9.15pm Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Willian on a FREE, Joelson Fernandes UPDATE, Aubameyang new deal, Partey approach – The SunJuly 28, 2020
ARSENAL head into their FA Cup final this Saturday on the back of a win after overcoming Watford 3-2.
And off the pitch we have the latest on the Thomas Partey and Mesut Ozil transfer sagas.
Get all the latest news and transfer gossip from North London here…
TIER-ING ME APART
Kieran Tierney admitted his first season with Arsenal was the “toughest year of my life”.
The left-back, 23, signed from Celtic for £25million last summer but his first campaign south of the border was disrupted by injuries.
Tierney told the Arsenal website: “It's been the toughest year of my life.
“I've had the injury and a lot of new challenges but you need challenges, you need to be uncomfortable. You need to challenge yourself to improve.
“I worked hard every day and I knew it wasn't going to be easy coming to this massive club full of great players.
“I knew it was going to be tough coming in and trying to get my place in the team. I'm just grateful for every opportunity I get to go on the pitch and give my all.”
Arsenal have revealed Hector Bellerin is back in training after he was rested against Watford ahead of the FA Cup final clash against Chelsea on Saturday.
Speaking about the right-back, a club statement said: “Left out of squad on Sunday as a precaution due to tightness in right calf.
“Hector has resumed training with the squad.”
Nine Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool tried to stop Manchester City overturning their European ban.
City were slapped with a ban from all Uefa European competitions for two seasons after “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play in February.
Pep Guardiola's side were also hit with a £27million fine.
But the Court of Arbitration for Sport controversially overturned the ban earlier this month.
CAS also reduced the fine to £9m after City's appeal and today released a 92-page document with full details from the case.
Within the pages CAS revealed the reasons behind their decision which split opinion.
And one was that almost half the teams in the Prem had written to them to oppose City asking for a “stay of execution” on their ban.
Burnley, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs and Wolves were the other sides to come forward.
The statement read: “On March 9 2020, nine Premier League clubs filed an application for intervention…for the limited purpose of opposing any possible application by MCFC to request for a stay of execution of the Appealed Decision.”
COMM ON BACK
EXCLUSIVE – Community Shield will be played on August 29 – and fans are likely to be allowed into Wembley to watch the game.
The season curtain-raiser is scheduled for the last Saturday in August with Liverpool taking on the winners of this weekend's FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea.
And the FA are a long way down the line in talks with the government to allow supporters to watch the game – the first time any fans will have been back in a football ground since mid-March.
They want the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to give the green light to the match being the maiden test event involving football for the return of fans back in stadiums.
The hope is the green light will be given later this week, which would allow a reduced capacity of around 15,000-20,000 to be present while observing social distancing guidelines.
It would be the first opportunity Liverpool fans could get to celebrate with their players since they were crowned champions earlier this month.
West Ham have become the first club to announce season ticket holders will enter a ballot for every game before knowing if they can watch the team in action.
SunSport revealed last week how Premier League clubs were looking to stage lotteries on a regular basis to determine who would be allowed into grounds when fans are finally allowed back into stadiums.
The government hopes to give the green light to people to watch sporting events from October 1, but at hugely reduced capacities to allow for social distancing measures to be enforced.
The Hammers are the first top flight team to reveal details how it would all work after publishing their season ticket policy for the new campaign.
Season tickets will be sold as per usual, but for every game staged at the London Stadium a ballot will be held to decide who gets to be there in person.
Those who miss out will be given a cash refund for the value of that game which would be paid within 30 days of it being played.
Shkodran Mustafi will miss the FA Cup final against Chelsea after he took to Twitter to announce he has undergone surgery on his right hamstring.
He said: “Missing out the @EmiratesFACup Final for the second time.
“The good news is that the surgery went well and that I am not the type of guy who gives up easily.
“After the disappointment I accepted the situation and I am now focused to recover to be back on the pitch.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “happy” at Arsenal – but could ditch the Gunners for a move abroad, according to reports.
Speculation over the 31-year-old's future is rife, with the Gabon international having entered the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract.
The North Londoners are desperate to renew their skipper's contract, with boss Mikel Arteta having urged the club to get a deal done on more than one occasion in recent weeks.
Aubameyang himself will make the final decision, however, as he weighs up key factors.
