Newcastle pose ‘danger’ to Barcelona as Howe ‘closely follows’ defender amid financial issues

Newcastle United are very interested in signing former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen from FC Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

Christensen moved from Stamford Bridge to the Nou Camp last summer after his Blues contract expired.

The 26-year-old signed a four-year contract with the Blaugrana and has impressed in his debut season in Catalonia.

Xavi has plenty of options when it comes to central defenders, but the Danish international has been a regular starter when fit.

He has played 25 matches across all competitions this season while competing for a place with Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde.

There have been plenty of reports saying Barcelona will complete the signing of Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez at the end of the season, however.

Martinez is out of contract in the summer, and given the fact he will be available on a free transfer, it is no surprise to see Barca sniffing around.

The La Liga giants are notably struggling financially and, despite spending big last summer, have mostly been limited to signing players available for nothing.

Christensen was one of four players to join Barca on a free transfer last summer. They also brought in Franck Kessie, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso.

The potential signing of Martinez has cast some doubt over the future of Eric Garcia, and given Barca’s financial problems, no player is safe from being sold to raise funds.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, Newcastle like the look of Christensen.

The player and club are not looking to strike a deal, however, which is a blow to the Magpies.

As mentioned prior, any sale cannot be ruled out, and despite the fact both parties are happy, Newcastle have put this in ‘danger’ and could lodge a transfer offer Barca will struggle to turn down.

Eddie Howe’s side have ‘great investment capacity’ and are ‘closely following’ the Danish defender.

The only way Christensen will leave is if Barca receive a ‘multimillion-dollar offer’, though the club seem to think it is ‘clear’ that offers will come in for the ex-Chelsea player.

Christensen’s representatives have made it clear to the club’s hierarchy that he is very happy in Catalonia.

He is not ‘untouchable’, however, unlike Araujo, who will not be sacrificed upon the arrival of Martinez.

Meanwhile, Kounde is unlikely to be sold, especially with Barca still paying off his transfer from Sevilla last year.

This leaves former Manchester City youngster Garcia, who ‘is not entering Xavi’s plans and the doors could be opened to an exit’.

Unfortunately for Barca, Garcia’s potential departure would bring in a ‘minimal’ transfer fee and ‘would not solve anything’.

Given last year’s Frenkie de Jong saga, ‘an unwanted exit’ cannot be ruled out, the report adds.

READ MORE: Casemiro, Nunez, Zinchenko: Every Premier League club’s best signing of the season

Source link

Mitrovic apologises to referee after ‘regretful’ sending off for Fulham against Man Utd

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has apologised for grabbing referee Chris Kavanagh during his side’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester United.

Manager Marco Silva has also said sorry for his dismissal in his side’s 3-1 quarter-final loss earlier this month and he too regretted his actions.

Mitrovic was shown a straight red card for handling Kavanagh after the referee awarded a penalty and dismissed team-mate Willian for deliberate handball.

The Serbia striker, waiting to learn his punishment after being charged by the Football Association for violent conduct, said his reactions were “wrong” and that he had apologised to Kavanagh.

Silva has been charged with multiple misdemeanours, including improper conduct, improper behaviour and abusing match officials.

Mitrovic said he had had time to reflect “a very emotional” match while on international duty.

He said: “On a personal level, I regret my actions that led to me being sent off. I allowed my frustration to get the better of me, and how I reacted was wrong.

“I was trying to get the referee’s attention, but I appreciate that I should not have put my hands on him and I understand why he showed me a red card, my first in-game sending off for Fulham and my first since the 2015-16 season.”

The Football Association have since announced the standard punishment for Mitrovic’s dismissal – a three-game ban – would be “clearly insufficient”.

Mitrovic added: “I have accepted the three-match ban for my red card, I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise, and I have volunteered to accept a club fine.

“I now want to do what I can to put this incident behind me and get back to helping my teammates on the pitch as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, I would like to reiterate my regret that this happened. I have already said sorry to my team-mates, but I would also like to apologise to the Fulham fans, particularly those who travelled to Old Trafford to support us and who did not stop singing all game. I hope to be back soon and repay their faith and support.”

Silva, who has also been separately charged for comments made about Kavanagh after his side’s meltdown at Old Trafford, said he should have handled “a very difficult moment” better.

He added: “I regret what happened and I have spoken to Chris Kavanagh to apologise.

