Arsenal and Tottenham 'to battle it out for Chelsea winger Willian'

Arsenal and Tottenham ‘set to battle it out for Chelsea winger Willian’ as they face up to summer window where they ‘can only sign players for free or on loan’ due to impact of coronavirus

  • Chelsea winger Willian’s contract at Stamford Bridge expires next month
  • He could extend his deal on a short-term basis to the end of the season
  • Premier League clubs are facing up to a lack of funds in the transfer market 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Arsenal and Tottenham will compete against each other for the free signing of Chelsea’s Willian as they face up to a lean transfer window this summer.

The Premier League rivals are facing a scenario where they will only sign players on free transfers, loans or in swap deals, according to The Telegraph.

Both clubs are reportedly planning for a summer without spending any money as the financial impact of the coronavirus suspension begins to bite. 

Willian is at the centre of a transfer tug of war between Tottenham and Arsenal this summer

The Chelsea winger arrives for training as players build up fitness before the return to action

The north London rivals face the prospect of raising money by selling off star assets like Harry Kane or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Willian’s Stamford Bridge future has been the subject of intense speculation, with his current deal set to run out at the end of June.

But with the Premier League likely to restart next month, a short-term deal is set to be agreed between both parties so Willian can play the rest of the season, which is likely to stretch into July and August.

‘It’s a difficult situation because Chelsea offered me two years and they are not going to change what they offered. I said I wanted three more years,’ the winger told Brazilian outlet Esporte Interativo last week. 

A move to Tottenham would see Willian reunited with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal will reportedly have limited funds in the transfer market this summer

‘The situation is difficult because of this. I really don’t know if it will be possible [to stay]. My goal is to continue working and focus on the remainder of the season, so that Chelsea can continue winning games.

‘I have a clear head and I’m focused for the rest of the season that we have left. I think it’s difficult [to stay]. Let’s see what happens.’ 

The 31-year-old returned to training last week as Premier League clubs readied themselves for a return to action in June. 

However, he has spoken previously of players being ‘uncomfortable’ about returning in the current global climate, as Project Restart accelerates.  




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Arsenal 'open talks with Philippe Coutinho's agent'

Arsenal ‘open talks with Philippe Coutinho’s agent’ after Bayern Munich opted against making Barcelona outcast’s loan move permanent

  • Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is said to be desperate to sign Philippe Coutinho 
  • Chelsea are also believed to be considering a move for the 27-year-old 
  • Coutinho is out of favour at Barcelona and has three years left on his contract 

Arsenal have reportedly opened talks with the agent of Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho ahead of launching a bid this summer. 

Coutinho is on a season-long loan deal at Bayern Munich but the Bundesliga club have revealed they won’t activate the option to make the move permanent. 

That means the Brazilian will return to Barcelona at the end of the season, where he appears unlikely to regain a place in the starting XI. 

Arsenal have reportedly opened talks with Philippe Coutinho’s agent over a summer move

Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich but the club say they won’t sign him on a permanent deal

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 32 games for Bayern but that wasn’t enough to earn a move

Coutinho moved to the Nou Camp from Liverpool three years ago but has failed to secure regular first team football and looks set to leave this summer. 

According to Le10sport.com, Arsenal have made the 27-year-old one of their top transfer targets and opened talks with his agent, Kia Joorabchian. 

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is believed to be a huge admirer of Coutinho, who can play either in an attacking midfield role or as a left sided forward. 

It was in those two roles that he rose to prominence at Liverpool, where he spent four seasons before moving on to Barca in a £142 million deal. 

Coutinho, 27, will now return to Barcelona but looks likely to leave the Nou Camp this summer

During his time at the Reds, Coutinho scored 41 goals in 152 games and established himself as one of Europe’s most highly-rated attacking talents. 

Now he’ll be determined to reestablish his reputation and Arsenal could provide the opportunity to do just that as Arteta looks to rebuild the Gunners squad he inherited when he replaced Unai Emery in December.

Arsenal could face competition for his services from a host of top European clubs, as well as Premier League rivals Chelsea who are also reported to be weighing up a move.   




