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Should Arsenal Sell Alexis Sanchez?

Arsenal are faced with a dilemma. Alexis Sanchez has one year left on his current contract, but he is showing no signs of wanting to sign it. In fact, he’s hinted on numerous occasions that his future lies elsewhere. With that in mind, should Arsenal let him go now, and receive a substantial fee, or risk (almost certainly) losing him for free at the end of the coming season?

 

Replacement?

I suppose the main question is, no matter what fee the Gunners receive, if there is no replacement on the market, then it would be hard to justify a sale. Arsenal would have to have a premium world class player lined up, otherwise the fans would surely be infuriated if the Chilean left. Thomas Lemar has of course been widely linked, but the 21-year-old is still very much a raw talent and it is very hard to see him coming in and having the impact that Alexis currently has, especially in front of goal anyway. Karim Benzema is another to have been linked (when isn’t he). Reports in Spain have suggested a £60million fee may be enough to see Madrid part with the 29-year-old, with Kylian Mbappe set to steal the limelight in Spain with a reported £160million move from Monaco.

Marco Reus is another plater that has often been dubbed as a potential replacement for Alexis, but the German’s repeated injury problem would surely be a concern when considering a big money move. Arsenal could test the water with a move for Aubameyang, also from Dortmund, but it would be hard to attract this calibre of player without Champions League football on offer – something the Gunners are having to learn to cope with after so long in Europe’s elite competition.

 

Fee?

Another huge factor when considering whether or not to sell Alexis is the fee on offer. With one year left on his deal Arsenal are not in a particularly strong bargaining position here, but with the market as it is then you would expect some cash-rich clubs like PSG to be willing to offer in excess of £50million for a player that has really confirmed himself as world class in recent seasons. In this lottery of a market, it’s anyone’s guess what fee he’d go for, sport betting canada will highlight the latest football and transfer markets.

 

To who?

PSG and Manchester City have been strongly linked, but surely if Arsenal had a chance to replace Alexis with a top quality player, sell for a good fee and to a foreign club – it would certainly worth be at least considering. The risk is that if they do not then Alexis would be within his rights to leave for no fee at all next summer and to a Premier League club, most likely Manchester City.

So, should Arsenal sell? It comes down to the 3 factors discussed, and then a more calculated decision can be made. As fans we don’t know the answers to the three questions above – but Arsenal do, and I expect them to make their decision based on that.

West Ham Consider Move For Championship Boss With Changes Afoot

West Ham have struggled to remain competitive this season following their move to the London Stadium and they could seek major changes this summer.

Following the news that manager Slaven Bilic will not be offered an extended deal at the end of the current season, when his current contract enters it’s final 12 months, The Telegraph reports that the Hammers are considering an approach for Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner.

German ace Wagner, a close friend of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, has impressed with his guidance of the Yorkshire outfit, helping Huddersfield to third in the Championship standings and given the club hope of securing promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

Wagner’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, as he’s earned praise across English football, and West Ham are considering the option of giving him the reigns if they decide to move on from Slaven Bilic.

Will Bilic stay?

The question on everybody’s lips at the moment is whether Slaven Bilic will be allowed to see out the final year on his deal, as the Hammers have suffered three consecutive defeats in the Premier League and sit mid-table.

For a side that pushed for European involvement last season, bowing out at the qualifying stages of the Europa League this term, that decline is seen as inexcusable and the Hammers face a real challenge to establish themselves as contenders for continental future again in the coming years.

West Ham’s decision on Bilic could see the Croatian boss moved on in the summer and the Hammers could adjust their plans, eyeing a young, exciting manager like David Wagner instead of the big-names they’ve previously targeted.

Would Wagner be a good fit?

West Ham are in need of a new lease of life and giving the chance to a young manager could end up being an extremely good move for the Hammers, with the club in search of a new identity following their move away from the Boelyn Ground to the London Stadium.

Passionate, determined and with a style similar to Jurgen Klopp, Wagner is a hands-on manager who focuses on pressure and fitness with his players, often holding two training sessions a day that mimic weekend kick-off times.