“He knows that I respect him and the job he has to do. Unfortunately, we did not see eye-to-eye on the day, but I recognise that he is one of the top referees in this country and I know that, when our paths cross again, there will be mutual respect between us.

“I am sorry that I was not on the pitch to try to lead the team to what could have been an historic FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but I am thankful for all the support I have received from Fulham fans over the last few days.”

READ MORE: Premier League players older than their managers: Spurs could repeat AVB trick with Nagelsmann

Source link

Rashford publicly blasts ‘non-story’ as journalist makes contract claim that is ‘complete nonsense’

Marcus Rashford is not a happy bunny. The Manchester United forward has reacted to reports he wants a new contract worth £500,000 per week.

Rashford is enjoying a wonderful 2022-23 campaign, but his future at Old Trafford is in doubt.

The Premier League club have activated the option to extend the player’s contract until the summer of 2024 and are working on agreeing a new long-term deal.

After a difficult 21-22 season, Rashford was linked with a move elsewhere, with French champions Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona among those reportedly interested in signing the England international.

Multiple reports have claimed that Rashford has rejected multiple extensions from United, which is quite surprising given the fact he has spent his entire career at Old Trafford and is now playing the best football he has ever played.

On Wednesday, Daily Star chief sports writer Jeremy Cross reported that the 25-year-old ‘hopes’ his new Red Devils contract will include a whopping £500,000 weekly salary…’ahead of Harry Kane talks’. Mediawatch might want to take a look at this one.

Negotiations over the sale of the club have left Rashford ‘in limbo’, but the Englishman is adamant he will be the highest earner in the Premier League.

Kane’s name was in the title for this little bit at the end:

‘The financial implications of signing Harry Kane this summer could also impact on how much United are willing to offer Rashford.’

Rashford has previously turned down a contract worth £400k-a-week, the report adds.

His form this season means he is worth at least an extra £100k, apparently.

The 25-year-old has taken to social media to voice his displeasure at this story.

A Manchester United news account posted the story on Twitter, tagging Jeremy Cross in the tweet.

Rashford responded to the now-deleted tweet, claiming that it is ‘complete nonsense’ and has emphasised that he is focusing on what will happen on the pitch between now and the end of the season.

He wrote: ‘Just before this one starts to do the rounds! It’s complete nonsense.

‘The club and make self have been respectful to one another, and that’s how it will remain. My focus is purely on finishing as well as possible in the league and winning trophies.’

Rashford also posted on his Instagram story. He said: ‘Another non-story flying around about my advisers and me making demands… It’s complete nonsense!

‘My aim and the club aim are to finish as high as possible in the league and try to win a cup or two.’

Fair play, Mr. Rashford. Stand up for yourself.

Rashford was called up for England duty this month but did not meet up with his international teammates due to injury.

He will hopefully be available for the Red Devils’ trip to St James’ Park this weekend as they prepare to face Newcastle United in a rematch of the Carabao Cup final.

READ MORE: Man Utd forward Mason Greenwood has not been found ‘innocent’; that’s important

Source link

Arsenal, Tottenham learn ‘minimum’ asking price for 12-goal striker target who ‘can go very far’

Montpellier manager – Michel Der Zakarian – has warned Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur that Elye Wahi will “cost a lot” if they try to sign him this summer.

The 20-year-old has established himself as a regular for the Ligue 1 side over the past couple of seasons.

He scored ten goals in 36 appearances across all competitions last term and he has already surpassed that tally this campaign. He has 12 goals in 24 outings in Ligue 1 in 2022/23.

His recent form has led to reports linking him with a move to the Premier League. It was claimed during January that Arsenal were ‘plotting an incredible last-minute offer’ for the forward, who has ‘aroused’ Tottenham Hotspur.

The attacker is under contract until 2025 so Montpellier are able to demand a sizable fee for Wahi if clubs move for him during this summer’s transfer window.

Der Zakarian has indicated that Wahi is likely to cost around €25-30m if he leaves Montpellier later this year.

“The kid, he’s 20, and full of talent,” Der Zakarian told France Bleu (quotes via The Evening Standard). “That costs a lot. For me, [he’s worth a] minimum €25-30m. When you see the TV rights over there, England can buy him. It’s easier for them.

“He needs to run a lot more, always be moving and be in a position to repeat the efforts. He’s a sprinter, he goes really quickly, but sometimes he’s knackered after 45 minutes. He needs to work a bit better, that’s training every day. If he wants to play in a big club and play with great players, he needs to work hard.

