Numerous media outlets are already reporting Mikel Arteta has tested positive for Covid 19 and will miss the Man City match.
Much of the Arsenal coverage is on Philippe Coutinho, currently at Barcelona, preferring to come to Arsenal on loan, and Arteta giving the ‘green light’. On the surface it doesn’t make much sense with Odegaard, Smith Rowe and Martinelli covering his potential positions – unless Edu and the Spaniard have something else up their sleeves. Maybe it is the experience he brings.
About four strikers are coming to Arsenal, according to the red tops. Patrick Schick of Bayer Leverkusen, he of the wonder goal against Scotland in the Euros is high on the list, He has scored 16 goals in 14 matches and is only three behind Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in the German league.
Schick has a contract with Leverkusen until 2025 and it is believed that his asking price will exceed £50m. And the club want Champions League football and would be reluctant to sell
The famed Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic’s wage demands (£200,000/week) are too high for Arsenal claims the Sun. Besides, insiders think once the alleged dodgy dealings have been sorted in Florence – he is a shoe-in (or rather boot-in for Juventus). Just like the Locatelli deal was nailed on, despite lengthy tabloid rumours of an Arsenal deal.
Arsenal old timers including Merse, and Lee Dixon think Calvert Lewin would be the best striker signing – but can’t see Everton letting him go in January, even though it is reported that he is an Arsenal fan.
Like Lille’s Jonathan David who seems a reasonable bet on the surface, given his liking for Arsenal and the fact he was seen with a Thierry Henry T-shirt. He is top scorer in the French League with 12 and Arsenal have a record of Lille transfers. But Real Madrid and Liverpool are also tracking him.
Another Lille player, Renato Sanches is a possibility for midfield, particularly with Maitland Niles likely to go to Roma on loan with a view to a permanent deal, and Partey and Elneny away at the Afcon. At 24, he fits into the age profile more than Coutinho, but has a bad injury record and struggled at Swansea.
See Granit Xhaka has been talking to the media.
He told The Athletic: “After what happened two years ago, we were very far from each other. I think we are step by step coming closer and closer. I don’t believe we will be best friends. But what I can tell people is from the first day until the last day I am here I will do everything for the football club.”
“I will make mistakes because everyone does. We are not perfect. But I will give 100 per cent in every training session and every game. This is my message to the fans. Sometimes you have misunderstandings and I believe this was the only reason for the problem we had between us.
“I feel much more love than one or two years ago, but it is a slow process we have to do with each other.”
He also suggested that his midfield partner Thomas Partey has at times struggled to deal with the pressure of his big price tag. And that he is more likely to get red carded, due to his record.
Only two current Premier League players have been sent off more times in the competition, while Xhaka’s 45 yellow cards come at a rate of one every 3.8 games.
“When I once got a red card, the referee said to one of my team-mates, ‘You know how Granit is, he loses his head’,” he said.
“This feels wrong. Just because I lost my head against Burnley, for example, it is not like I lose my head every time. To put me in this box like this I believe is wrong.”
Mikel Arteta likes him at any rate. “Granit is one of the captains and he’s part of the leadership group. He’s a really important player for us.”
Talking of Arteta – he has been speaking up at a Premier league managers’ meeting: “We had a managers’ meeting where we tried to expose our feelings and the situation, but the decisions are already made.
“It’s about two things – the welfare of the players and the integrity of the competition. In this situation, I think we are wasting our time trying to accomplish both things. We cannot continue to try and achieve both of those things. It’s impossible.”