Man Utd beat Arsenal & Chelsea to signing of Ajax wonderkid

Millen Baars, who captain’s the Dutch side’s Under-17 side, agreed to move to Old Trafford after rejecting Chelsea and snubbing an approach from Arsenal

Manchester United have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal to the signing of Ajax wonderkid Millen Baars.

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The 16-year-old reportedly agreed to the switch in October and now the player’s father, Stefan, has confirmed the news.

Baars, who is a winger and captain of Ajax’s Under-17 side, was invited for tours around Chelsea, United and Arsenal, but called off a visit to the north London side after being convinced to move to Old Trafford.

“We have had talks with Ajax that were between Millen and the club,” Stefan Baars told Noordhollands Dagblad. “But it was certainly nothing shocking, he was even appointed captain this season of the B1.

“Ajax is a great club with a very good youth, but they can unfortunately not cope so very well. You saw in the past with other youth players who now play at other clubs. But Millen was ready for a different challenge.

“He played nine seasons in Amsterdam and he has always had the dream to play football in England at Manchester United.

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“There was interest from Italy, Portugal and England, but when he was at Chelsea and United to look, he knew he wanted to play in Manchester.

“He did not even see Arsenal, his choice was made.”

RB Leipzig coach confirms Arsenal talks

The Bundesliga club are amazingly three points clear of second-placed Bayern Munich and the head coach has confirmed that he has entered into talks with the Gunners

RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed a newspaper report suggesting that he could replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.

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Leipzig are currently enjoying something of a fairytale story, akin to that of Leicester City in 2015-16, with the club unbeaten in the Bundesliga and three points clear of Bayern Munich at the summit.

A subsequent report in The Sun has suggested that Arsenal are interested in exploring the possibility of hiring Hasenhuttl should Wenger retire at the end of the season, and the 49-year-old has now revealed that he did, indeed, hold talks with the club.

“There was a lot of truth to it,” he told reporters when asked about the story.

“I have heard of worse fates than succeeding the longest-serving manager in England. It’s not damaging my reputation, is it?”

Hasenhuttl has, however, confirmed that he is happy at Leipzig as they attempt to pull off an unprecedented Bundesliga triumph.

“We don’t have to put too much thought into it,” he said of the Arsenal link. “I have found my luck here.”

Ozil: Arsenal can win the Champions League

Former Austria international forward Hasenhuttl took over Leipzig in May, having previously managed Ingolstadt, where he guided them to the top flight for the first time. Before that, he also had success at Aalen, helping them win promotion from the 3 Liga.

'I think we have a team that can do it' – Ozil believes Arsenal can win the Champions League

The Gunners have not made it beyond the round of 16 since 2009-10, but the midfielder insists his side have been “unlucky” in their quest to get their hands on the trophy of late

Mesut Ozil is optimistic about Arsenal’s chances in the Champions League and believes they can go all the way in the competition.

Arsenal have not made it beyond the round of 16 since 2009-10, when they lost to Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

Ozil believes the Gunners have been “unlucky” in that time, though, due to frequently drawing the likes of Barcelona and also Bayern Munich in the last 16.

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And the midfielder insists a lack of luck is the only thing holding Arsenal back from getting their hands on the trophy as he believes they have enough quality in their squad.

“I think we have been missing a bit of luck, in every sense,” Ozil told Marca.

“We have been pretty unlucky with the draw in the Champions League. These past few seasons we had Barcelona and Bayern very early on.

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“And even then, we still had our chances. But I think we lacked a bit of confidence against the big teams, especially in those rounds.

“It is a series of factors but we believe we can make that jump. I hope to win the Champions League with Arsenal, I think we have a team that can do it. Like I said, we need a bit more luck, but why not… we have great players.

“Qualifying for the knockout stages proves we are doing things the right way and we’re on the right path. Arsenal always make it out of the group stage and now is the time to make that extra step.”

Debuchy out for up to six weeks & Giroud a doubt for West Ham

Arsene Wenger has revealed the French full-back will be sidelined for a while with a “severe hamstring injury”, while Giroud faces a late fitness test

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Mathieu Debuchy faces a six-week spell on the sidelines, while Olivier Giroud could miss Saturday’s clash with West Ham.

The right-back made his first appearance of the season in the 3-1 win over Bournemouth last week, but was forced off after just 16 minutes with a muscular problem.

Arsenal won’t sign Cazorla replacement

Debuchy underwent a series of tests to determine the extent of the issue and Wenger has now shed light on the situation.

“Debuchy has a severe hamstring injury, he could be out for six weeks,” the Frenchman said at a media conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham.

“It is frustrating for me, but even more for him. He has an exceptional attitude and works very hard.

“He is very disappointed. But he is a fighter and will come back.”

Wenger was initially hopeful Giroud would be ready to take on West Ham after missing Arsenal’s EFL Cup defeat to Southampton in midweek, but the striker now appears set to miss this weekend’s encounter too.

“I thought Giroud would be available, but the last news I got is that he might not be available,” Wenger added.

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“He will be tested Friday. But he will be available for [Basel on] Tuesday.”

Danny Welbeck, meanwhile, has returned to training after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, although Wenger has warned the England international is still some way off making his comeback.

“It is great to have Welbeck back in training, but he is at least four weeks away from returning,” the Frenchman concluded.

Arsenal won't sign Cazorla replacement – Wenger

The Gunners boss has ruled out entering the market to buy a stand-in for the injured Spanish midfielder but insists the 31-year-old’s surgery is “very bad news”

Arsene Wenger has voiced his frustration at Santi Cazorla’s ongoing injury problems, but says Arsenal have no intention of bringing in a January replacement.

The Spain international faces another two to three months on the sidelines to undergo surgery on an ankle injury, but Wenger feels Arsenal already have plenty of alternatives in midfield.

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“We will not sign a replacement for Santi in January. We have many players in midfield. Plus you will not necessarily find a good replacement for Santi in January,” Wenger said at a news conference.

“For me, the surgery is very bad news. You know the date of the surgery, but never when the player will be able to play again. I always try to avoid surgery, because it creates anxiety and rehab.

“I think when you can avoid it, you have to do so. But in this case we have reached the conclusion it is the best solution. He could be out for two to three months.

“I was optimistic about him. He has an inflammation at the back of his foot. Nobody knows where it comes from. The injections have not solved the problem. So we have decided on surgery.

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“Santi is desperate to play football. He is only happy if he can play. I spoke to him and he wants to get out of this vicious circle, where he returns and then gets injured again. 

“We have no regrets over the way we dealt with his situation. We have been very strong on in the injury front. We have not had many injuries. We had very few muscular injuries. We have had a few injuries we could not do anything about, like with Cazorla.”