That approach could provide the spark that the Hammers are lacking and would give the club something different, creating a tightly-knitted bunch that has the capability to cause real problems for the opposition and having a bond that is incredibly difficult to break down.

West Ham Come To Huge Decision Regarding Future Of Key Figure

West Ham United have undergone huge changes this season following their move to the London Stadium last summer but further alterations could be on the horizon.

The Telegraph reports that the Hammers have decided not to hand manager Slaven Bilic an extension on his contract this summer, when he enters the final 12 months of his current deal, due to concerns about the club’s form.

After pushing for European football last season, West Ham have struggled to remain competitive in the current campaign and flirted with relegation prior to the New Year, before suffering a huge blow in January when Dimitri Payet pushed for a move to Marseille.

Whilst the Hammers have fought back, currently sat in mid-table, they’ve failed to reach their objectives this season and it’s left a lot of work to be done over the course of the summer.

Does Bilic deserve a new deal?

It’s difficult to argue that Bilic should earn an extension this summer as West Ham’s issues have to fall at someone’s feet. Whilst he deserves credit for turning things around and handling the Payet situation well, his transfers from last summer have hardly been inspirational.

Loanee Simeone Zaza struggled and is now gone and the rest of his £70m extravaganza haven’t helped West Ham push towards being regular contenders for European football and they could suffer as a result of this season, as they now face added competition with the likes of Everton and West Brom excelling this term.

Over the summer, Bilic will have work to do to ensure his side is competitive for next season and he’ll have a year to convince the board he’s still the best man for the job.

What does it mean for West Ham?

Right now, nothing. Bilic could still extend his stay in East London if he turns things around next season and the door has not been closed in that aspect. However, there is a danger of Bilic improving drastically next season and attracting the interest of another side- with the Hammers risking losing him in 2018.

They’ve got their eyes set on potential replacements though, one of which is Newcastle United’s Rafael Benitez, and they should be able to find a top-class manager next summer if it came to it. For now though, they’ll have to back their Croatian boss in the market this summer to ensure their troubles don’t continue.

10 Interesting Facts About Arsenal Midfielder Mesut Özil

Mesut Ozil is Arsenal’s most expensive signing of all time. Joining for £42million in 2013, Ozil’s arrival at the Emirates was greeted with a huge amount of optimism. Since he arrived he has been brilliant and with a new contract reportedly on the horizon, I wanted to take a look at 10 interesting facts about the German.

1 – Mesut Özil donated his World Cup winning wages (£355,000) to ‘support the surgery’ of 23 Brazilian children following Germany’s victory in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina.

2 – Did you know that Mesut Özil is a devout Muslim who prays before every game? You can see him praying in the centre circle prior to kick off every time.

3 – Mesut Özil is actually Turkish born and is a 3rd generation German, he turned down the offer from Turkey to play for the national team in 2009 in favour of Germany.

4 – 2013 wasn’t the first time Arsene Wenger tried taking Özil to the Emirates, in 2010 following his amazing World Cup Wenger’ nearly got him before Real Madrid snatched him.

5 – Mesut Özil has many nicknames, He was nicknamed ‘The Raven’ at Schalke for his vision and ‘Nemo’ for his appearance resembling the Disney cartoon character at Madrid.’

6 – Mesut Özil can rap, in 2010 he paired up with Jan Daley to create a song for an advertising campaign, it’s safe to say he is a better footballer than a rapper.

7 – Did you know Mesut Özil is Lactose intolerant? The playmaker described the condition as “so unfair” as he is a self-confessed ice cream addict.

8 – Özil has never scored a penalty for Arsenal despite taking two in the past which were both in the UEFA Champions League (Marseille, Bayern Munich).

9 – Mesut Özil’s role model is Zinedine Zidane, it must feel pretty crazy to him when the Arsenal fans sing his song they made up for him which includes them saying “He’s better than Zidane.”

10 – Mesut Özil is very intelligent, he is fluent in four languages which include German, English from his time at Arsenal, Turkish and Spanish which he learned from his time at Real Madrid.

This West Ham Midfielder Has Created More Chances Than Anyone In Europe

West Ham haven’t had much to cheer about this season but here’s a stat that will certainly make the fans smile a little. 