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Fabregas: Arsenal were 'angry and upset' as United ended unbeaten run

‘Gary Neville, what he did to Reyes… mamma mia!’: Cesc Fabregas reveals Arsenal’s Invincibles were ‘angry and upset’ after their 49-game unbeaten run was ended by Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2004… and he accuses Wayne Rooney of DIVING

  • Cesc Fabregas is still furious at Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United in 2004
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s side ended the Gunners’ Invincbles run with a 2-0 victory 
  • Fabregas accused Wayne Rooney of diving to win a penalty for the opener
  • The Spaniard also recalled how Jose Antonio Reyes was repeatedly hacked down

Cesc Fabregas has said he is still furious over Manchester United ending Arsenal’s Invincible run in 2004.

United beat the Gunners 2-0 at Old Trafford as Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney sealed victory in a game full of controversy. 

The Red Devils were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute after Rooney was brought down by Sol Campbell, but Fabregas accused the Englishman of diving.

Cesc Fabregas admitted he is still furious over Manchester United beating Arsenal in 2004

The Spaniard accused Wayne Rooney of diving to win a penalty for United’s opening goal

Jose Antonio Reyes was repeatedly hacked down by United’s Gary Neville and his team-mates

Van Nistelrooy converted the spot-kick before Rooney added another in the final minute.

The Spaniard admitted he is still frustrated about the way his side’s unbeaten run came to an end and recalled how team-mate Jose Antonio Reyes was repeatedly hacked down every time he had the ball.

‘We were so disappointed. We were angry, we were upset,’ he told Rio Ferdinand’s FIVE YouTube channel. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=RURqZafgC00%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

‘It had to come to an end, the 49 games, it can happen at Old Trafford against a great Man Utd side. But I think it’s the way it happened.

‘First of all, Gary Neville, what he did to Antonio Reyes… mamma mia! But every single time he had the ball! Wayne [Rooney] dived for the penalty against Sol [Campbell].

‘The emotion was that we had lost against a great team, which can happen, but we didn’t feel we should’ve lost. We didn’t feel it was the right time to lose our invincible run. Everyone was really, really upset.’

Arsenal had gone 49 games unbeaten after an ‘invincible’ season in the 2003-2004 campaign

The game was dubbed the ‘Battle of the Buffet’ as Fabregas was involved in the ‘Pizzagate’ scandal.

Players and staff clashed in the tunnel following the fiery encounter with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson having a slice of pizza thrown at him.

For several years the identity of the culprit remained unknown until Fabregas admitted it had been him who had launched the pizza in the Scotsman’s direction.

Players clashed both on and off the pitch in what became known as the ‘Battle of the Buffet’

The former Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder also admitted how tough it was to go up against Ferguson’s side during that era. 

‘What a team you were. We beat you a few times and it felt amazing but I always felt that in big games, where something really mattered, you were on top of us,’ he added.

‘Even the FA Cup final in 2005 (Arsenal beat United on penalties after a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium) – you deserved to win that game.’ 




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Arsenal boss Arteta told £22m transfer target set to ‘take a new step’ with summer move

Arsenal target Emmanuel Dennis is set to “take a new step” in his career that could see him leaving Club Brugge in the summer, according to manager Philippe Clement. The Gunners have been keeping tabs on Dennis for quite a while as they are weighing up potential attacking reinforcements ahead of next season.

Clement admitted that the centre-forward is highly likely to leave the Jan Breydel Stadium to pursue a different challenge at the end of the season.

The Brugge manager has also confirmed that there is a lot of interest for the Nigeria international which means that the Gunners will also have to outbid other clubs, such as rumoured suitors Newcastle and Wolves.

Clement told La Derniere Heure: “It is very likely that Dennis will leave. He can also count on a lot of interest. It is the time for him to take a new step.”

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Arsenal have been linked with a £22million bid for Dennis, who has two years remaining on his contract with the Belgian giants.

The 22-year-old was also a target for Leicester last summer after putting together a string of impressive performances for Brugge with seven goals last season.

