresneda.

The 18-year-old’s future is currently the subject of much speculation, with a number of clubs said to be keeping an eye on his performances for his La Liga club.

Newcastle United were heavily linked with the defender early in the January transfer window, but Arsenal are now believed to be the frontrunners for his signature.

According to The Athletic, Liverpool are also showing an interest, with the Merseyside giants preparing to battle their Premier League rivals for his signature before the end of the month.

Fresneda spent time with Real Madrid’s academy during his youth career, representing Los Blancos between 2014 and 2018 before moving to Leganes.

The Spain Under-19s international then arrived at Real Valladolid in 2020, initially turning out for their B side before making his first-team debut last September.

Fresneda has now made 11 appearances for his Spanish club this season, including nine outings in La Liga.

The right-back is again expected to be involved in Saturday night’s La Liga contest with Atletico Madrid despite the ongoing speculation surrounding his future.

Real Valladolid have Fresneda on a contract until June 2025, but the club would not be in a position to reject a sizeable offer from a Premier League club.

Real Valladolid chief David Espinar said last week that “there is a lot of interest” in the youngster, but the club have not yet received a “firm offer”.

“No firm offer has arrived for Fresneda, but there is a lot of interest,” Espinar told reporters.

“The club has set a squad cost limit in the summer. We are going to try to reinforce the squad and we are aware that there are players who will leave.

“We don’t have to sell any player to survive, but, in the football industry, everyone has to do it. It serves to strengthen squads and gives opportunities to people who want to improve or seek another destination.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp selected James Milner at right-back for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Chelsea, with Trent Alexander-Arnold starting on the bench.