One player who helped West Ham to a European place last season was Dimitri Payet. He took the league by storm and was arguably one of the best players in the Premier League last season. Admittedly he has been a little less effective this season, not scoring as many goals and in particular, his free kicks haven’t been hitting the back of the net.

Some fans have even started to call him a one season wonder, dubbing him ‘Dimitri Quiet’ this season. But is this criticism fair? Statistics suggest that although his goals may have dried up a little, Payet is still as creative as ever and perhaps his teammates are the people letting him down. This statistic from Squawka shows that in Europe’s ‘top 5’ leagues, the West Ham man has created the most chances with a whopping 4o already. Payet is in good company too with Mohammed Salah (39) and Angel Di Maria (37) making up the top three.

The statistics continue to back up Payet. He has an average league rating of 7.65 on WhoScored, that’s more than any other West Ham player. He’s also managed a respectable 4 league assists in 9 league games. He only has one goal but after a long summer playing in the Euros for France, you cannot expect Payet to immediately pick up the same form he showed last season.

Even the very best players suffer a bit of a post-tournament hangover and take a while to click back into gear. I actually think Payet has continued to play well, certainly one of if not West Ham’s best player so far this season. Admittedly that is not saying much because of West Ham’s poor football at the moment, but if Bilic wants to see the best of Payet again he needs to get the players around him performing to a higher level, the club cannot afford to be dependent on one player.

The worry now for West Ham and their fans is that Payet could look elsewhere. The 29-year-old Frenchman will not want to spend the prime years of his career at a club that looks like they have no chance of finishing in the European spots this season. He has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain, so should a club like that come knocking, I cannot see Payet wanting to hang around for much longer should the current climate at the club be sustained.

Club President Confirms Chelsea Have Made Offer For Striker, Names His Price

Although it is only November, the transfer rumours are already in full swing ahead of the January transfer market, and it seems as if Chelsea are already preparing well ahead of January and have an offer prepared for a certain Sampdoria forward.

Massimo Ferrero, the president of Sampdoria said on Muriel to Chelsea (as quoted in Fanta Gazzetta); “Yes, there is an offer, so tell me. But Muriel is not for sale, 35 million (euros) we can talk.”

So, from the president’s comments it seems the striker is available for the right price and Chelsea can get their man if they firm up their interest once the transfer window opens, but of course will have to spend the money Ferrero is demanding.

Chelsea have found top form since Antonio Conte changed the set up of the Chelsea squad, often playing a 4-2-3-1 formation prior the arrival of Conte, they are now playing a 3-4-3 formation which has seen the Blues play some immense football, with speed, aggression and flair in abundance.

With Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Pedro finding excellent form in the new formation. It is difficult to see Muriel coming in and taking one of their positions, but he could certainly add something and we take a look at what he could bring to the club.

The 25-year-old Colombian International has been in fine form for Italian club Sampdoria this season and has gone on to create 1.29 chances per 90 minutes thus far this season which shows he is very efficient going forward. Diego Costa has been one of Europe’s best strikers in the early stages of the season and has created 1.49 chances per 90 this season which puts him just ahead of the Sampdoria man.

Costa, who has been majestic under Conte, has also made 1.21 key passes per 90 minutes this season, which again shows the influence he is making in Chelsea’s attacking flair, again this puts him ahead of Muriel, who managed just 1.18, which is still quite impressive.

The Chelsea man has been in immense form in front of goal, showing signs of his first season in England again this term, scoring 0.84 goals compared to Muriel who has managed just 0.43 per 90. On the topic of goals, Costa also has a much better shot accuracy than the Colombian with 68% and the latter managing 47%.

As the stats show, the Chelsea man is head and shoulders above the Sampdoria striker, which is not a bad thing as the Spanish International is a level above most strikers this season.

But there is a spot for Muriel at Chelsea if he was to sign for the in the winter, summer signing Michy Batshuyai has failed to make an impact at the club since his big money arrival so his position could come under severe pressure if they do pursue the man in their sights. Muriel is also capable of playing in a wide berth or behind the striker.

