Arsenal news LIVE: Lacazette exit LATEST, Isak eyed, Elneny sale, Jovic potential switch – transfer updates

ARSENAL are back in action tonight as they welcome Aston Villa to North London.

The Gunners meanwhile are interested in signing Real Madrid flop Luka Jovic, according to reports.

We've also an update on Mohamed Elneny's future, as well as news of transfer speculation linking Alexander Isak to the Emirates.

Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • Justin Lawrence

    STEP UP

    Ex-Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez has taken a swipe at his former club by claiming moving to Aston Villa was a step up in his career.

    Martinez joined Villa last year after spending a decade with the Gunners who never appreciated him, the Argentine claims.

    Martinez will come face to face with his old Arsenal pals when Villa take them on tonight.

    And before the game, he said: “When I was on a high, I still felt like they didn’t deserve me because of the way they were treating me.

    “They couldn’t guarantee me the games I needed so I thought that if they couldn’t guarantee me the games I needed, then I’m moving on.

    "They didn’t say to me that I wasn’t going to play, they just didn’t guarantee me the games that I wanted to play.

    “So, after 10 years, I decided to leave, and it was very difficult. My family didn’t understand why I was leaving when I was at such a good level at Arsenal, but it was my decision to leave and I’m really proud I did it.

    “It was a gamble, but I always believe that if you stay in the comfort zone, you will never reach anything in life. I decided to take the step up.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    HOLDING ON

    Mikel Arteta says he has no plans to sell Alex Lacazette in January despite the risk of losing the player for nothing at the end of the season.

    Lacazette's contract is up at the end of the season and the Gunners haven't offered him a new deal.

    That will leave him free to open talks with foreign teams in the New Year with a view to walking away from the Emirates as a free agent.

    And boss Arteta believes that is an option which more major stars will pursue as a result of the bottom dropping out of the transfer market due to Covid.

    He says: “Big players running down their contracts is happening more than probably ever before.

    “There is a reason for this and we are not the only club facing these kind of situations after everything else we have had to do over the past 18 months.

    “We just have to try to deal with the issues we face in the best possible way, but there are no plans for Laca to leave us in January.

    “He is our player and I will continue to treat him like everyone else no matter how long he has left on his contract because that’s what he deserves.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    NO CHANCE

    Paul Merson think Liverpool are in for a shock if they think they’ll brush past a struggling Manchester United with ease this weekend.

    The Reds have been in scintillating form while United have struggled, but ex-Arsenal star Merson reckons Jurgen Klopp’s side would be silly to write off their Prem rivals’ chances.

    Merson told Sky Sports: “There’s absolutely no chance Liverpool will wipe the floor with Manchester United at Old Trafford, there will be a game because this is the game.

    “Liverpool will go to Old Trafford in confident mood, but I don’t care what anybody says, this is still a hard game.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    TEN STRENGTH

    Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe has revealed that he's relishing the challenge of becoming a legendary No.10 at the club just like those who wore the shirt before him.

    The 21-year-old was given the 'iconic' Gunners No.10 shirt this summer after signing his new contract with the club.

    But the youngster isn't daunted by the pressure that comes with the legendary number, instead he plans to show that he's worthy of it during his time at The Emirates.

    He told the Evening Standard: “I feel like it is such an iconic number. So many great players have worn it, not just at Arsenal, but even at other clubs as well.

    “There are so many great players that have worn the No10 and I feel like it was a challenge I wanted to take on.

    "I wanted to prove myself and prove I am capable of wearing it. I want to keep working hard and hopefully the fans can see I am capable of wearing it.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    ON THE MARC

    Arsenal legend and Ajax director of football Marc Overmars is ‘open’ to ditching the Dutch giants for a role at Newcastle United, reports claim.

    The 48-year-old is under consideration by the Magpies after overseeing a remarkable period of success in Amsterdam since his appointment in 2012.

    Overmars has seen his side win four Eredivisie titles on his watch, in addition to building a squad featuring the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek that reached the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.

