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Arsenal

Arsenal star Kieran Tierney snubs Virgil van Dijk and Mesut Ozil with Gabriel Jesus claim

Even though he is still young in football years, Kieran Tierney has played alongside some stellar names. The Scotsman played alongside Virgil van Dijk on a couple of occasions at Celtic, while at Arsenal he’s been team mates with Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, it’s a current Gunners star who Tierney believes is the best player he’s ever played with. With Arsenal performing so well in the Premier League and in Europe, the 25-year-old has plenty of names to choose from out of the current crop of players.

Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard could all be candidates for the best player Tierney has played with – but the Scotsman believes Gabriel Jesus takes the crown. The former Manchester City striker has been a revelation for Arsenal since joining the club in the summer.

Jesus has directly contributed to nine goals in 10 league appearances for the Gunners, with Tierney stating that his experience, inner-drive and winning mentality sets him apart from the rest.

“He’s amazing, honestly he’s one of the best if not the best I’ve played with and in training as well,” said Tierney. “He adds so much to us. He has so much experience as well.

“He is still young but he has been there and done it, he has won the league and knows what it takes. So to have someone like that come into your changing room is amazing for us.

“He just has this inner-drive and hunger. He wants to win everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re playing, even if it’s head tennis in training, he is fighting for every point, and that’s the kind of mentality you have to have to win stuff as well.”

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Arsenal

Ronaldinho and Marco van Basten both think Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is the third-best young player in the world

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka finished eighth in the Kopa trophy rankings this week, but football legends Ronaldinho, Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit all think he’s the third-best young player in the world.

The Kopa trophy is like a Ballon d’Or for younger players. France Football presents the award for the best-performing footballer in the world under the age of 21. Saka was in contention to win it this year, but he finished eighth.

France Football asked all the previous winners of the Ballon d’Or to name who they think are the top three young players in the world. Spanish outlet Sport has revealed the picks of 19 such icons of the game.

A majority of them went for eventual winner Gavi as their number-one pick, while the likes of Jamal Musiala, Eduardo Camavinga and Jude Bellingham were other popular choices.

Three football icons – Ronaldinho, Van Basten and Gullit – seem to be keeping a close eye on Premier League leaders Arsenal and their star youngster, Saka.

All three previous winners of the Ballon d’Or named the Arsenal 21-year-old third on their list, which means they believe Saka is the third-best young player in the whole world at the moment.

That is an incredible compliment for the Arsenal number seven, and it should give him a lot of confidence going forward.

Where Saka ranks among the most exciting young players in the world will spark a few debates, but the Arsenal star is definitely up there.

The 21-year-old has scored five goals and provided four assists in his last nine games in all competitions. Many felt he had a slow start to the season, but his performances recently have been phenomenal.

Arsenal announced yesterday that Gabriel Magalhaes has signed a new contract. Now, Edu and Mikel Arteta have to convince Saka to do the same as they just cannot lose him.

The Gunners take on Southampton tomorrow and Saka is almost guaranteed to start.

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Arsenal

Arsenal’s slip-up at Southampton has shown Mikel Arteta exact lineup change he must make

As Arsenal grow stronger in numbers and quality, it’s a cold reality for some Gunners players that their time in the starting XI will soon be up.

After 16 games, of which Arsenal have failed to win just two, Mikel Arteta is finding more and more out about his team, who’d won their last eight. On Sunday, the Gunners slumped to their first draw of the season, as they were held by Southampton at St Mary’s.

Arteta’s side looked sapped of energy in the closing stages following a 65th-minute equaliser by Stuart Armstrong, save for one player: Kieran Tierney. Brought on as a substitute for the fourth Premier League game running, the Scottish left-back injected guile and direction to his side, almost salvaging them a draw.

Tierney’s pace on the left flank – as it so often does – conjured up a chance for Martin Odegaard, who slammed home a left-footed finish which looked to have won Arsenal the game in the dying embers. Unfortunately for them, the ball had narrowly run out of play before Tierney delivered his cut-back, but it was a sign of how much more dangerous the Gunners can be with him on the pitch.

In his place for the aforementioned four league matches has been Takehiro Tomiyasu, who since his arrival from Bologna last August, has been a solid servant to Arteta’s team. But until their seventh fixture, the 23-year-old had been restricted to brief cameos from the bench, with either Tierney or new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko getting the nod at left-back.