Of course, the plus side of playing a 3-4-3 would allow Costa, Hazard and target Muriel to all start together which would be very impressive. It is clear to see why Conte is interested in the man who has impressed thus far this season, and with the Blues pushing for the league title he could be the extra piece to push them on over the finish line.

Report: Arsenal Could Make January Bid For Exciting Roma Powerhouse

Arsenal could be making a January bid for a Roma midfielder according to reports in Italy, we take a closer look at the story and the player in question and analyse whether or not he’d be a good fit. 

TuttoMercatoWeb claim an ‘exclusive’ that Arsenal are targeting 22-year-old Paredes and they suggest that they might make an approach in January for the player.

The 22-year-old has burst onto the scene this season, getting himself in the Roma starting XI and his performances have not gone unnoticed, with Arsenal thought to be one of many clubs interested in signing the uncapped Argentinean.

Paredes started his career at Boca Juniors and after several loan spells and 28 appearances for Boca, joined Roma permanently in 2015. It is only this season where he has truly established himself in the team though and he is excelling in a holding midfield role.

With the signing of Granit Xhaka in the summer and Mohammed Elneny in January, Arsenal don’t particularly need another holding midfielder, but as Arsene Wenger has said many times, he will buy a player based on quality and not on position. Also with Arsenal’s conductor Santi Cazorla now 31, could Wenger be eyeing a younger midfielder to take over?

Now Paredes is not of a similar ilk to Cazorla, but he does have the potential to dictate play from deep, something Cazorla has been shoehorned into in the last few seasons. Paredes stands at nearly 6ft tall and plays almost always with the game in front of him. So far this season he has managed an impressive pass accuracy of over 90% and his strong passing is certainly one of his best attributes, but that is not all he has.

Paredes has started 5 Serie A games and 4 Europa League games this season. During the Europa League games he has averaged over 100 passes per game, highlighting his ability to take control of a game deep in midfield.

It’s also worth noting that he is well known for his set pieces and has scored several free kicks in his short career. Like Xhaka, he is also a sucker for a long shot every now and then – so a Xhaka – Paredes duo would certainly add more to Arsenal’s attacking artillery.

So will Arsenal sign Paredes? At this stage it is far too early to say something like that, but I would not be surprised at all to see him on the radar of Arsenal after his start to the season.

I would expect Paredes to stay at Roma until at least the end of the season, but he’s certainly a player that has the right attributes to play for a club like Arsenal. Should Arsenal need a central midfielder at any point in the near future then you can expect to see Paredes’ name pop up more frequently.

Good News? 2 Key Manchester United Strikers Could Miss Arsenal Match

Manchester United already knew they would be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they face Arsenal on Saturday, but there is possibly more bad news on the horizon and it may mean that Jose Mourinho has to completely change his attacking approach. 

According to The Telegraph, United could be without another striker on Saturday after Wayne Rooney withdrew from the England squad with what is described as a ‘minor’ injury, although they note that the player will need to be assessed by his club before a decision is made on whether he will face Arsenal in Saturday’s early kick off.

United haven’t been scoring many this season but against Swansea they appeared to finally hit their rhythm with Zlatan up top, scoring two goals and Rooney on the left, assisting all 3 goals.

The absences of Zlatan and potentially Rooney is of course not good news for Manchester United, but what it does do it represent is a chance for some young blood to play.

Marcus Rashford – a player who burst onto the scene with an excellent brace against Arsenal at Old Trafford last season, he is a young player whose opportunities have been very limited so far this season under Jose Mourinho. When he has featured, it has tended to be on the wings as Zlatan’s presence has restricted his game time through the middle.

There’s also Anthony Martial. A player who can play on the left or through the middle, both positions that Rooney and Zlatan played against Swansea and after the club spent so much money on Martial, it is important they find a way to get the best out of him.

A front three including Rashford and Martial is likely to strike fear into Arsenal’s defenders, probably just as much as the presence of Rooney and Zlatan would. Yes the more experienced duo have been there and done it, but the sheer pace and bravery of players like Rashford make them very hard to play against.