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The Nigerian has helped his team win the Jupiler Pro League title again with a total of nine goals in 33 appearances across all competitions after the season was forced to end due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement from the Pro League read: “The management of the Pro League will be charged to adjust the federal regulations regarding the players’ entitlement to play on the date of this game and not on the originally scheduled date.

“If the promotion final is not completed before the start of the new season, the club with the highest number of points in the championship of 1B with a valid license for 1A, being KVC Westerlo, will be promoted to the Jupiler Pro League.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is keeping an eye on potential attacking reinforcements due to the uncertain futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

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Aubameyang is set to enter the last year of his contract with the Gunners and has yet to agree on an extension with reports suggesting he is looking for a different challenge.

Lacazette has been linked with Napoli as well as being part of a potential swap deal with Atletico Madrid involving Thomas Partey.

The striker’s future also appears to be up in the air following the publication of pictures in which he appeared to be inhaling “hippy crack”.

Arsenal have confirmed that they are ready to take “serious” disciplinary action which means the France international is facing a maximum two weeks’ fine.

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set to lose out on free transfer to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham

Arsenal are likely to miss out on Ryan Fraser as the Bournemouth star has set his sights on a free transfer to Tottenham. Fraser’s contract with the Cherries runs out on June 30 and he is thus one of the most sought after players ahead of the summer transfer window due to the current financial climate.

According to the Daily Mirror, Tottenham have emerged as serious candidates to sign the winger for free at the end of the season and are set to make an offer.

That comes as a blow to Arsenal, who will be looking for reinforcements in the summer following a turbulent season, as well as Liverpool, who have also expressed interest.

Fraser appears to be most open to Spurs’ approach as they would provide him with a major upgrade in his career with the possibility of Champions League football next season.

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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho understands that funds will be limited due to the Premier League’s suspension as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mourinho is also fully aware that other clubs will have the exact same problem as well and will thus prioritise free transfers, loans or swaps.

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Arsenal’s budget may be much more limited than the rest of the Premier League’s top six as they are ninth in the table and at serious risk of missing out on European competitions next season.

Fraser joined Bournemouth in 2013 from Aberdeen and has since spent six years at Dean Court, and he was also loaned out to Ipswich in 2015.

The Scotland international has since recorded 24 goals and 33 assists in 208 appearances for Eddie Howe’s team.

Bournemouth are prepared to lose the 26-year-old for free but are not giving up on their efforts to tie him down to a last-gasp extension.

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The Premier League has been suspended ever since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic and officials are hoping to restart the season by June 12.

That means the campaign is going to continue beyond June 30 when many players’ contracts come to an end.

That is why the Premier League has brought in a new system where players out of contract can sign short-term extensions to see out what’s left of the season.

Chelsea are facing the risk of losing Willian and Pedro on free transfers as the attacking duo have yet to agree to a potential extension.

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Arsenal star Lacazette pictured with balloon at his lips

Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette pictured with balloon at his lips and boasted to his friends that he was ‘doing balloons’ – 18 months after £185,000-a-week star was given a warning for inhaling ‘hippy crack’

  • Alexandre Lacazette appears to inhale from the balloon in his own home 
  • The Arsenal striker appears to relax back on his sofa as his eyes start to close
  • It comes nearly 18 months after he and fellow Arsenal stars were warned 
  • Footage from August 2018 showed some of the club’s players passing out
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Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette could be in hot water after appearing to inhale from a balloon at his lips during the coronavirus lockdown period. 

Footage published by The Daily Star appears to show the French striker filming himself at home seemingly inhaling from the balloon, which is in his mouth.

French rap music can be heard blaring out in the background of the clip, as the £185,000-a-week Arsenal forward appears to slowly ­inhale. He then seems to relax back on a sofa as his eyes start to close.

Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette could be in trouble after appearing to inhale from a balloon

The French striker appeared to then slowly relax back on his sofa before his eyes closed

With the footage, which he is believed to have sent to his friends during the week, the 28-year-old reportedly boasted in texts that he was ‘at home, chilling and doing balloons’.

