Friday, 19 July 2019

Almost done: Arsenal agree deal to sign St-Etienne's William Saliba.



Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba from St-Etienne.

It comes following weeks of speculation that saw north London rivals Tottenham attempt to hijack the move at one point.

However, per Fabrizio Romano and the Guardian, Saliba has chosen the Gunners and an announcement is expected in the comings days.

The young Frenchman has agreed a five-year contract with Arsenal and will cost them €30m (£27m) plus add-ons.

He will be loaned back to St-Etienne for the 2019/20 season and then join Arsenal in June 2020, when the summer transfer window reopens.

Arsenal were reportedly "always confident that Saliba would stand by his word and join them" and were told the move had gone through by St-Etienne on Thursday evening.

Now all that's left is for the teenager to complete a medical.

Fabrizio Romano

@FabrizioRomano

William Saliba to Arsenal, here we go! It’s the final decision by the player, he’s going to sign for 5 years. Just confirmed by Arsenal, always been confident about this deal #AFC #Arsenal #transfers

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8:47 PM - Jul 18, 2019

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Saliba is one of Europe's most highly-rated young centre-backs and signing him is a massive coup for Arsenal, whose defence is in desperate need of reinforcements.

Unai Emery only has a budget of £45m to work with this summer but he recently claimed he's looking to sign "three or four players".

"We are working, the club is working with the possibility to sign some new players to help us," the Spaniard said.

"We are doing a lot of meetings with the club, with Edu, with Raul [Sanllehi] and also with Josh and Stan Kroenke on Monday in Denver. We have a clear idea to sign players to help us with quality and in the positions we need.

"We are talking with patience and with calm because we really want to sign players who can help us with a big performance.

"We think in the team we have very good players and we also need to take the best players in some positions."

Arsenal have already signed 18-year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli and are chasing deals for, Wilfried Zaha, Everton Soares and Kieran Tierney.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The exciting role Nketiah could play at Arsenal

Arsenal boss Unai Emery's renowned tactical flexibility could help make Eddie Nketiah's burning ambition come true.


Arsenal starlet striker Eddie Nketiah has been the name on everyone’s lips after his late winner in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in LA.

The talented 20-year-old sealed boss Unai Emery’s second win from two games on their US tour with a winner 120 seconds from time against the Bundesliga gisnts.

Nketiah is determined to break into the Gunners first team on a regular basis during the 2019/20 season and did his chances a world of good after landing man of the match in the showpiece friendly. 

The Lewisham-born striker carried on his good form from the end of last term after grabbing his first Premier League goal on the final weekend of the campaign, in a 3-1 win over Burnley.

 

But, rather than be satisfied with a bit-part role over the coming months the starlet is gunning for a starting role in Emery's side.

And it is Emery's renowned tactical flexibility that could help make Nketiah's burning ambition come true.

While the former Sevilla boss ended last season with a 4-3-1-2 formation to include the pair of star strikers at his disposal in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette, he is known for the fluidity of the systems he uses.
 

Throughout his career Emery has played a number of different formations, including 4-3-3 - which is a system that could work for Nketiah. 

Because if Emery played three up front Nketiah could be the man to benefit.

Eddie Nketiah celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal against Bayern Munich

First things first.

While many believe 4-3-3 to be an attacking system, it can also be used to great effect defensively - but only if you have excellent strikers or widemen in the attacking trident prepared to work hard up and down the flanks. 

The rule of thumb for this particular formation is that if the opposition has the ball then the back four keeps its shape and remains solid. 

But three in midfield could easily expand to become five when morphing into a 4-5-1 shape - if two out of the three attackers has the nous and tactical discipline to drop back.

 

Despite his penchant for fast cars and the odd garish social media posts, Aubameyang has proved himself to be a genuine team player since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund for a club record £56m back in January 2018.

Such altruism has been shown by his willingness to be shunted to the left flank when Emery has opted to play one up front which has invariably been Lacazette.

As such, there is no reason to believe the Gabon striker cannot drop back to solidify the midfield three.

 

With such a role model to learn from, the hard-working Nketiah, if played as part of an attacking trio, would also happily also slot back to boost those in the middle of the park from a three to a five - meaning a 4-3-3 formation can be strong defensively.

Yet, of course, it is when you consider the attacking options Nketiah can add to the established pair up top which can really excite Emery and fans alike. 

While Nketiah started trending on social media after his later Stateside winner against the Bundesliga champions, Arsenal fans have known about his ability for the last couple of seasons at the very least. 

The deadly young striker grabbed attention when he notched two goals on only his second game for the first team against Norwich City in the third round of the Carabao Cup in October 2017.

Eddie Nketiah against Bayern Munich

Many will recall him equalising for the Gunners with his first touch of the match, before going on to grab the winner against the Canaries in extra time to help clinch the game 2-1. 

While he has struggled at times to impose his undoubted talent in the box - his two misses against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road in the third round of the FA Cup back in January spring to mind - the fact is Nketiah is mentally tough. 

Such character shone through when he picked himself up from the disappointment of the club failing to agree a loan move for the star to move to German side Augsburg at the end of the January transfer window.

 

While the prospect of regular first team football for five months at a crucial stage of his development would have enticed greatly, Nketiah brushed the disappointment off to have a strong end to the season - including that first league goal at Turf Moor back in May.

First and foremost Nketiah is a poacher. A predator. A fox-in-the-box type figure. His off-the-ball movement is exceptional because his thrives on space in the penalty area. 

The question when he misses a chance shouldn’t so much be, ‘how did he miss it’, but ‘how did he manage to find that much space in a crowded box to be able to shoot?’

 

Yet, apart from his instincts in front of goal, he is also technically proficient and a good dribbler, as befits a player who has been honed in the Arsenal academy after Chelsea made the mistake of letting him go before he was 16.