The Athletic report that although he has an “excellent relationship” with Arteta and his team-mates, Aubameyang recognises that Arsenal are at the start of a rebuild and that as a player in his thirties, he may not be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his new boss' labour.
Head of football Raul Sanllehi is currently the man tasked with trying to convince Arsenal's No14 that the Emirates is the best place to spend the final years of his prime.
Aubameyang will head to France on holiday after Saturday's FA Cup final with all this on his mind, unless he can come to a decision in the next few days.
MAN (UTD) ABOUT TOWN
Manchester United are officially the most-popular football team on the planet.
After a DECADE-long study of Google trends, Footy.com have confirmed the Red Devils are the top-followed club on Earth.
Arsenal fans think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new deal after video crews were spotted filming next to Thierry Henry's statue.
The striker's contract is set to expire next summer and he has not yet reached an agreement with the club to extend his stay.
ut fans went wild after an image from outside of the Emirates did the rounds on Twitter.
It showed a film crew recording footage next to the statue of Gunners legend Henry.
As Aubameyang, 31, now wears Henry's iconic No14 jersey, supporters think an announcement video is on the way.
One said: “Production crew at the Emirates today doing a video which includes Thierry Henry's statue. We all know who the current number 14 is.”
Another supporter replied: “Epic spot. Why would FA Cup promo use smoke machines? Generally they just do fancy light work.”
One Twitter user added: “The only reason they might use the Henry statue is the transition of the No14 jersey.
“Auba sign that thing. It can't be a FA Cup promo video, the final is less than week, the video would have been done immediately after the victory over the Citizens.”
PUT A SOK IN IT
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reportedly told Sokratis Papastathopoulos he no longer has a future at the club.
Football London claims that the Spaniard has bluntly told the 32-year-old that he will not be required next season.
The report adds that Arteta believes Sokratis does not fit his tactical plan and he will not play significant games under him.
Yet his stance has not prompted the Greek defender to consider leaving Arsenal and he hopes he can change his head coach’s mind.
Sokratis still has a year left on his contract and his attitude in training means that he won’t be frozen out of the squad like Matteo Guendouzi.
AL BE STAYING
Inter Milan are close to extending ex-Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez’s loan deal from Manchester United for next season, according to reports.
Gazzetta dello Sport report Inter CEO Beppe Marotta is “on the verge” of closing out a deal to see the Chilean spend next year in Milan.
A deal for next season is reportedly close to being finalised but Inter are also keen to reach an agreement for an extension to cover the end of the current European campaign.
The existing deal with the Red Devils flop ends on August 5.
But Inter do not restart their Europa League campaign against Getafe until that very day, so an extension is necessary if he is to feature.
However, the Italian side faced some initial opposition from Old Trafford chiefs who rejected an extension with United still in the same competition.
GIN AND TONIC
Germany international Matthias Ginter is reportedly on Chelsea and Arsenal’s radar – but Inter Milan lead the fight for the defender.
Reports in Ginter’s homeland suggest a number of clubs are competing for his signature after he helped Borussia Monchengladbach qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Inter are searching for a long-term replacement for veteran centre-back Diego Godin and have eyed Ginter for a transfer, according to Sky Deutschland.
Also said to be keen are Chelsea and Arsenal although their interest is thought to be lower than the Serie A club.
Ginter made 36 appearances in all competitions last season as Borussia’s early title challenge faded to a fourth-placed finish.
Arsenal have reportedly had an offer of £22.7million plus Matteo Guendouzi for Thomas Partey rejected by Atletico Madrid.
According to the Guardian, Arsenal’s first offer of £22.7m plus a player was turned down by Atletico earlier this month.
The report adds that the Gunners have since returned with a new bid of £22.7m plus Guendouzi but that has also been rejected.
Arsenal’s finances mean that they will struggle to pay Partey’s full release clause of £44m.
WILL GUNNER GO
Chelsea expect Willian to join Arsenal on a free transfer… with the two teams meeting in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
The Brazilian winger, 31, is set to leave the Blues after seven years at the club.
According to The Guardian, Chelsea now anticipate him joining their North London rivals after they could not agree a deal.
Arsenal, however, would need to stump up some hefty wages and be prepared to offer him a lengthy contract.
Chelsea star Willian has FIVE offers on the table, his agent has revealed.
