Premier League Preview: West Brom v Arsenal

The manager questioned his players’ commitment following the 5-0 home defeat to Leeds on Tuesday and Filip Krovinovic, Matheus Pereira and Branislav Ivanovic could return.

Mikel Arteta’s men meanwhile will take momentum into 2021 after halting a seven-match winless streak with a 3-1 Boxing Day victory over London rivals Chelsea followed by a scrappy 1-0 success at struggling Brighton.

The back-to-back wins have moved the north London club to within six points of the top six and helped quash talk of relegation.

The game kicks off at The Hawthorns at 8 o’clock on Saturday evening.

Mikel Arteta says trimming Arsenal squad is January transfer window priority

The Gunners were able to offload Emiliano Martinez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on permanent deals in September while a month later Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira departed on loan.

But forgotten man Mesut Ozil remained at the Emirates along with Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac, who have barely featured in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal have been linked with a loan move for Real Madrid playmaker Isco next month, but first of all technical director Edu will attempt to raise funds by moving on those who are surplus to requirements.

One player who is not set to depart is attacker Reiss Nelson, despite failing to play for the club since December 3.

It has been a stop-start campaign for the 21-year-old, who has scored once in eight outings for the Gunners this term. Mikeal Arteta confirmed Nelson had a muscular issue which saw him in and out of training, but not 100 per cent fit.

Aubameyang’s new Arsenal deal ‘imminent’

Speculation has been rife regarding the Gabonese striker’s future, who has just a year left on his current Emirates Stadium deal.

Aubameyang had been linked with a summer switch away from North London, with Barcelona reportedly interested in the 31-year-old who has plundered a prolific 71 goals in 110 appearances since arriving at Arsenal in January 2018.

Now the Gunners’ master marksman looks set to stay at the club for a further three years, making him the best-paid player at the club in the process.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein has suggested that fresh terms for Auba are ‘imminent’, with the new contract worth more than Mesut Ozil’s alleged £350,000 per-week wage.

It’s also claimed that the player’s relationship with manager Mikel Arteta has been key in getting the deal over the line, with former Gunners director Raul Sanllehi said to have negotiated the majority of the deal before his recent departure.

Hector Bellerin invests in League Two Forest Green Rovers

The League Two club’s environmentally friendly approach to football has attracted the attention of Bellerin, who first became aware of their stance following a pre-season friendly with the Gunners in 2014.

Rovers are recognised by FIFA and the United Nations as the world’s greenest football club.

Under chairman Dale Vince, a British green energy industrialist, the club has employed eco-friendly developments such as solar panels on its New Lawn home ground, the use of a solar-powered robot grass mower, and the creation of the world’s first organic football pitch.

Like Bellerin, Rovers are vegan and became the world’s first carbon neutral

sports club in 2017.

Bellerin, who recently raised money to plant 60,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest, will work with Vince in a new relationship with the aim to help raise the environmental agenda in football among clubs, leagues and supporters.

The 25-year-old said: “When I first played Forest Green Rovers – all I knew about them was that it was a long way from London! As I heard more about the club and its work, I knew I wanted to meet them and be part of it.

“So many people feel there’s no solution to the world’s problems, but Forest Green are already doing plenty – and showing others the way.

“I’m so excited to be part of the FGR family. I’ll be helping where I can, supporting people who want to change the world for the better.”

Vince, chairman of Forest Green since 2010, said: “I like Hector’s approach, his personal journey and the things he’s trying to do – they make sense.

“I’m looking forward to working with him on FGR and this wider agenda we have a shared interest in.”

Arsenal in talks with authorities over supporters at the Emirates

The Gunners have said they are working with authorities on plans to welcome back supporters in line with the latest UK Government guidelines.

An Arsenal statement said: “In recent months we have been working very hard with the relevant authorities on plans to bring fans back to stadiums, and specifically Emirates Stadium, initially with reduced capacities.

“Although our home fixture against West Ham United on Sunday 20 September will be played behind closed doors, based on the current UK Government guidelines, we hope to be able to welcome supporters back to Emirates Stadium on a reduced-capacity basis from the Sheffield United game scheduled for Saturday 3 October.”

Initially, tickets would only be made available to the club’s gold season ticket holders and premium members.

Any fans in attendance would need to social distance while inside the stadium, while other measures including new hygiene protocols would also be in place.

Anyone who attends the match would need to agree to a code of conduct.

Pilot schemes are taking place in several sports with a view to reopening doors to a limited degree from October 1.

On Saturday, 2,500 fans watched Brighton’s friendly against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium – the first time spectators have been allowed inside a Premier League stadium since March.

Torreira tipped for Arsenal exit as Magalhaes completes Gunners move

A move for the Brazilian has been in the pipeline for weeks now, with the Gunners fending off interest from fellow Premier League clubs Everton and Manchester United to secure Gabriel’s signature.

The 22-year-old has penned a long-term deal at the Emirates Stadium that will see him remain at the club until the summer of 2025.