Arteta evidently believed that he could upgrade Tomiyasu this season having made the right-back spot his own last term on his preferred flank. Now with Benjamin White excelling there – demonstrated by his superb assist for Granit Xhaka at St Mary’s – there are few who’d argue Tomiyasu’s case to start over Tierney or White when Nottingham Forest come to the Emirates this Sunday.

Arteta can keep Tomiyasu ticking over in the Europa League, with Arsenal already through to the knockout stages ahead of a trip to PSV Eindhoven on Thursday. As for Tierney, the time is now for the ex- Celtic star to remind the Gunners what they’ve been missing.

While he may not be as defensively sound as the sturdy Japan international, Tierney’s attacking ability trumps his teammate, and a fixture like Forest at home calls for a forward-thinking team selection. But if the 25-year-old still doesn’t get his chance, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has already told him exactly what to do.

“As a player, you’ve got to wait for your opportunity, and the one thing that Kieran Tierney has got to worry about is that Tomiyasu has played the last two league games ahead of him on that left-hand side,” Campbell told Ladbrokes. “I could understand it against Liverpool; that decision made sense to me because the right-footed left-back really helped in keeping Mohamed Salah quiet and stopped him from coming inside as he so often does.”

“But I can’t answer that question as to why Tomiyasu started ahead of Tierney against Leeds [last] the weekend. You might say it was a reward or recognition for the job he did against Liverpool, but there’s been a Europa League game since then, and Tierney played in that.

“What’s the message that’s going to Kieran Tierney at the moment? As a player you want to feel as though you’re battling for your position; now is the time for Tierney to stand up and fight for his spot, and prove he’s the right man. I’d say watch this space because it’s a really intriguing battle to watch.”

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Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey proven right with Mikel Arteta and Diego Simeone verdict

Thomas Partey has worked under a serial winner in Diego Simeone. The pair worked together for five years at Atletico Madrid, before Partey left in 2020 to join Arsenal.

For all his critics over his style of play and pragmatism, Simeone has had wonderful success at Atletico, helping the La Liga club to punch above their weight. Under his management at Atletico, Partey won La Liga, the Europa League and a UEFA Super Cup in a three year spell.

On top of winning three major trophies, the Ghanaian midfielder also made a Champions League final under Simeone. His nous and experience of winning big accolades was no doubt a big factor as to why Arsenal worked hard to bring him to the club.

Some Gunners fans would have raised their eyebrows last yea when Partey compared Mikel Arteta to Simeone, claiming that they shared the same mentality. However, with Arsenal top of the Premier League and easing through to the knockout stages of the Europa League – Partey is being proven right.

“I think both have the same mentality, which is to win, both want to have control,” he told Marca last February. The comparison came at a time where Arsenal were sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League table – and Arteta’s ‘winning mentality’ wasn’t particularly evident.

However, even though it’s taken some time, the Arsenal head coach is beginning to show that Simeone-like mentality that Partey praised. Both managers have very different processes – with Simeone’s game about sucking up pressure and hitting teams on the counter, while Arteta’s is about rotations and fluidity.

They couldn’t be much different in terms of their tactical approach, but as Partey called last year, a winning mentality is something they share.

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Arsenal

Arsene Wenger refusing invitation to see his new Arsenal statue unveiled as ex-boss is too ‘bruised’ by sacking

Former Arsenal chief David Dein is trying to talk “bruised” Arsene Wenger into coming back to the club to see his statue unveiled.

The creation of an artistic tribute to ex-manager Wenger is at an advanced stage.

But Dein, who used to be Gunners vice-chairman, claims the Frenchman is yet to give the green light to a ceremony because he is still upset by the way he was forced out in 2018.

Dein told fans at an Arsenal Supporters’ Trust event: “Rather like myself, he is bruised. I don’t think he was treated well.

“I think he is still smarting from that. He was never really given the opportunity to discuss an alternative role at the club.

“That caused friction. There was also interference from board members in what he was doing.

“He had a difficult time. I do hope that he does come back.

“It’s no secret, there is a statue waiting for him to be unveiled. I hope he does decide to do that. For what he delivered to the club, he certainly deserves it.