Arsenal are likely to line up with Mustafi and Koscielny at the back, a defensive duo that will be hard to break down no matter who United select as their striker. An area where the home side should be looking to target is down the left hand side. With Hector Bellerin set to miss the game through injury, Arsenal will have a weakened right hand side, and a direct, quick player on the left is likely to be the best approach to take. The Gunners are likely to select Carl Jenkinson, a player who when fully fit is not the best and he’s only played a handful of first team minutes since a long term injury early in the year.

So, could Rooney’s absence actually be a good thing? Allowing United to fully exploit the Gunners weak right hand side with the direct options of Martial and / or Rashford.

Update: 2 Key Manchester United Players Set To Miss Arsenal Match

Manchester United are set to be without two key players for the visit of Arsenal after the international break. 

The club were already aware that they would be missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede picked up a 5th yellow card of the season, but now they have an injury concern of their own.

According to Sky Sports, Chris Smalling has broken his toe in training and the initial prognosis for his injury is 4 weeks. This will come as a big blow to United who will already be without star summer signing Eric Bailly due to injury.

Jose Mourinho appeared to question the pain threshold of both Smalling and Luke Shaw after both didn’t play in the win at Swansea, he said there are players in his squad “for whom a little pain can make a difference”, adding you have to “go to the limit”. This is a questionable public approach to take with his players and it’s certainly not a sustainable one.

But let’s ignore that for a second. Let’s look at how the absentees will affect United on the day. They will come up against an Arsenal side that can be very devastating in attack, although they have been silenced on a few occasions this season. The Gunners do tend however to be most devastating away from home and the match is at Old Trafford. With no Smalling and Bailly United will probably want to give their makeshift defence some protection in midfield, and I’m sure the conservative Mourinho will want to as well.

He could play Paul Pogba as a number 10 which would allow two holding midfielders to protect the back four, these are likely to be Ander Herrera and Maraoune Fellaini, a duo often preferred to Morgan Schneiderlin by Mourinho.

In attack Mourinho has a few options for replacing Zlatan. He could opt for Rashford, a player that made the devastating difference in this fixture last year, or Rooney, a player that played brilliantly against Swansea on the left hand side. A wildcard option is Anthony Martial, who has had to settle for a fringe role under Mourinho so far, but is it his time to shine?

It’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho copes with these two key players unavailable, but he will hope that his good personal record against Arsenal and Manchester United’s great recent home record against the Gunners carries them through this one with a much-needed 3 points.

Manager Not Happy With Chelsea Striker: Does He Have A Future Under Conte?

Bertrand Traore joined Ajax on loan in the summer but has so far scored just 3 goals in 15 appearances and failed to impress the staff at the club.

“His attitude is nothing wrong, but the shape is not good. I know he can do much better that he has shown at Ajax in his early days. But since the last international period, he will never get the level of before. It is important that he gets back to form as soon as possible,” the Ajax manager said, as quoted by Dutch publication Voetbal International.

It is well known that Traore was not happy with being loaned out to Ajax in the first place, with the powerful forward feeling he was ready for first team football at Chelsea – he recently said ‘Youngsters get no chance at Chelsea!’. Conte may have felt that he was not suited to the club initially – but with the tactical shift to a 3-4-3 formation – I think he may be more welcome at the club and with the player struggling in Holland – maybe it would be a good idea to recall him?

A January re-call for the talented youngster could give the Chelsea squad a welcome boost in a busy time for fixtures and with the loan spell clearly not working out, there’s surely no point in keeping him out there? Although his best position is through the middle as a centre forward, I feel he would be a very good squad option in the wide forward roles and with Conte showing more faith in the youngsters than previous managers have at the London club – it makes sense.

It’s true Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi are ahead of him in terms of quality, so first team chances in his favoured role would be limited – but in that wide role for a 3-4-3 he can really use his pace and attacking qualities to hurt team. Because of the back of four behind them, the attacking three do not have to really worry about defensive responsibilities. Capable of playing on the left or the right, I think Traore would get a good amount of chances in this new system.