It’s a £25m switch from Ligue 1 side Lille which has been largely thanks to Arsenal’s Sporting Director, Edu.

The former Gunners midfielder was able to convince his fellow countryman that the Emirates is the place to be for a fresh challenge, according to reports.

Mikel Arteta will no doubt want to further strengthen his squad in order to secure a Champions League finish next season – but of course bringing in new signings means there needs to be some outgoings.

One of those players tipped to depart the club is midfielder Lucas Torreira.

The Uruguay international has been nursing a fractured ankle in recent months after picking up the injury shortly before lockdown in an FA Cup tie with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Sky Sports in Italy are reporting that Fiorentina are ‘desperate’ to bring Torreira back to Serie A, and have submitted an offer to Arsenal.

The 24-year-old has three years left on his contract at the Emirates, and it’s understood the Gunners are yet to respond to Fiorentina’s bid.

Arsenal reported to have agreed personal terms with Gabriel Magalhaes

Lots of reports coming in to say that Arsenal have agreed on personal terms with Gabriel Magalhaes.

The deal is somewhere between £22 and £27 million for the Brazilian defender, who is expected to join from Lille on a 5-year contract by the end of the week

Gabriel played a key part in helping Lille finish fourth in Ligue Une and secure Europa League football next season.

Arteta has been keen to add another left-footed center-back to his squad since Pablo Mari was ruled out with a serious ankle injury and Gabriel fits the bill.

The deal should be completed in time to see the South American line-up alongside William Saliba in the Community shield, which is less than two weeks away.

Ian Wright hits out at Arsenal redundancies

The FA Cup winners made the announcement on Wednesday and pointed to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on finances as the reason for the move.

In a statement issued by the club’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham, they pointed to severe drops in broadcast revenue – with it understood the cuts will come across some football departments as well as commercial and administrative roles.

Wright tweeted his apparent dismay at the news, writing: “Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent!!!” as he retweeted Arsenal’s original post.

It is also believed Arsenal’s current plans in the transfer market will not be affected by the job cuts, as Chelsea winger Willian continues to be heavily linked with a free transfer to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal ready to offer Aubameyang new deal

Aubameyang turned in another stellar display at the weekend as the Gunners beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley to secure their 14th FA Cup title – no club in English football has won more.

It was Aubameyang’s brace at the national stadium which secured a first trophy for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal boss, and perhaps more importantly, secured the club a Europa League place next term at Wolves’ expense.

European football at the Emirates next season is a huge boost for manager Mikel Arteta, as not only does it give the club greater appeal in terms of attracting new players, but may also go a long way to keeping hold of the prolific Aubameyang.

The Gabon international, who recently turned 31, has been subject of speculation all season, largely due to his excellent goalscoring form coupled with Arsenal’s lacklustre showing this campaign.

Newspaper the Daily Star suggest that the Gunners are willing to offer Aubameyang a £250,000 a week deal to convince him to stay at the club, whereas other sources are suggesting a new deal worth more than £40m could be signed by the end of the week.

Whatever the scenario, Arsenal know that losing Aubameyang is also losing a major asset in the hunt for success.

Arsenal close to permanent Dani Ceballos capture from Real Madrid but hit snag in chase for Atletico’s Thomas Partey

The good news is that Dani Ceballos, who has been on loan at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid this campaign, is reported to be close to penning a permanent contract at Arsenal.

Ceballos is said to not be in the plans of current Real coach Zinedine Zidane, and according to Spanish news outlet AS, the midfielder’s focus is to stay in North London for another season.

Other reports from Spain also suggest that Real Madrid’s need to make some cash this summer will encourage them to sell Ceballos to Arsenal, with newspaper Marca claiming €30-35m could be enough to make the switch permanent.

It is in the middle of the park where Arteta and Sporting Director Edu are seemingly keen to bolster their ranks, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey on the Gunners’ radar.

Partey has been linked with a move to the Premier League for the past 18 months, with Arsenal supposedly in pole position for the 27-year-old’s signature.

The Ghana international has a release clause of €50m, and still has three years remaining on his current Atletico deal – but the Gunners remain confident they can land their man.

Earlier this month, The Guardian reported Arsenal had offered £23m for Partey’s services – approximately half of his €50m release clause – but that was rejected.
Now reports claim that out-of-favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi was offered as a makeweight in order to up the ante, and tempt Atletico in to accepting a lower price for Partey.

Guendouzi reportedly had a bust-up with gaffer Mikel Arteta shortly after the Premier League’s resumption and hasn’t featured for Arsenal in the last 10 games in all competitions.

Despite the offer of Guendouzi, Partey won’t be leaving the Wanda Metropolitano any time soon it seems, as the player plus cash bid was also rejected.

In the past, Alexandre Lacazette has been of interest to Atletico Madrid – however it is unlikely that Arteta will use the Frenchman as a bargaining chip to secure Partey at the expense of weakening his forward line.