“He can go very far, at a very, very good level. Scoring goals like he does, you need to put them in the back of the net. What he does is good for his age, but I think he can do even better.”

Bixente Lizarazu, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, thinks Arsenal or Borussia Dortmund “would be a good choice” for Wahi.

“He has great athletic qualities, he’s really quick, really sharp, very good in front of goal. If he makes the right choices, when I hear Arsenal or Dortmund, I think that it would be a good choice for a young player to go to those clubs, to progress some more,” Lizarazu said.

“Even if with Montpellier, he’s already improved enormously. It’s rare to see such young and precocious forwards, but that’s the case these days, and there’s a next level to go get, abroad, probably.”

READ MORE: Arsenal have the best player in the WORLD but also grave concerns over next season’s kit


Source link

Tottenham manager target opens door to move by making major admission over ‘special’ league

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has openly admitted that he “would like” to work in the Premier League amid reports linking him with Tottenham.

Spurs are looking for a new permanent manager ahead of next season as they parted company with Antonio Conte last week.

The 52-year-old has been out of work since the end of last year. He stepped down from his position as Spain head coach after his side exited the World Cup in the round of 16.

The Spaniard has previously had spells at Barcelona and Roma but he is yet to manage in the Premier League.

He has attracted interest from Man Utd in the past but he is now understood to be among the leading candidates to replace Conte at Tottenham.

Enrique has now indicated that he “would like to work” in the Premier League.

“I have a special attraction to England, I would like to go to England to work,” Enrique told Spanish radio station SER Deportivos Gijon (quotes via The Express).

“I also follow the big teams in Spain. It is an interesting league. Clearly, I am influenced because I would like to work there.

“But I am not going to deceive you, I am not going to go to any team. I would like to go to a team that can do important things and there are a lot of world-class coaches who want to go to the Premier, so I’m under no illusions. But that doesn’t mean I won’t train in Spain.”

Ex-Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann is another manager being linked with Tottenham.

Jamie O’Hara believes Nagelsmann may struggle to “turn the fortunes of the club around”.

“The only problem you’ve got if you appoint Nagelsmann is the philosophy and mentality of the club is still the same, because they’ve had top managers in the past – Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino – and they didn’t win trophies. Something’s got to change at the actual football club otherwise it doesn’t matter what manager you bring in, you’re not going to get the results that you want,” O’Hara told Grosvenor Sport.

“Daniel Levy needs to get the right people in the club with players, recruitment and the manager. The whole mentality of the club has got to be better. Spurs sign too many average players, give them long-term contracts and they aren’t worthy of them or good enough.

“If you want Nagelsmann or Pochettino to come in, it’ll be a tough ask for them to turn the fortunes of the club around. But they are still top managers, so they’ll need to get the best out of the players and get it right. Spurs aren’t a million miles away from it.”

READ MORE: Nagelsmann isn’t ‘available’ just because he’s out of a job – surely he can do better than Spurs?


Source link

Jordan doubts Tottenham fans will shed ‘tears’ over Paratici ban as he makes ‘rank amateurism’ claim

Simon Jordan doubts there will be “a lot of tears lost” from Tottenham fans over FIFA’s decision to issue a worldwide ban to Fabio Paratici.

The Spurs managing director of football was banned from Italian football for 30 months earlier this year, along with other former and current Juventus senior executives, after the Serie A giants were found guilty of false accounting and docked 15 points.

But FIFA announced on Wednesday that Paratici’s ban will now apply worldwide, meaning he will, at the very least, have to put his role at Tottenham on hold.

The Italian was set to oversee their appointment of a new manager after Tottenham made the decision to part company with Antonio Conte over the weekend.

But Jordan doesn’t think Paratici will be missed at Spurs, the former Crystal Palace chairman told talkSPORT: “I would image if you look at the observations from the fans about some of the players he’s acquired, if you look at the fact he was responsible for Nuno Espirito Santo coming in, or advocated for him, clearly he advocated for Antonio Conte.

“None of those things have worked out very well, I would suspect there will not be a lot of tears lost.

“I’m not entirely sure how well he’s done his job. You’ve got two managerial appointments that haven’t been very good, and you’ve got some players in there who people think are a waste of time.”

When asked if Paratici would ever be able to resume his role at Tottenham, Jordan added: “I doubt it. For the pure simple fact that after two and a half years the thing would have moved on, and if it hasn’t moved on then what is going on?