Arsenal and Lacazette’s representatives have both been approached for comment by MailOnline.

The news which has emerged comes nearly 18 months after the former Lyon striker and several of his Arsenal team-mates were warned by the club over the use of nitrous oxide.

It is not the first time the Frenchman has been warned for his actions off the field by the club

The shocking footage from August 2018 appeared to show the France striker alongside fellow Gunners stars Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac at a champagne and vodka party in a London nightclub.

Some of the players appeared to pass out after inhaling ‘hippy crack’ at the nightclub, and just days before the start of the new Premier League season they were reportedly hauled in and ‘reminded them of their responsibilities’.

Nitrous oxide gas is used as a painkiller for dental patients, but it can lead to oxygen deprivation, and has been linked to at least 17 deaths. 

It is not illegal to possess the gas, but its sale is banned in England and Wales to under-18s if there is a risk of inhalation.

The forward was reminded of his responsibilities before the start of the 2018/19 season




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Bernd Leno names Arsenal starlet that will become ‘world class’ under Mikel Arteta

Arsenal star Bernd Leno believes Gabriel Martinelli can become a world class player one day if he keeps up the good work. Martinelli arrived as a complete unknown at the Gunners last summer but quickly managed to make his presence known with a series of impressive performances.

The young forward has so far recorded 10 goals and four assists in 26 matches for the north Londoners and has left a lot of promise for the future.

Leno has full faith in his team-mate and believes he has all the tools to become a top player one day thanks to his talent and work ethic.

The star goalkeeper is specifically impressed with the 18-year-old Brazilian’s mentality that has helped him adjust to the Premier League’s demands.

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Leno told Soccer AM: “I think he can become a world class player. World class, 100 per cent, because he has talent, he has quality.

“But I think his biggest strength is his mentality. He is working unbelievably [hard].

“I remember in our bad time when we struggled a lot, he was working so hard, he was one of the leaders and at 18 years old he came from nowhere, nobody knew him before and to play like this and to behave like this is very good to see.

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“I think if he keeps going like this he will be an unbelievable player.”

Martinelli is among a group of Arsenal youngsters that have been enjoying a breakout season these past few months earning themselves a place in Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Eddie Nketiah are making their own claim as future Gunners stars.

Leno believes this is an exciting time for the fans as they get to see a young team grow and develop into something promising for the future.

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But the Germany international insists that they will need time and is confident that they will be successful as long as they develop the right mentality.

Leno added: “I think for the fans it’s very good because you have a very young team, they can develop very quick.

“Of course they need time, you have to give them the time and if they have a good mentality we will be successful with them.”

Arsenal are currently ninth in the Premier League table with eight points adrift fourth-placed Chelsea.

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Arsenal on the lookout for free transfers and swap deals

Arsenal on the lookout for free transfers and swap deals due to financial impact of coronavirus pandemic with Chelsea winger Willian on their radar

  • Arsenal will be searching for cut-price deals during the next transfer window
  • The Gunners asked their players to take pay cuts due to the coronavirus crisis 
  • Chelsea winger Willian is one out of contract player that is of interest to Arsenal 
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Arsenal are actively on the lookout for free transfers and swap deals, underlining their financial position after stressing the need for their players to take pay cuts.

Arsenal, who asked their stars to reduce their wages by up to 12.5 per cent until next March due to the impact of coronavirus, are resigned to having a limited budget before player sales when the next window opens and having to shop shrewdly.

As a result they are focusing on out-of-contract players while they have also put feelers out to see if there are any potential player trades that could be arranged.

Chelsea winger Willian, who is out of contract in June, is one player Arsenal are considering

Chelsea winger Willian, whose agent Kia Joorabchian has close ties with Arsenal and their technical director Edu, is one free agent of interest to the north Londoners.

Swap deals are harder to strike due to the difficulty of the two parties agreeing on the value of both players involved.

Arsenal, though, were part of one of the most high-profile of recent years when Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swapped between the Gunners and Manchester United in January 2018.