“I know he is in two minds. He hasn’t agreed to do it yet. I’m pushing him to try and encourage him that he should.

“It ought to be there, a permanent memory to what he delivered to the club.”

Wenger, who turned 73 on Saturday, won three Prem titles, a record seven FA Cups and was in charge of the famous Invincibles during his 22 years at the club.

Arsenal are in direct contact with the Frenchman, now Fifa’s head of global football development, about unveiling the statue some time next year.

And Dein insists that he has nothing against owner Stan Kroenke and son Josh, and that he is enjoying the club’s current “renaissance”.

He revealed how Edu, Arsenal’s current technical director, had a sticky start with the club.

The former Gunners midfielder was supposed to join from Brazilian club Corinthians in the summer of 2000.

Dein said: “He was an unusual transfer. I got a call at 3am from the immigration officer at Terminal 3, saying, ‘Mr Dein, we’ve got one of your players here’.

“I said, ‘What’s the problem?’.

“‘Well, his passport is not really good. We’re going to have to send him back home.’”

Edu was entitled to a European passport through his Portuguese and Italian ancestry but the number on the document was out of sequence, revealing it to be a fake

Dein said: “The agent had tried to fast-track it.

“I spoke to Arsene straight away and said, ‘What do you want to do? It could take six to nine months’. Arsene said, ‘No, we’ll definitely sign him’.

“So I said to Edu at the time, ‘Don’t worry, go back, we’ll get your papers in order, and you will be welcome whenever you come in’.”

Edu was held overnight at Heathrow but finally signed in January 2001.

He was part of the 2002 Double-winning squad and the famous Invincibles of 2003-4.

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Arsenal

Former Arsenal scout responds to claims they “could have got” Erling Haaland

Claims that Arsenal could have signed Erling Haaland from Molde early in his career are fanciful, according to the club’s former scout Brian McDermott.

Back in 2018, Haaland was the subject of widespread interest after making an eye-catching breakthrough by scoring 20 goals in 50 games for Molde in Norway. Arsenal were one of the clubs who scouted the young striker before he ended up moving to Red Bull Salzburg in January 2019.

His career has gone from strength to strength, with 29 goals in 27 appearances for Salzburg and 86 in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund taking him to Manchester City this summer in a £51million transfer. Haaland is now tearing up the Premier League, with 17 goals in 11 games, sparking more speculation about his early days.

John Vik, Molde’s former chief scout, told The Athletic in September that “ Liverpool could have got him. Arsenal could have got him” after scouting him extensively back in 2018. But former Reading and Leeds manager McDermott, who also worked as a senior international scout for the Gunners, thinks Haaland’s father, Alfe-Inge, already had his son’s career path mapped out.

“People can say such-and-such a club could have had him, but a lot of it is pie in the sky,” McDermott told The Athletic. “I watched Haaland three times and I was, like, ‘Blimey, who is this kid?’. I met his dad and we had really good conversations, but I felt they knew the path they wanted for him.

“You can go to a massive club at that age and you can get lost. I’m not saying he would have done, because he was outstanding, but I just sensed he and his dad wanted to do it differently. It was already written.

“He went to Salzburg and, yes, I get that. Borussia Dortmund, yes, I get that. From there you can go to Manchester City, Real Madrid, wherever. They had it worked out.”

As well as recommending Haaland to Arsenal, McDermott also put forward William Saliba, former Wolves winger Francisco Trincao, who was then playing for Braga and Elif Elmas, who now plays for Napoli but was then at Fenerbahce.

Saliba was signed by Arsenal from Saint-Etienne for £27million in the summer of 2019 and, after loan spells at Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille, he is now performing extremely well for the Gunners.

McDermott scouted Saliba extensively and knew he was well equipped to move to the Premier League. He said: “(Arsenal scout) Ty Gooden had spotted him at Saint-Etienne and I was asked to go and give my opinion. I watched him a number of times. He played right-back the first game I saw him. I could see he wasn’t a right-back, but he was absolutely nailed on to be a top player.”

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Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus sends demand to Arsenal teammates after slipping up against Southampton

Gabriel Jesus has called on his Arsenal teammates to “increase the level” after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners went ahead through Granit Xhaka’s early goal from Ben White’s cross but could not add to their lead during a spell of early dominance. Jesus himself saw a shot saved by Gavin Bazunu, while Gabriel Martinelli had a shot deflected wide.