While some at inside the Stamford Bridge outfit did not believe Nketiah’s slight build had the capability to withstand punishment meted out to professional footballers, Arsenal’s scouts begged to differ.

Eddie Nketiah takes on Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich.

Fast forward four seasons and the young prodigy is on the verge of handing boss Emery a genuine selection headache - not to mention a tactical one. 

One thing is clear however, the emergence of Nketiah means he is able to boost far more experienced colleagues Aubameyang and Lacazette in a forward three if Emery opts for a 4-3-3 formation.

Arsenal deploy secretly in bid to sign Everton as Unai Emery targets new forward

ARSENAL technical director Edu is playing a key role in the Gunners’ pursuit of his compatriot Everton, according to reports in Brazil.


Arsenal deploy secret weapon in bid to sign Everton as Unai Emery targets new forward (Image: GETTY)

Everton is high up Arsenal’s list of alternative targets after it quickly became clear a deal for Wilfried Zaha will not happen.

The Gremio forward will cost substantially less than the Crystal Palace winger, but would arrive at the Emirates with a buzz around him.

Everton was part of the Brazil squad which beat Peru in the Copa America final earlier this month to scoop the trophy in their homeland.

And it seems progress towards the 23-year-old potentially leaving Gremio behind to join Arsenal began while he was playing for his country.

Brazilian outlet Band reckon Edu, who was part of his country’s senior setup at the Copa America, has been utilised to help seal a deal.

They claim Edu opened talks with Everton and his representatives at the tournament, when it was thought his own move to Arsenal had already been agreed.

Edu’s actions have formalised Arsenal’s interest in Everton and helped convince the forward’s agent to advise him heading to north London would be good for his career.

Everton is said to have held advanced conversations with Arsenal regarding a potential switch to the Premier League.

Arsenal deploy secret weapon in bid to sign Everton as Unai Emery targets new forward (Image: GETTY)

And Unai Emery will be hoping Edu can get the former Fortaleza youngster on board ahead of the oncoming campaign.

A fee of £36m has been mooted for Everton, who was previously tracked by Arsenal’s top-flight rivals Manchester City.

Everton would follow in compatriot Gabriel Martinelli’s footsteps if he swaps the Arena do Gremio for the Emirates.

Martinelli linked up with Arsenal at the start of the month having risen to the fore at Sao Paulo state-based Ituano.

Arsenal deploy secret weapon in bid to sign Everton as Unai Emery targets new forward (Image: GETTY)

Arsenal deploy secret weapon in bid to sign Everton as Unai Emery targets new forward (Image: GETTY)

The 18-year-old bagged his first Gunners goal in Tuesday morning’s 3-0 pre-season win over Colorado Rapids.

Fellow starlets Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka were also on target as Arsenal put their MLS opponents to the sword at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Arsenal kick off their 2019/20 Premier League campaign on Sunday August 11 when they travel to Newcastle.

And they will be desperate to get as many wins under their belt ahead of that showdown at St James’ Park.

Unai Emery speaks on Laurent Koscielny's situation at Arsenal



After Laurent Koscielny refused to travel with the squad for their pre-season tour to the US, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed that the Frenchman made it clear to him he wanted to leave the team.

The club captain defied orders of manager Unai Emery to join his team-mates on the tour of America as he looks to push for a move away from the Emirates. According to L’Equipe, lawyers representing both the player and the club will meet this week and that Koscielny’s representatives are expecting some wages to be withheld.

Emery revealed that he had several talks with Koscielny but failed to convince the captain to join the squad for their pre-season tour, "I spoke yesterday about that. Now, this matter is for the club and him. Before he traveled I spoke with him three times. He wanted to speak with the club, his first idea was to leave from the team.

"When I spoke with him I wanted him to come with us and to continue speaking with the club about the best possibility for him. He decided to stay in London."

How much Arsenal will pay Dani Ceballos a week with deal now close

ARSENAL are set to say Dani Ceballos’ entire salary while he spends the season on loan at the Emirates Stadium.


Real Madrid’s talented midfielder is poised to head for north London, but not to neighbours Tottenham.

Spurs were chasing a deal to lure the Spaniard to the Premier League on a permanent basis.

However, Ceballos still hopes to prove himself at the Bernabeu and only intended to leave on loan.

Arsenal have subsequently hijacked Tottenham’s pursuit and Starsportunderstands the 22-year-old is set to play for Unai Emery’s side.

The Gunners are just waiting on Zinedine Zidane’s approval.

Although it is expected the French manager will give the all clear to Ceballos joining Arsenal where he is likely to get guaranteed game time.

The loan suits Arsenal, Real and Ceballos, especially as Emery has a limited transfer budget to play with this summer.

While a midfielder has not been his priority amid hunts for a centre-half, a left-back and a winger, Emery will not turn down such a good opportunity.

Real Madrid star Dani Ceballos is set to join Unai Emery's Arsenal for the 2019/20 season (Pic: GETTY)

“Confirmation of his arrival could now come as soon as this wee”


Due to Ceballos’ relatively low wages too, Arsenal are happy to pay the full amount while he is away from Real.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Ceballos earns around £2.7m annually, which equates to just over £50,000-a-week.

Confirmation of his arrival could now come as soon as this week, it is understood.

READ MORE: Dani Ceballos' Arsenal move is set to be confirmed on one condition

There will not be a purchase option included in the deal, with Ceballos set to return to Madrid in the summer of 2020.

He hopes to be a part of Zidane’s plans for the 2020/21 campaign, having learned he would not feature regularly this term.

At Arsenal, however, Ceballos should play often in the Premier League and Europa League, with Aaron Ramsey’s departure for Juventus having limited Emery’s options in the middle.