The exact date when the summer transfer window will open has yet to be confirmed due to the delay to the season following the coronavirus outbreak.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is on the lookout for free transfers and swap deals this summer

Arsenal’s plans highlight their tight financial situation and the importance of their players agreeing to become the first in the Premier League to take pay cuts rather than deferrals.

Mikel Arteta’s players will only be repaid in full if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League while the reduction will be lowered to 7.5 per cent if they make the Europa League.

The topic of the club’s transfer plans was raised in the discussions with players wanting to know if they would end up seeing the club splash out in the summer after being asked to reduce their wages.

 


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Arsenal players arrive at training ground as first club return from coronavirus lockdown

Arsenal’s PFA representative Hector Bellerin led the first cluster of players back to London Colney on Monday morning. The Gunners are the first top-flight club to reopen their training ground. Premier League action could resume behind closed doors in mid-June so players will need plenty of time to improve their fitness levels after weeks of training alone at home.

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Premier League action was suspended in early March after Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta contracted coronavirus. The Gunners have not played since the March 2 victory at Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round.

The partial reopening of London Colney represents a tentative step into resuming the 2019/20 campaign.

The players are arriving at the training ground on a strict rota basis. The 10 pitches on site will all be used to ensure strict social distancing measures are properly implemented. Car parking places will be clearly marked for each player and there will be no meetings.

Hector Bellerin, David Luiz and Emiliano Martinez were among the first to arrive although no group activities will be taking place.

Bellerin drove into London Colney sporting a pair of earphones with a multicoloured wire.

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The Spaniard acted as a go-between during wage cut talks due to his role as the club’s PFA representative.

After protracted negotiations, the majority of Arsenal’s first-team squad agreed to a 12.5 per cent reduction in their earnings for a year.

David Luiz was also in attendance, arriving at the training ground in his white motor vehicle.

While Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made quite the entrance in his red sports car.

Concerns over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being stopped for selfies while out jogging is one of the motivating factors behind the club’s decision to allow players access to the training ground.

The club also had to remind Granit Xhaka, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette social distancing guidelines in the last week.

An Arsenal spokesperson said: “Players will be permitted access to our London Colney training grounds next week. Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed. Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home.”

The decision to partially lift the training ground closure has attracted some criticism, however.

Georgie Bingham said on talkSPORT: “It made me really upset, Arsenal going back to training next week.

“That breaks social distancing rules. Social distancing rules say you can go out for food, health reasons or work but only if you cannot work from home.

“Well, even if training doesn’t resume until June 1, because that’s the kind of deadline isn’t it that they’re setting on finishing the season, you can work from home if you’re a footballer because you have no reason to be in work because there are no games.

“So you’re working from home on your fitness.

“You can have four weeks of training when they say that the game can return, but what kind of example is football setting except that it’s greedy and it needs to go back to work?

“I don’t get it, I just think it looks bad.”

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Arsenal players will be allowed back to club's training ground next week

Arsenal’s players will be allowed to return to train at London Colney from next week while Aston Villa’s squad have agreed a 25 per cent wage deferral as Chelsea decide against a pay cut.

The Gunners’ squad will undertake some light running individually in line with the government’s coronavirus regulations.

A club spokesperson confirmed: ‘Players will be permitted access to our London Colney training grounds next week.

‘Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed. Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home.’

Players will reportedly operate on a strict rotational basis, with small groups arriving individually and they will not come into contact with each other.

It comes after Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka were all reminded about their responsibilities after being photographed violating coronavirus guidelines recently.

Luiz and Xhaka were seen meeting up in a park in north London, a video emerged of Pepe playing football with his friends, while Lacazette was pictured getting too close to a man valeting his car on his drive.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have decided against imposing a pay cut on their first-team squad, instead requesting the players continue their support for charities.

The Blues have been in negotiations with their players about a salary reduction, reportedly around 10 per cent, in an effort to save money during the current crisis.

A statement on the club website said: ‘Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis.

‘The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

‘We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS.

‘At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes.’

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