Southampton were much improved after the break and took advantage of Arsenal ’s tiring legs when Stuart Armstrong tucked home to complete a flowing move involving Mohamed Elyounoussi. Martin Odegaard had the ball in the net for Arsenal, but it was ruled out because the ball was out of play before Kieran Tierney crossed for him.

Arsenal remain top of the Premier League, two points clear of Manchester City, but Jesus was disappointed with the result at St Mary’s. “I think we can increase the level again, you know,” he said.

“Everyone, as a team and as an individual. We have to concentrate more, focus more, be more aggressive with and without the ball. I think we go home today a little bit upset. Because of the way we play, we could have scored more goals and won the game.”

Jesus endured a bruising contest up against Southampton defender Duje Caleta-Car and has now gone five games without scoring. The Brazilian has five goals in 14 appearances in all competitions, but has struggled for form in recent games.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, manager Mikel Arteta brushed off concerns about his summer signing’s form. “I’m sure today he will be disappointed because he had the chances to put them away,” he said.

“Knowing Gabi, he’s disappointed when he scores two goals and could have scored three or four, so he can do that. But he has the chances, and he’s always there. He gives so much to the team, and it’s a shame he couldn’t put them away today.”

Speaking more generally about the game, Arteta added: “No complaints. This is football. We were really good in the first half and totally controlled the game. We created loads of big chances that we didn’t put away.

“In the Premier League, unfortunately, if you don’t do that when you are top of the game, you can have some difficulties. In the second half, we put ourselves in problems with the amount of giveaways that we had, especially with ball possession, and that didn’t allow us to control the game the way we wanted.

“Their direct play and long throws, and set pieces disrupted the game a lot. We tried to react, and I still think in the second half, the two biggest chances were ours, but we didn’t put them away.”

Arsenal will now prepare to face PSV Eindhoven again in the Europa League on Thursday before hosting Nottingham Forest in the Premier League next Sunday.

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Arsenal

Gabriel Magalhães signs new contract as Arsenal look to tie down key players

Gabriel Magalhães has signed a new contract at Arsenal to 2027 in the first of what the Premier League leaders hope will be a sequence of fresh deals agreed with key players.

Terms were finalised on Friday in a meeting between Gabriel, his representatives and senior club staff at Arsenal’s training ground. The contract is seen as a reward for the progress the player, whose deal ran until 2025, has made since signing from Lille in September 2020.

The 24-year-old has been a cornerstone of Arsenal’s defensive improvement under Mikel Arteta and has formed a balanced, imposing partnership at centre-back with William Saliba this season. In 83 appearances across all competitions he has contributed nine goals and proved an athletic presence in both penalty areas. He has hopes of a call-up to Brazil’s World Cup squad next month and a first full cap.

Only Newcastle have a better defensive record than Arsenal this season and Arteta believes their solidity augurs well. “A winning team needs to have a spine of the team that is tremendously consistent and play at a really high level, keep clean sheets and we are doing that a lot,” he said.

Arteta hailed the solidity Gabriel and Saliba, who has made a huge impact since returning from a loan at Marseille, have added. “I think when we look at a central defender we look at partnerships,” he said. “I think Gabby has made William a better player and I think Willy helps Gabby to be the same. There is a strong chemistry there – you can sense it. The way they communicate with each other and play for each other, it is really positive and what you want.”

The pair have made isolated errors, including a slip from Gabriel that led to Darwin Núñez’s goal in the win over for Liverpool, but Arteta acknowledges that is part of the process. Saliba is 21 and nobody else in the leading pack has been leaning on such a young first-choice pairing.

“If you look at some of the goals we have conceded there have been some individual errors in some of them but they have been shared,” he said. “We have to accept that when you have young players in those positions, this is going to happen and that is the bill.”

Arsenal are also looking to tie down Saliba on a new deal, while discussions are continuing about updated contracts for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

Saka received a kick in Thursday’s win over PSV Eindhoven but it was not significant. His influence is growing despite a gruelling schedule in which he has started every game this season bar two, with the World Cup less than a month away. Arteta expanded on his post-match comments from the Europa League tie, when he explained that appearing every three days would help his side develop a “ruthless” streak.