    According to The Times, the former Highbury wing wizard is interested in working for a team with the financial clout of Newcastle, having had to watch his Ajax team dismantled of its best players year after year.

    They also claim that Overmars enjoys a good working relationship with the Toon’s new board, which features Amanda Staveley, Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Jamie Reuben.

    Overmars is under contract at Ajax until 2024.

  • Justin Lawrence

    TEAM NEWS

    The Gunners are without Granit Xhaka, who will be sidelined for at least the next 6 weeks.

    Bukayo Saka came off in the draw with Crystal Palace, but is expected to be fit for this one.

    Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard were positives from that game and should start again.

    Leon Bailey is a major doubt for Villa, but Matty Cash is expected to be fit despite a dead leg from the weekend.

  • Justin Lawrence

    GAME TIME

    Arsenal and Aston Villa clash in the Premier League today with the Gunners in desperate need of a win.

    The Gunners welcome Villa to The Emirates and the battle will commence at 8pm.

    Those who can't make it to the stadium can watch the game on Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Premier League.

    And Sky will being their coverage from 7pm, giving fans an in-depth analysis of what to expect come kick-off time.

  • Justin Lawrence

    GOOD FRIDAY

    Arsenal take on Aston Villa in a Friday night Premier League feast.

    The Gunners will be buoyed by their last-gasp draw against Crystal Palace on Monday, while Villa were stunned 3-2 by fierce rivals Wolves in the west Midlands derby.

    Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to score the equaliser for Arsenal against Palace, and boss Mikel Arteta has admitted he is still working out the best way to use the French star.

    Arteta said on Monday: "Well, we have him! He’s our player, and he shows real commitment so I’m not thinking about anything.

    "I’m thinking about how to get the best out of him, and tonight he showed a real big moment and how much he cares about the team."

  • Justin Lawrence

    WIL HE OR WON'T HE?

    Jack Wilshere has revealed he would be open to Derby move in January after he rejected offer to play for Wayne Rooney in the summer.

    Ex-Arsenal ace Wilshere, 29, admitted in an interview with talkSPORT that ex-England teammate Rooney asked him to join him at Pride Park in the summer.

    But Wilshere rejected the move, instead opting to go to Italy to train with Serie B side Como.

    Wilshere said: "I did speak to Wazza actually, in the summer. It was when Derby were under that embargo where they couldn't buy anyone.

    "And I went to Como as well, instead. And I thought about it, but it weren't for me."

  • James Orr

    CESC APPEAL

    Jack Wilshere named Cesc Fabregas the best player he starred alongside at Arsenal.

    The out of contract midfielder is currently training with his former club, having represented them for a decade until leaving for West Ham in 2018.

    Having won FA Cup medals with the Gunners, Wilshere played alongside the likes of Santi Cazorla, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and even Thierry Henry during the Frenchman's brief return in 2012.

    But when asked by talkSPORT who the best of all was, it had to be Fabregas.

    Wilshere, 29, said: "Probably Cesc Fabregas.

    "He played in the Premier League – just after the ‘Invincibles’ side – at 16.

    “You won’t see that anymore. Even players like (Phil) Foden, he only started at 18.

    “I learnt a lot from him as he was my captain as well. People don’t realise he was a great leader."

    Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd
  • Etienne Fermie

    GOOD MORNING GUNNERS FANS

    Arsenal could be without four players in January as the Africa Cup of Nations threatens to significantly impact several Premier League clubs.

    The Gunners have a number of stars who look set to feature in the international tournament, which takes place between January 9 and February 6.

    It is still being called the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations despite taking place in 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic pushing it back 12 months.

    Gunners club captain and Gabon skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the main miss for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta heading into the new year.

    But the Spanish coach is also expected to be without Ivory Coast man Nicolas Pepe, Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey and Egypt international Mohamed Elneny.

    Meanwhile, Arteta reckons his team know just what to do to beat Aston Villa tonight.

    He said ahead of the game: "We play at home. We know the type of game we need to play to beat them, and our focus is only that.