The Brazilian's contract at Stamford Bridge is set to expire after Saturday's FA Cup final.
And amid links with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, the 31-year-old's representative Kia Joorabchian has revealed that there are so far five offers to choose from – including two from the Premier League.
He told talkSPORT: “I don’t think he’s done a U-turn or any kind of turn, he’s always been very much the same mode.
“We had big offers – one from MLS which required him to move on July 1 – but he’s always wanted to finish the season at Chelsea and the day after the season has finished he would decide.
“He has two concrete offers from Premier League clubs on the table, an offer from an MLS club, and two other offers from Europe. He is going to make his decision after the last game of the season.”
Philippe Coutinho wants a returns to the Premier League, according to his agent.
Kia Joorabchian confirmed the news that the former Liverpool star is eyeing up a return to England.
He told TalkSPORT: “It’s no secret he wants to come back to the Premier League.
“It’s still very much open. There is a lot of genuine interest.”
The Brazilian was previously linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
CANT WAIT LONG
A dramatic end to the Premier League season saw Bournemouth and Watford relegated alongside Norwich City.
And the Championship-bound trio will face a tough task to keep hold of their star players ahead of next season.
Arsenal have been linked with bringing Arsenal midfielder Todd Cantwell in.
And SunSport have pulled together a star-studded XI of players that have been relegated who could be snapped up soon.
However they are understood to favour getting him off their payroll faced with a financial downturn caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
Respected France Football magazine has now claimed Al-Gharafa have made enquiries about the World Cup-winning midfielder.
The Qataris are managed by Slavisa Jokanovic, the ex-Chelsea midfielder and former Watford and Fulham boss.
Their squad includes former Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia and ex-Wolves, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest midfielder Adlene Guedioura.
Cesc Fabregas has been offered an epic payday to end his career with Qatari club Al-Gharafa.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea star quit Stamford Bridge to join Monaco last year.
Spain international Fabregas has since struggled to justify his £5.7million-a-year salary from the Ligue 1 club.
He made 22 appearances without scoring as Monaco ended the season ninth in the 20-team league.
Fabregas, 33, has two years left on his contract with the Monte Carlo club…
Man Utd posted a memorable throwback of Nani's excellent goal against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
EMMY HAPPY RETURNS
Arsenal have wished youngster Emile Smith Rowe a happy 20th birthday on Twitter.
The youngster was on loan at Huddersfield last season but is expected to return and stay with the North Londoners next campaign.
THE GRASPED WINGER
Crystal Palace will “listen” to offers for wantaway winger Wilfried Zaha this summer, according to reports.
But amid strong interest from Everton and Arsenal last year, the homegrown hero handed in a transfer request at Selhurst Park.
And while the Toffees baulked at Palace’s staggering £100million price-tag last summer, Zaha appears likely to finally be granted his move this time around.
According to the Mirror, Zaha is now available at the “right price” – which naturally will have taken a hit at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite having upgraded Marco Silva for Carlo Ancelotti since last year’s interest the Toffees remain keen – with the Italian a big fan of the Ivory Coast international.
Arsenal posted a moving digital tribute to some of their fans who died throughout the course of last season.
MORNING, ARSENAL FANS
Arsenal are close to paying £40million for Sporting Lisbon 17-year-old Joelson Fernandes – but won't stump up the £46m demanded for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.
Those are the two stark claims on the transfer front – just a day after “new Cristiano Ronaldo” Fernandes was tipped to stay at Sporting with a long-term contract.
Now A Bola say the Gunners are prepared to meet the hefty release clause for a striker who is already a regular Portuguese top-flight starter, having attracted interest from Barcelona and Juventus.
But Mikel Arteta's long-time admiration for anchorman Partey could end in failure – as the Gunners need to spend cautiously this summer.
Arsenal have, though, been linked with Brentford sensation Said Benrahma.
The £30million-rated Algeria winger, 24, is battling to go up in the play-offs.
But having arguably been the Championship's stand-out player, he is strongly tipped to be in the Premier League next season anyway, one way or another.
Leeds are also thought to have considered Benrahma.- and are also said to share the Gunners' keenness in Gent frontman Jonathan David.
Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Ian Wright is “frightened” Chelsea could nab Gunners' keeper Emiliano Martinez.
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