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Impact Alexis Claude-Maurice will make to Arsenal if Unai Emery clinches €7m deal this summer

Reports claim that the Gunners have had a bid for the player rejected

More information has been provided as to what to expect from Arsenal target Alexis Claude-Maurice should he arrive at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

Reports on Saturday claim that the Gunners have had a €7million bid rejected by the players club FC Lorient, but Arsenal are expected to return with an improved offer for the winger, with the player said to be very keen on a move to the Premier League to link up with former teammate and friend Matteo Guendouzi.

The Frenchman currently plays his football in the French second division. English coverage of the league is not so forthcoming as the top European divisions, so fans can be excused if they don't know what to expect from the 20-year-old.


Luckily for Arsenal fans, FC Lorient expert Lucas Le Texier was on hand to provide information about the Gunners' target.

"He can play in attacking midfield or out wide," Le Texier told reporters . "He is a very technical player. One of his greatest qualities is his ball control, where he always manages to make great touches."

"It's very hard to take the ball from him. His main progression is the timing of his passes and their choice. He is a rather fast player but he is not the type who will do 30-40 meters with big acceleration.

Alexis Claude Maurice vies with Ellyes Skhiri during the French Cup round of 16 match between Montpellier and Lorient

"He prefers to have the ball between the lines and then he has speed with his next move or execution. His finishing is very good, many of his goals come from outside the box. He puts a trajectory through his hit & it's very special, curved, gentle strikes but powerful ones too."

Claude-Maurice has shone in Ligue 2 this season, scoring 14 goals and providing four assists for his club.



Why Arsene Wenger WON'T be at Arsenal vs Chelsea

ARSENAL legend Arsene Wenger won’t be in attendance when the Gunners take on Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger won't be in attendance at their Europa League final vs Chelsea (Pic: GETTY)

Unai Emery’s men have the chance to secure Champions League football for next season when they lock horns with Maurizio Sarri’s Blues in Azerbaijan.

There is less pressure on the latter given their third-place finish in the Premier League, meaning they go straight into the group stages of Europe’s elite competition in 2019/20.

The London derby in Baku will be the first of two all-English European finals this term, with Tottenham and Liverpool set to battle it out in the Champions League final next Saturday.

Both sides produced monumental comebacks to reach the Madrid showpiece; Liverpool fought back from three goals down in the second leg of their semi-final against Barcelona at Anfield, while Tottenham produced a three-goal turnaround of their own in the second half of their last-four decider away at Ajax.

“I will not be in Baku because I have commitments that I accepted and I will have to respect that”

Arsene Wenger

But Wenger, who called time on his 22-year Arsenal career at the end of last season, has revealed that he won’t be in Azerbaijan to watch Arsenal - yet will be in Madrid to see if arch-rivals Tottenham can clinch their maiden European Cup.

“How will I watch [Arsenal vs Chelsea]? On television,” he told talkSPORT.

“I will not be in Baku because I have commitments that I accepted and I will have to respect that.

“So I will watch it on television and I will be in Madrid for the big final.”

Wenger’s comments came after it was claimed:

Arsenal face Chelsea in an all-London Europa League final next Wednesday (Pic: GETTY)

But former Gunners boss Wenger won't be in attendance due to 'commitments' (Pic: GETTY)

Another man who won’t be in Baku is Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The Armenia captain is not travelling due to fears over his safety in Azerbaijan, with the two countries currently at loggerheads over political issues.

Despite UEFA’s assurances he would be safe, Mkhitaryan decided not to take the risk.

And Wenger cannot fathom how a player is missing such a pivotal match in this day and age for political reasons.

Wenger is surprised by Henrikh Mkhitaryan's absence in the final on political grounds (Pic: GETTY)

When asked how the situation makes him feel, he replied: “Very uncomfortable.

“You would not think in 2019 a club will miss a player for political reason in Europe, you know?

“It’s different to understand.”


