Gossip: N’Zonzi a Xhaka replacement? Mkhitaryan off

Date published: Monday 4th December 2017 8:24

Since recovering from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Liverpool last month, Sevilla have been on a roll. They have won their next three games, rising to fifth, level on points with Real Madrid.

The one victim of this run of form has been Steven N’Zonzi. The French midfielder was substituted at half-time of the dramatic Liverpool game, and has been left out of the matchday squad ever since. An argument with manager Eduardo Berizzo has left him in the cold.

Having impressed at Stoke previously, the 28-year-old is sure to attract Premier League interest. And the Daily Mirror report just that, linking him with a £35million move to Arsenal.

It is very much joining the dots. The report comes from Spanish newspaper AS, who claim that formerly interested clubs could be sniffing around once more. Arsenal have been interested before, and his release clause is £35m. A ‘quick sale’ could be on the cards, and they even report that N’Zonzi is ‘capable of playing the holding role alongside or instead of Granit Xhaka’.

‘Instead of’, eh? Even 16 Conclusions did notice that Xhaka was completely out of place against Manchester United…

For what it’s worth, the initial AS report makes no mention of N’Zonzi replacing Xhaka. That’s a bit of a big throwaway line to include from the Mirror, that.


Sticking with the matters at the Emirates, and N’Zonzi’s compatriot Olivier Giroud is once again complaining about a lack of chances at Arsenal. Quite what he expected when he already wasn’t first choice before the club signed Alexandre Lacazette in the summer, no-one knows.

Giroud has started seven games in all competitions this season, but those have only come in the Europa League and Carabao Cup. He has scored five goals in 20 games, and the French national team are worried.

Their assistant manager, Guy Stephan, says that “he is not getting enough playing time,” and “he has to find a solution in the coming weeks”.

That sounds an awful lot like ‘leave if you want to play in the World Cup, buddy’.


Time to complete the hat-trick of players who have fallen out of favour. We go to Manchester United, where Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being shown up by Messi Lingard.

The Armenian is reported to be already battling for his future despite starting the season in blistering form. The situation has deteriorated so suddenly that the Daily Star Sunday (yes, we know) have touted a potential return to Borussia Dortmund. Understandably, the Bundesliga club would be eager.

Perhaps they would appreciate him more than Paul Scholes does.


Manager Antonio Conte has told the Chelsea board to sort out new contracts for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 25, and attacking midfielder Eden Hazard, 26, before they go to the World Cup with Belgium… Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, 23, could return to Anderlecht in January as his frustration at the club continues… Everton, West Ham and Swansea are set to compete for the signing of Augsburg defender Daniel Opare, 27, in January… Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in signing Dani Ceballos. The 21-year-old midfielder is unhappy at Real Madrid.

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