The fact that he is not performing for Ajax does not mean he is a bad player. It could just be that the environment is not suited to him. At the end of last season he started to adjust to Chelsea and his teammates, only to be, like so many Chelsea youngsters, sent out on loan.

 

Sol Campbell: What I Think Of Arsenal’s Mustafi-Koscielny Partnership

Arsenal’s new defensive partnership of Mustafi and Koscielny has done pretty well so far, but one of Arsenal’s greatest central defenders of all time has had his say on the duo.

Sol Campbell, speaking exclusively to 888sport was asked about what he thought of Arsenal’s new £45million defensive partnership. Here’s what he said:

“I like the mentality between them (Mustafi and Koscielny). They have the right guys in there now who have the willingness to defend and that is key. They’re mobile but calm; they can pass the ball around the back or pick the right ball or find row Z if needed. There is a nice balance between those guys.”

He’s right you know – both Mustafi and Koscielny are very well rounded defenders that are capable of doing everything. Mustafi is a good calm presence in that back four and his passing is very strong, but Koscielny isn’t far behind in that respect. It may have seemed a lot of money, £35million to bring Mustafi to the club – but the way he has settled instantly into a new club and a new league is very promising, particulaly considering he is aged just 24. He already has so much playing experience, at club and international level and you can see that by the way he plays on the pitch.

But Campbell also had praise for his other former clubs defence, Tottenham ahead of the North London Derby on Sunday.

 “The Spurs back four have struck up the right relationships too and Wanyama is in there now making a difference in the centre. The full-backs get back well but it’s down to the opposition to exploit them when they’re open. Because they have a lot of possession there is less opportunity for the opposition to counteract and score”

Whose defence will come out on top on Sunday, or will we see Tottenham involved in another 0-0 draw? Arsenal need to find a way of breaking down the so far, statistically best defence in the league, whilst also making sure they maintain a strong defence and keep a vital clean sheet. Koscielny and Mustafi will have a lot to say about that and if they can keep up performances of recent weeks, bar a few mistakes, then Arsenal can have a lot of trust that their defence will keep Tottenham’s timid attack quiet.

Read the full 888sport interview with Sol Campbell, including how in the groove Sanchez is the man to fire Arsenal to the title

Mourinho: Why Mkhitaryan Is Not Playing For Manchester United

With Manchester United playing so poorly, many are wondering why Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not been playing for the team more. 

The Armenian cost the club more than £20million, and was deemed a bargain at the time considering he was named Bundesliga Player of the Season last year – ahead of the likes of Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski, David Alaba and Aubameyang. His talent was there for all to see last season, with the playmaker managing double figures in both Bundesliga goals and assists. But Mourinho thinks he isn’t good enough for the club yet…

“He has to do more. It’s as simple as that. We have big expectations in the club,” Mourinho said, when asked about Mkhitaryan.

Big expectations? Fair. But a lot of the players are not living up to those expectations and I think it is unfair to single out this new signing for criticism – he’s barely had a chance.

“We have big expectations at this club, lots of players for these positions and he has to play better than Mata, Lingard, Martial – he has to play better than them. It’s as simple as that.” Mourinho continued.

Are those three players playing well? Mata has had some good games this season but you cannot say that the other two have been playing at a high level.

“Every manager wants to win matches, every manager in the world wants to play the players that he thinks can help the team more, and I’m no different.”

It’s a fair comment of course, but not in regards to Mkhitaryan. The midfielder was given 29 minutes in the Fenerbahce 2-1 loss, and in that time Manchester United managed to get a goal back. But he hasn’t had a real chance, with just 1 Premier League start and 3 sub apps – tonight was his first Europa League appearance.

On the other side of things – the likes of Paul Pogba are given chance after chance, without doing anything special and Mourinho has never uttered a bad word about him. At the end of the day Mourinho decided to sign Pogba and Mkhitaryan – but he’s treating one too nicely and one horribly – surely something is going on behind the scenes for this to happen?

Manchester United need productivity and Mkhitaryan is a specialist in that. Last season he created and scored goals for fun – surely Mourinho needs to give him more time in the starting eleven to adjust to the team and English football?

United fans – what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.