    "If we play 4-3-3 the way we played the first 20 minutes [against Crystal Palace], we win the games.

    "But if we start to play the way we played the following 20 minutes, it doesn’t work, because again, that is a transition game and we don’t have the players to do that when we play in that formation."

    Finally, Arteta insists he was never going to sell Emile Smith Rowe to Villa.

    He added: “Any club has the right to make an enquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid.

    “There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.

    “I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club.

    “He is really happy where he is and I’m delighted to have him in my team.”

  • Anthony Chapman

    ART OF THE MATTER

    Mikel Arteta insists he was never going to sell Emile Smith Rowe to Aston Villa.

    Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s match against Villa on Friday, he said: “Any club has the right to make an enquiry about a player and if they believe they have the financial power to get him, they are entitled to make a bid.

    “There was communication between clubs regarding Emile and we made it really clear he was not for sale.

    “I was never worried he could leave because he is a big part of our future and what we’re trying to do as a club.

    “He is really happy where he is and I’m delighted to have him in my team.”

  • Anthony Chapman

    FRESH LOOK

    Arsenal have unveiled their new-look tunnel and dressing room after it underwent a refurbishment.

    The Gunners had three weeks to complete the new designs between the matches against Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

    Now there is a modern look around the Emirates, bearing Arsenal's traditional red and white colours.

    The club have also made effective use of LED lighting, with the changing room perimeter glowing red.

  • Anthony Chapman

    MARCED MAN

    Newcastle are lining up Arsenal legend Marc Overmars to take over as technical director after the Dutchman's decade-long success at Ajax.

    However, the 48-year-old has a contract at the Dutch champions until the summer of 2024.

    Overmars has previously been linked with two of his former clubs, Arsenal and Barcelona.

    Manchester United have also shown an interest in the Dutch legend.

  • Anthony Chapman

    HAA LA LAND

    Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann believes Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland could make the move to the Emirates in 2022.

    Lehmann said: "He already has an imposing stature; the force and height.

    "Of course, he has to improve his [right] foot but I have never seen such a big, big player be so fast.

    "He’s still [at Dortmund]. There aren’t that many clubs where he can go and where he can make a difference. 

    "Maybe he could go to Manchester United or Arsenal, where he could bring a club back to the top."

  • Anthony Chapman

    AAR YEAH

    Arsenal legend Ian Wright has lauded Aaron Ramsdale’s impact since his summer move from Sheffield Utd.

    He told Ringer FC: “The save he made from [Conor] Gallagher in the first half, I’m not joking right, you actually see him take a peek over the bodies before getting across to it.

    "I’ve got to say, I am so happy with him. He’s made some saves where it’s clear he’s getting better. Some of his passing too…

    "We’re talking about a 24-year-old [23] who’s already had two seasons in the Premier League.

    "Yes, he went down but the experience he’s had can only make him better. He’s in the first-team at 24 [23] and been with England.

    "We probably don’t get him if he didn’t go down so it’s a blessing. He’s the No1 for me, without any doubt."

  • Anthony Chapman

    BUK TO THE FUTURE

    Mikel Arteta is set to name a strong starting XI against Aston Villa tomorrow.

    Bukayo Saka is ready to play after a quick recovery from his knock against Newcastle.

    Is this how the Gunners will look on Friday?

  • Anthony Chapman

    CAL ME MAYBE

    Arsenal are reportedly battling Newcastle in the race to prise Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin away from Goodison Park.

    And Football.London have declared that the North London outfit have made the Toffees star their No1 target for 2022.

    But according to The Telegraph, the Magpies have put Calvert-Lewin on their list of targets for next summer.

    They state that the England international is highly regarded by Newcastle's recruitment team.

  • Anthony Chapman

    CUT IT OUT

    Mikel Arteta is demanding football changes its ways after being sickened by Steve Bruce's revelations of personal abuse.

    Arteta said: "I was really sad after reading that statement from Steve (detailing abuse).

    "I think we have to reflect. We can't take for granted and accept certain things because they are how they are. 