Unai Emery masterminded previous Europa League glories and what it means for Chelsea clash

Can the Gunners boss add another Europa League title to his collection?

Arsenal and Chelsea will head to Baku’s Olympic stadium as they contest this season Europa League title on 29th May. It will be the first major European final between two English clubs in 11 years.

For Arsenal, the competition provides a lifeline in terms of securing a major European trophy and indeed bringing Europe’s marquee football competition back to the Emirates next season.

The implications of the same could prove huge in shaping the course of Arsenal’ssummer and indeed their Premier League campaign next season, with the transfer funds available in this summers window very much dependant on if the club can secure Champions League football.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery knows what it takes to win the Europa League having previously conquered Europe’s second tier competition in three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. He can also boast a track record in defeating English opposition in the final too.

After seeing off Benfica in 2014 and Dnipro in 2015, Emery’s Sevilla side met Liverpool in the 2016 final. Just like there is now, there was huge pressure on the Spaniard back then to deliver a third success crown and indeed Champions League football, but how did his side manage to defeat the Jurgen Klopp’s men?

In that final, his side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, very much a blueprint of his time at Sevilla.

Emery’s side struggled to impact the opening 45 minutes and spent the bulk of the half on the back foot. His side were unable to build any momentum in their play or threaten Liverpool’s goal, in fact they managed zero shots on target.

A big issue for his team was the fact his side seemed to show too much respect to Liverpool. Without the ball, they dropped into a narrow 4-4-1-1 and although they deployed an aggressive press, it wasn’t coordinated allowing Liverpool to easily play around them and build through the wide positions.

Without the ball, Sevilla dropped into a narrow 4-4-1-1

The below demonstrates that the bulk of Liverpool's attacks in the first-half came down the wide positions.

The bulk of Liverpool's attacks in the first-half came down the wide positions

This also left a disorganisation in their own attacks. As can be seen from the below, there was no bridge between the defence or attack, leaving large areas in the middle exposed. In this example, Sevilla’s attack breaks down and Liverpool can break. There are four Sevilla players ahead of the ball with no player in the middle section of the pitch.  

Sevilla failed to utilise middle areas and there was no bridge between the defence or attack, leaving large areas in the middle exposed

It was clear Emery identified these problems and at half-time and he adjusted his sides tactical focus, ordering more intensity in attack and more width from his wide players. This cut off Liverpool's ability to build down the flanks as easily.

From the kick off, his side manufactured an attack and scored an equaliser after 17 seconds, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.

The Spanish coach also instructed his attacking players to occupy the spaces in between the lines that had previously been bypassed in the middle of the pitch. This can be seen below in the build up for the second goal. 

Sevilla midfielders occupied the spaces in between the lines that had previously been bypassed in the middle of the pitch

Sensing Liverpool were tiring, Sevilla increased their number of short smart progressive passes through the middle of the pitch and avoided playing longer direct balls. Notably, there was a 30% reduction from his side in terms of long direct passes in the second half, compared to the first.

Vitolo, Ever Banega and Coke were able to interchange positions, making it difficult for Liverpool midfielders to track and stop threatening runs in behind the defence.

In the below, that midfield three link in short sharp triangles. As they pass and move through the Liverpool midfield, the opposition midfielders struggle to track their runs.

Sevilla's midfield three link in short sharp triangles as they move through the Liverpool midfield

Sevilla’s midfielders continue smart passes and movement as they progress towards the Liverpool goal.

From the edge of the box, Coke can latch onto the short pass into his feet to fire Sevilla into the lead and complete the turnaround.

From the edge of the box, Coke can latch onto the short pass into his feet to fire Sevilla into the lead and complete the turnaround

Sevilla of course went onto grab a third a seal a famous 3-1 victory, handing Emery his third successive Europa League crown.

Following his in-game adjustments, Sevilla dominated the second half and managed 11 shots on Liverpool’s goal, four of which hit the target and bestowed an xG value of 1.38. This was much improved on their first half xG value of 0.18.