“Obviously we want to protect our players and the way to protect our players is, when there is a risk of overload, don’t do it,” he said. “But to protect our players as well means they need to have the robustness to play those matches when it is necessary, because it’s going to be necessary and after the World Cup it’s going to be absolutely crazy, the amount of games we’re going to have.

“Robustness is in your mind. How much you want it, how tough you want to be with yourself, how pushy you want to be with yourself and what you do to get to that level.”

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Arsenal Liverpool

Arsenal Are Now Interested In Signing ‘Extremely Exciting’ Teenager Just Weeks After Transfer

Arsenal want William Boving and are fighting Torino and Borussia Monchengladbach in the race for his signature.

The Gunners are always on the hunt for talented young players.

That has become a key component of Edu’s revolution at the Emirates Stadium and Mikel Arteta is more than happy to develop those young talents.

Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have developed rapidly under Arteta and Edu will no doubt have his eyes on a host of youngsters around the world.

Arsenal Want William Boving

The latest name appears to be that of Sturm Graz forward William Boving.

Corriere dello Sport in Italy report that Boving is attracting interest from three clubs just weeks after joining Sturm Graz.

Arsenal, Borussia Monchengladbach and Torino have all shown an interest in Boving, who is showing promise in Austria.

Boving, 19, came through the Copenhagen ranks over in his native Denmark.

Boving made 44 first-team appearances for Copenhagen, bagging five goals during that time to spark interest.

Sturm Graz then took a liking to him and signed him just before the transfer deadline as a replacement for Rasmus Hojlund – another Danish attacker signed from Copenhagen.

Hojlund was quickly sold to Atalanta for huge profit and Boving could now follow suit very soon.

Boving has only bagged one goal and one assist in seven league games for Sturm Graz but he has excelled in the Europa League.

Two goals against Lazio earlier this month have put Boving on the radar of other clubs and Arsenal appear to be one of them ahead of the 2023 transfer windows.

Capable of playing across the front line, Boving could viewed as a versatile attacking talent for the future at Arsenal.

Branded ‘extremely exciting’ and ‘highly talented’ by Sturm Graz sporting director Andreas Schicker, Boving is now a name to keep close tabs on if you’re an Arsenal fan.

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Arsenal

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta warned he has one weak link in squad as January transfer teased

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been warned that he has one weak link in his side as the Gunners travelled to face Southampton on Sunday. Granit Xhaka opened the scoring for the visits at St Mary’s, who sit top of the Premier League table after a stunning start to the season.

Arteta’s side have been impressive to begin the season as they have only one blemish on their league record, a defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in September. Arsenal’s front three have led from the front but also kept a strong defensive record as before a ball had been kicked on Sunday only Newcastle had conceded fewer goals so far this campaign than the Gunners.

It has been a reshuffled back four from last season, as Ben White shifted across from centre-back to right-back which has enabled William Saliba to come into the team alongside Gabriel. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney have all played at left-back this season.

The one mainstay from last season has been Gabriel, but former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes that he is the one weak link in the Arsenal team and that they may “be looking” at a potential transfer in that area in the future. “I’ve been so impressed and I love everything they’re doing,” Redknapp told Sky Sports prior to kick-off.

“But if there was a place you could get success it would be against this man [Gabriel], gave a goal away against Fulham, penalty against Tottenham, against Liverpool he looked shaky and he can be rash, tries to win every ball. If you’re looking at where there might be a slight weakness, I’m sure that’s where they’ll be looking.”

The Brazilian signed a new deal at the Emirates on Friday until 2027, and was praised by his boss Arteta. “Gabi has shown huge qualities since he joined us,” the Spaniard said. “He is a young player with a great work ethic and his consistent strong performances have been hugely important to us over the past two seasons.

“Working with Gabi every day is a pleasure, he has formed strong relationships with everyone at the club and we’re so pleased that he has committed to us on a long-term contract.”

Arsenal technical director Edu echoed his manager’s sentiments. “It’s great that we’ve agreed a new deal with Gabi,” Edu said. “At 24, he’s still a young player and is part of our future. His performances since he joined us in 2020 have been very strong and his positive impact to our results have been clear for everyone to see.

“He has grown so much on and off the pitch, with both his contribution and communication on and off the pitch. We all look forward to see Gabi continue to grow as an important part of our club.”

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