ARSENAL’S JANUARY BUSINESS
“We will come back for him,” was the message Arsene Wenger sent in early January. Arsenal had seen a £92million offer for Thomas Lemar accepted by Monaco, but it was too late on transfer deadline day to push the deal through. The Arsenal manager said that Lemar had rejected the club. Then he said that he had not, he just decided to stay at Monaco. Same thing, pal.
The only reason the above quote is relevant in early November is that, with the January transfer window looming, attention has predictably turned to who Arsenal might sign this winter. The English press can only go so long without their delicious transfer stories.
Wenger was asked about Lemar in his press conference on Wednesday ahead of Europa League action against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday, and had the following to say:
“No, at the moment I have told you I have a big squad and the problem for me is to keep everyone together until the end of the season. Do we go for the transfer market in January? I don’t know yet.”
The Frenchman was then asked about a move for Riyad Mahrez, to which the answer was a little more succinct:
More as we get it.
That doesn’t mean Arsenal won’t be busy in the coming months, mind you. According to French website Foot Mercato, the Gunners are considering a move for Charly Musonda of Chelsea.
The claim is that Musonda has informed the Blues that he wishes to leave in January, and not on loan. His lack of regular games at Stamford Bridge is described as ‘a persistent frustration’, and ‘a close friend of the player’ told Foot Mercato the following:
“Charly has informed Chelsea that he will not extend, regardless of the proposal and that he will seek to leave the club in January. He believes it is time for him to play football regularly and sees no hope of having much more play time than currently, and to have a big role with Chelsea.”
To that end, Arsenal are interested. They ‘would be ready to make a firm transfer offer’ for a player ‘who has ants in the legs’.
God, I love Google Translate.
Over to Plaza Deportiva now, which sounds like a lovely hotel somewhere in Spain. In reality it is a football website, and has news on Andreas Pereira’s Manchester United future.
Pereira joined Valencia on loan in September, freeing up space in the United squad for Scott McTominay. Jose Mourinho wasn’t a fan of the Brazilian’s decision – ‘The Portuguese wanted to keep the end as an alternative of guarantees in his ‘wardrobe bottom” – but Pereira insisted.
Fortunately for the midfielder, both he and Valencia are faring pretty well. He has started four La Liga games, scoring one goal and assisting a further two, and Valencia are second behind only Barcelona.
According to Plaza Deportiva, he ‘is offering a level that Manchester United likes’, and they are considering recalling him in January. Pereira ‘has been growing gradually’ in Spain, and United have been impressed.
AND THE REST
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte retains the support of the board despite Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at Roma… Everton are ready to pay the £2.5m release clause in Burnley manager Sean Dyche’s contract… Nuno Espirito Santo is considering an offer to take over at Everton following the sacking of Ronald Koeman, but is inclined to stay at Wolverhampton Wanderers… Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist is a contender to take charge of Sunderland following the sacking of Simon Grayson… Gremio’s 24-year-old attacker Luan, who is a target for Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal, has signed a contract extension to stay in his native Brazil until 2020… Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, feature on a six-man shortlist as possible replacements for Unai Emery at Paris St-Germain… Barcelona are hoping to sign striker Timo Werner, 21, and defender Dayot Upamecano, 19, from RB Leipzig.