Emery’s ability to adapt his tactics in game to achieve a winning result make him invaluable in these big games in European finals. It’s why in that three-year period, his team managed to see off the tough and differing tests provided by Benfica, Dnipro and of course Liverpool.

Arsenal fans have already had glimpses of Emery’s in-game tactical adjustments in big matches, notably when he brought on Aaron Ramsey in the North London Derby in December and switched from 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2, masterminding a 4-2 victory after going down 2-1.

Setting up to exploit Chelsea’s weaknesses whilst simultaneously enhancing their own will be key, but knowing Emery has the ability to adapt should he be required too may just prove the decisive factor in Baku.


Arsene Wenger hits out at Arsenal’s Europa League final ‘nightmare’

The former Arsenal boss has voiced his displeasure with the situation in Baku (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wengerhas hit out at the decision to stage the Europa League final in Azerbaijan following a series of controversies.

The Gunners will travel to Baku at the end of May to take on Chelsea, though the stadium is expected to be well under capacity after both teams failed to fill their allocations due to the difficulty in getting to the city.

Arsenal will also be without Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to political tensions between his nation and the host country, and Wenger is saddened by the situation.

Mkhitaryan made the decision not to travel to Azerbaijan (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s a little bit of a nightmare [for the fans],’ the 69-year-old – who will not be travelling to Baku to see the game either – told reporters on Thursday.

‘The teams have no problem. They live in ideal conditions – they have their private jet, nice business seats. But it’s the fans.

‘That [Mkhitaryan’s situation] is something that should not happen in football.

‘I feel it’s not normal that in 2019 – inside Europe, with very sophisticated democracies – that you cannot play for political reasons.’

The veteran Frenchman has hinted he may not return to football in a coaching capacity (Getty)

Wenger has been linked with a host of top jobs since leaving Arsenal a year ago and says he is now ready to return to football, though not necessarily as a manager.

He added: ‘I thought I would come back into management very quickly, but I enjoyed taking a little distance. Now I’m at a crossroads. You will see me again in football. As a manager? I don’t know.’


Ian Wright talks about the best signing for Arsenal.

Arsenal should move to sign Nicolas Pepe, Youri Tielemans and Ben Chilwell this summer, says Ian Wright

Arsenal legend Ian Wright (Photo: BT Sport)

Ian Wright wants Arsenal to sign Nicolas Pepe, Youri Tielemans and Ben Chilwell this summer as the Gunners look to revamp their squad.

Arsenal are likely to be linked with a number of players in the coming weeks and months as Unai Emery looks to strengthen his side ahead of his second campaign in charge at The Emirates.

The transfer budget available to the Gunners boss could be dependent on whether the north London side win the Europa League final against Chelsea FC next week to seal their spot in the Champions League for next season.

Former Arsenal striker Wright has now given his take on the type of signings that the Gunners need to make this summer.

He feels that they should be moving to land the likes of Lille forward Pepe, Monaco midfielder Tielemans and Leicester City defender Chilwell.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Mirror, Wright said: “[Arsenal should sign] someone like Ben Chilwell. He is the kind of left-back who is getting better with every game.

“He’s an England international now. Somebody that I’m sure is going to be sought after.

“Then there is Youri Tielemans. He came over from Monaco. He’s on loan at Leicester City and he’s someone that, well there are loads of teams linked with him, but he’s someone that you’d want to have.

“And Nicolas Pepe at Lille. That kind of winger with his intensity, pace and skill.

“Those are the kind of players that are definitely going to improve any team, if I’m totally honest.

“And they’re at the age where they are going to be there for a few years. So that’s a dream list if I’m being totally honest.”

Arsenal are currently preparing for their Europa League final showdown with Chelsea FC in Baku on 29 May after having finished in fifth place in the Premier League table.

The Gunners ended last season without a trophy in what was Arsene Wenger’s final campaign in charge of the north London club.


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