“But you never know – the rank amateurism we see in every sport just takes your breath away, so it wouldn’t surprise me that actually they didn’t think he was going to be banned worldwide and he did an interview and all of a sudden things have blown up in their face. How does that work, then?

“It’s a very good thing it’s been handed down [Paratici’s ban] because if you breach a football governance in one country, we argue constantly for this unification so there is not one place where rules are different, but this is in boardrooms.

“If you behave in a certain way and you’re consequenced for financial irregularities in Italian football, then you should be banned!

“I certainly think [Tottenham will now look to replace him] and if you don’t then can you imagine the furore?

“The accusation is that every player is signed by Daniel Levy, and I think that’s a ridiculous observation, so don’t give them that by not appointing a director of football, otherwise you really will hear that.”

When asked if it would be wise for Spurs to appoint a new director of football before they decide on a new manager, Jordan replied: “Yeah I think so.

“I think a director of football should be in place to help Daniel facilitate the solution to the problem he’s got, which is the first-team manager.”

READ MORE: Nagelsmann isn’t ‘available’ just because he’s out of a job – surely he can do better than Spurs?


Source link

Arsenal ‘confident’ of beating Chelsea to sign £80m star; two factors give Arteta’s side the ‘edge’

Arsenal are reportedly ‘growing confident’ that they will beat the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd to sign Declan Rice from West Ham United this summer.

The Gunners have been in the market for a new midfielder throughout this season. This comes after they failed to sign Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa during last summer’s transfer window.

Arsenal then unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Brighton and Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo in January.

It has since been reported that Arsenal are turning their attention to Rice, who is set to leave West Ham at the end of this season.

Recent reports have claimed that West Ham are resigned to him going this summer following their decline in the Premier League.

The Hammers are understood to value Rice at around £80m and he is among Arsenal’s main targets ahead of this summer’s window.

The Evening Standard are now reporting that ‘there is growing confidence’ at Arsenal that ‘they can win the race to sign him amid competition from Chelsea and both Manchester clubs’.

Rice is ‘viewed as the ideal addition’ as he ‘suits Arsenal’s recruitment model’. There is an ‘acceptance’ that he will leave West Ham as he ‘has no plans’ to sign a new contract before his current deal expires in 2025.

It is suggested that Arsenal ‘believe their charge towards the title and the lure of Champions League football gives them the edge over rivals for their top transfer target’. The report adds.

‘The Gunners wanted to sign a midfielder in January and Rice was considered, but West Ham insisted he was not for sale at any price and he would have been reluctant to leave the club in the middle of a relegation battle.

‘There has been no direct talk between the clubs since, with Rice focused on keeping West Ham in the Premier League and winning the Europa Conference League, but Arsenal’s hand is stronger now, with the club eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with 10 games to go and Champions League qualification all but secured.

‘That makes the Gunners an attractive project to Rice and they hope it gives them the edge over their rivals, while Arteta’s record in developing young players adds to their pulling power.

‘Chelsea are admirers of Rice and it has long been thought he would return to his boyhood club after being released by their academy at the age of 14. The midfielder also enjoys a close relationship with Mason Mount.

‘Chelsea, however, are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League and Mount’s future is uncertain at Stamford Bridge.’

READ MORE: Arsenal have the best player in the WORLD but also grave concerns over next season’s kit


Source link

McManaman gives two ways Liverpool will ‘lose’ Bellingham race as Klopp considers ‘director’ alternative

Steve McManaman thinks Liverpool will “lose” out on signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham if it comes down to a bidding war.

The Reds are in the market for at least one new midfielder in the summer transfer window after a disappointing Premier League campaign.

Liverpool are currently sixth in the Premier League with 12 matches left to play and they could still finish in the top four – but it’s a fall from pre-season predictions that they would challenge for the title.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were extremely close to sealing an unprecedented Quadruple last season but they had to settle for League Cup and FA Cup glory after narrowly missing out on the Premier League and Champions League.

And their midfield has taken most of the blame for some of the Reds’ poor performances this season with many fans and pundits claiming they need a number of new signings in that area.

Bellingham has been linked with Liverpool for many months with reports claiming they are set to battle Real Madrid and Manchester City for his signature this summer.

The Athletic journalist David Ornstein recently poured cold water on their chances of landing the England international but CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs said earlier today that Liverpool have “absolutely not given up”.

But McManaman thinks Liverpool have a fight on their hands to convince Bellingham to join, especially if they can’t provide him with Champions League football.