    "No, we are here as well to improve them and change them, like we do with any rules, with any fixture list and we have with anything that we want to improve for our sport, fans, stadium, facilities and broadcasts.

    "We're going to spend more time and we have an open table to discuss how we're going to do that because I think we have to think about the fact that one of the most experienced managers in England's history is telling you that in a letter. 

    "You can't just ignore that, so for me, it's a very serious statement and it's something that has to change and has to start to change."

  • Anthony Chapman

    GUNNER BE A STAR

    Arsenal have denied signing a wonderkid who's still at NURSERY.

    The Gunners were reported to have taken their youth recruitment to a new level by snapping up Zayn Ali Salman, now five, when he was just four years old.

    But a club spokesman said: “At his current age, Zayn is not part of the official Arsenal Academy.

    “He is currently enjoying football sessions at the West London Development Centre, one of the development centres that we run across London, providing local and fun football sessions for Under-6 to Under-8 year olds.

    “The youngest age group at the Arsenal Hale End Academy is the under-9 age group.

    “Our mission to be the most caring and challenging football academy is reflected in the way we develop our young people.

    ‘’The priority is to ensure that any child or young person attending the development centres or our Hale End Academy enjoys their football, with a focus on their all-round development and wellbeing.”

  • Anthony Chapman

    SAK BAK

    Bukayo Saka has been cleared to play for Arsenal against Aston Villa on Friday after limping off during Monday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

    The England star, 20, was unable to continue beyond half-time after being booted on the back of his right leg by Eagles midfielder James McArthur.

    Arsenal initially feared Saka had suffered a serious injury which could rule him out of action until after next month’s international break.

    But after treatment to his calf muscle and an assessment by the Arsenal medical team, he has been cleared to return to training.

    And now Arteta is expected to select Saka in his starting line-up for the crucial home game against Villa.

  • Anthony Chapman

    LOK AND LOAD

    Albert Sambi Lokonga has urged Arsenal to sharpen up after Monday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

    Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game against Aston Villa, the midfielder said: “The goals came from two mistakes, one of them mine.

    “It is an area where I cannot lose the ball, so it is difficult to speak about the goals when I made a mistake, but we have to analyse them.

    “It is difficult to say we started the game well because, apart from the goal, we didn’t do well in terms of quality, simple things.

    “After the opening goal we relaxed too much. We had to look for the second goal, we had to put more pressure on them and we didn’t.

    “I want to play the next game as quickly as possible to change everything.

    “When you play a game like this, you are hungry inside because I made a mistake.”

  • Anthony Chapman

    GUNNER JOIN?

    Arsenal are being tipped for a big January transfer window under Mikel Arteta.

    Is this how they'll line up in 2022?

  • Justin Lawrence

    WENG WILL DO

    Ex-Newcastle United owner John Hall reckons his old club should appoint Arsene Wenger as their new manager.

    The Magpies are on the hunt for a new boss following the dismissal of Steve Bruce whose days were numbered once new owners came in.

    Speaking on talkSport, Hall revealed what he would do if he was still in charge pn Tyneside, and said: “If I was looking out for a manager, in my day I had the utmost regard for Arsene Wenger.

    “I thought he was an intellectual in the game. The game has changed and you need thinkers for the game.

    “I would be looking for someone of the calibre of Arsene Wenger.”

  • Justin Lawrence

    FRED-LY ADVICE

    Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have found a fix to his midfield problems, according to Arsene Wenger.

    United came back from a 2-0 deficit and beat Atalanta 3-2 in the Champions League on Wednesday at Old Trafford and Wenger highlighted Fred as well as Paul Pogba as the main factors.

    Wenger told beIN SPORTS: “Pogba, I thought, did well.

    “Pogba gave them more power out from deep in midfield by creating more dangerous balls.

    “And when Pogba came on Fernandes became better. Fernandes had a poor first half, but in the second half he came alive as well.

    “I would personally highlight the second half for Fred.

    “Fred saved a few crosses in the box, defensively outstanding and he worked unbelievably hard in the second half.”

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