McManaman told Betfred: “To be very honest, I think it’ll all come down to whether Liverpool qualifies for the Champions League next year. Liverpool have been knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Real Madrid, so as a result of that, they’ve now lost money by not progressing further.

“Failing to reach the semi-finals or final of the Champions League could cost a club £20-£30 million. If they don’t qualify for next year’s Champions League, then there’s another £50 million in prize money that won’t be available to them and that’s an issue.

“If that was to happen, then the fact that they won’t be playing in the Champions League will be another big problem in regards to acquiring a player of Jude’s calibre because up until now, he’s been playing in the competition every single year for Borussia Dortmund.

“There’s no way that Jude will want to go and play in the Europa League because he will want to test himself against the best. Liverpool have to be in the Champions League if they want to acquire the calibre of players that they’re after.

“If it gets into a bidding war for Jude, then I believe that Liverpool will lose. Manchester City and Real Madrid will have more money than Liverpool, so Jude would have to really want to come to Liverpool if he’s going to knock back the other teams that want him.

“There’s so many ifs and buts, but what’s paramount is that you have to be in the Champions League to get these types of players. If Liverpool aren’t in it next season, then I don’t see Jude coming at all.”

READ MORE: Van Dijk nonchalance leads to extremes as arrogance confused with decline


Source link

The 8 players sold by Antonio Conte and how they fared since

Antonio Conte lasted 17 months as Tottenham manager – but what kind of legacy will he leave behind at the club?

The Italian tactician had a somewhat mixed record with the 12 players he signed for the club, but what about the players that departed under his watch? Will Spurs have any regrets about the players that they let go?

We’ve taken a look back at the eight players that have been sold or released whilst Conte was in charge and how they’ve fared since leaving.

We’ve not included players loaned out, such as Djed Spence, Tanguy Ndombele, Joe Rodon and Sergio Reguilon. We’ve also only included players that made first-team appearances for the club, rather than academy prospects released or moved on.

Dele Alli

Where to start with this one?

Once one of the brightest prospects in English football, Alli’s stock waned so much at Tottenham that they were happy to let him go for free.

He joined Everton midway through the 2021-22 season but failed to make much of an impact in their battle against the drop and has since been loaned out to Turkish Super Lig giants Besiktas.

There are conflicting reports about the role the former England international has to play in the remainder of Besiktas’ campaign, with some outlets suggested he’s been ousted from the squad entirely.

Either way, the 26-year-old’s struggled to rekindle his career in the Turkish capital and it appears increasingly unlikely they’ll be taking up the option to sign him permanently.

He did give us this moment though.

READ: Dele Alli’s gloriously sh*t goal for Besiktas deserves its own statue

Dilan Markanday

Markanday pretty much falls into the “peripheral academy player” bracket, but he did make one senior appearance for his boyhood club as a substitute in a 1-0 Europa Conference League defeat to Vitesse.

Not only that but he made history as the first British-Asian player to play for Tottenham and fifth to play for a Premier League club.

“For me, it was an unbelievable feeling to make my debut for this great club, a moment I’ve been working towards and dreaming about since I was a young boy,” he told the official Spurs website.

The 21-year-old striker had to move on to find further opportunities, however. He signed for Blackburn Rovers in January 2022 and has since made six appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals in the League Cup.

He’s currently out on loan at Scottish side Aberdeen.

J’Neil Bennett

Same deal as above. Bennett progressed through the Spurs academy since 2017, and he was handed his first-team debut in a Europa Conference League defeat to Pacos de Ferreira.

No further opportunities were forthcoming and after half a season out on loan at Crewe Alexandra, he was released at the end of last season.

The 21-year-old winger since went on trial at Brentford B and earned himself a one-year contract but he’s yet to make an appearance for Thomas Frank’s Bees.

Marcel Lavinier

A familiar tale, Lavinier’s one Spurs appearance came back in February 2021 as a late substitute in a 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger AC.

The left-back was let go last summer and has since joined Swindon Town, notching two goals in 16 League Two appearances this season.

Steven Bergwijn 

The Dutch international’s insanely late brace at Leicester was probably one of the highlights of the Conte reign, but he never did quite enough to nail down a regular place in the Italian’s favoured XI.

Having joined Spurs from PSV, he then controversially returned to the Netherlands to sign for their rivals Ajax.

The forward has nine goals and five assists in the league this season, but Ajax’s grip at the top of the Eredivisie has loosened following Erik ten Hag’s departure and Feyenoord look set to beat them to the title.

Cameron Carter-Vickers

Formerly a perennial loanee, going out on loan to no fewer than seven clubs while on Tottenham’s books, it never looked as though US international Carter-Vickers was ever going to break through and stake his claim at his parent club.

He never made a Premier League appearance for Spurs and his only opportunities came in the cup competitions.

However, the defender made a big step-up during his final loan away, playing a vital role as Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic took the Scottish title back from Rangers.

Carter-Vickers then joined the Bhoys for a reported £6million fee on a four-year deal. He’s been an ever-present this season as they look set to retain their title.

Jack Clarke

Tottenham’s first signing in over 500 days back in the summer of 2019, highly-rated youngster Clarke joined from Leeds United for a fee of up to £10million.

However, he didn’t get minutes when loaned back to Leeds and never really kicked on in subsequent loans at Stoke and QPR. He spent some time with his parent club but featured more for their Under-21s than the first team.

It took a loan to Sunderland to get Clarke’s career back on track. He played a key role in the Black Cats’ playoff promotion from League One last term and subsequently signed permanently for an undisclosed fee likely to be a small fraction of what Spurs originally bought him for.

However, with a settled role in Wearside, Clarke seems to have found his place. He’s been one of Sunderland’s most outstanding players this season alongside Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo. The 22-year-old has seven goals and six assists in the Championship for Tony Mowbray’s side this season.

Matt Doherty

A penny for his thoughts.

The Republic of Ireland international was originally supposed to go out on loan to Atletico Madrid, but Spurs hit their loanee limit on deadline day so they allowed him to terminate his contract instead.

He’s joined the Spanish giants on a short-term deal and doesn’t look likely to stick around beyond the summer, given his lack of opportunities – one 12-minute cameo to date – under Diego Simeone.

But Doherty doesn’t have any regrets and is relishing the experience.

“I have learned to deal with it,” he said whilst away on international duty.

“I am at Atleti until the end of the season and I am using it as a learning experience. I am improving by training with world-class players every day. I am using the six months I have there to try to improve, to try to better understand the game, and improve in general.”

A Premier League return this summer looks likely.

READ NEXT: The Premier League table since Tottenham hired Antonio Conte

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every manager to take charge of Tottenham in the Prem?

Source link

Adams claims Arteta ‘needs’ six Arsenal stars ‘playing every week’ as other options are ‘bang average’

Club legend Tony Adams has argued that six Arsenal stars ‘need to play every week’ if they are going to maintain their push for the Premier League title.

The Gunners have surpassed expectations this season after they narrowly missed out on a place in the top four in 2021/22.

Mikel Arteta’s side are mounting a serious challenge for the Premier League title as they are currently eight points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand and face Liverpool in the early kick-off this Saturday. Arsenal meanwhile face Leeds United later in the day.

Several of Arsenal’s players have stepped up this season as Arteta is getting the maximum out of the players at his disposal.

But following Arsenal’s exit from the Europa League at the hands of Sporting Lisbon, Adams has warned his former club that Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko all must play ‘every week’.

‘We all saw what happened when Mikel rested a couple of his big boys in the Europa League the other week,’ Adams wrote for The Sun.

‘The back-up players looked bang average and were played off the park by Sporting Lisbon.

‘At the moment they need Bukayo, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Oleks Zinchenko playing every week because they have a team that almost picks itself.

‘But I’m sure they’ll give Bukayo that hefty new contract to keep him at the Emirates because they know he is irreplaceable.

‘If there’s a better player in world football at the moment, someone who both scores and makes goals, the only one I can think of is Lionel Messi.

‘Bukayo is absolutely on fire and the reason Arsenal are top of the table.

‘Erling Haaland might be scoring hundreds of goals for Manchester City and Marcus Rashford is also having a phenomenal season for United.

‘But Bukayo is, hands down, the Footballer of the Year because he was England’s best player at the World Cup and he’s been the best player for the team eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.”

Arteta has admitted he has been taken aback by the consistency Saka has shown for Arsenal this season.

“First of all, I think you have to recognise what he’s been doing. The consistency he’s shown at his age and at this level is something rare to see. He’s taken it with normality,” Arteta said.

“If you ask me if he has room for improvement, I would say: ‘Yes – a lot.’ He’s never satisfied, he always wants more and he can still do a lot of things better and more efficiently.

“But we are really pleased to have him.”

READ MORE: Casemiro, Nunez, Zinchenko… Every Premier League club’s best signing of the season


Source link