Youngster Brem Soumaoro​ Reveals Only ‘Visa Issues’ Prevented Arsenal Signing Him Back in 2011

Young Guinean footballer Brem Soumaoro​ has revealed that Arsenal ‘did everything’ to sign him in 2011, only for visa issues to stop him completing his dream move.

Soumaoro, now 22, claims that he arrived in England as a 15-year-old midfielder and was invited to meet with the Gunners, but was told he ‘could not enter the country’ upon his arrival at a London airport. 

Go Ahead Eagles v PSV U23 - Dutch Jupiler League

Speaking to VoetbalZone (via ​Daily Cannon), Soumaoro recalls the reason the transfer failed to materialise: 

​Arsenal did everything to get me in. We went to London, but when we landed, we were told we could not enter the country. I did not have a Dutch passport yet and therefore I could not get a visa in England. 

“We tried to solve that in another way, but that didn’t work anymore. I had not thought about it myself either. My parents did not have Dutch passports, so I had to wait until my 18th birthday for my own passport and so the transfer to Arsenal did not take place.”

With Soumaoro resigned to the fact a dream ​Premier League move would not be possible, he signed a pro-deal with FC Twente in Holland. He has since played for Go Ahead Eagles – also in the Eredivisie – and is now plying his trade in Italy with Livorno, who are currently rock bottom of Serie B. 

Life could have been so different for the youngster had visa issues not played a part and the midfielder admitted that his chance was gone as Arsene Wenger and Arsenal never followed up their interest with a ‘concrete’ offer when he turned 18:

Go Ahead Eagles v PSV U23 - Dutch Jupiler League

“My agent said that staff within the youth academy occasionally asked how I was, but there was no question of concrete interest.” Soumaoro claimed.


Arsenal Enter Negotiations With Boca Juniors for £40m Transfer of Star Winger

Arsenal are reported to have begun negotiations with Copa Libertadores finalists Boca Juniors regarding the transfer of winger Cristian Pavon to the Emirates in a £40m move.

The 22-year-old featured in the 2018 World Cup for Argentina and has earned a reputation as a fearsome and fast forward for the Buenos Aires club with Arsenal boss Unai Emery an admirer.

River Plate v Boca Juniors - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Emery believes the Argentinian will add an extra dimension to his attack with the winger’s blistering pace putting him ahead of most of the ​Gunners’ current squad. 

Fellow London outfit ​Fulham are also said to have registered an interest in Pavon but are unlikely to match the £40m price tag the Argentinian club have placed on the forward, according to reports in the ​Sun.

Palmeiras v Boca Juniors - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Pavon has racked up 11 appearances for the Argentinian national team since making his debut last year, but he is yet to score for the South American nation despite being regarded as a vital part of the nation’s future.

The forward joined giants Boca when he was just 18 following his £3m transfer from fellow Argentine outfit and hometown club Club Atlético Talleres in 2014.

However, Pavon has been struggling with hamstring injuries that affected his impact throughout his club’s Copa Libertadores campaign which saw his side lose in extra-time in the final at ​Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium.

Boca Juniors v River Plate - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Pavon has racked up 72 league appearances and 19 goals in his time at Boca but it is thought he aims to follow countryman ​Lionel Messi in making the move to Europe to further his career.


Southampton 3-2 Arsenal: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Saints End Gunners 22-Game Unbeaten Run

Southampton sealed a shock win over Arsenal at St Mary’s on Sunday courtesy of a late Charlie Austin header to seal all three points for new Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The home side took the lead as Matt Targett whipped an inviting cross into the area, which Danny Ings duly obliged in thumping home with an emphatic header on the 20th minute.

​Arsenal showed good resolve to reply just eight minutes later in similar fashion to the host’s opener. Nacho Monreal showed good energy to advance on the left hand side and deliver a well-weighted cross into the ​Southampton box, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading home the equaliser.

Ings repeated the trick with just minutes to go until half time, as the striker rose highest in the Arsenal box to loop a header beyond Bernd Leno from another pinpoint cross from out wide, this time from Nathan Redmond on the right flank to restore Southampton’s lead.

Arsenal then received the stroke of luck they needed in the second half, as a hopeful Mkhitaryan strike from outside the box took a cruel deflection off Jannik Vestegaard before trickling past wrong-footed Alex McCarthy to draw the Gunners level once more.

The Gunners piled on the pressure in the later stages, but it was the home side who snatched the late goal as Arsenal were once again undone by a cross, this time from Shane Long, as substitute Charlie Austin met it to slam home the winner.


Key Talking Point

With Nathan Redmond clearly Southampton’s primary danger man, using his pace and energy to run at Arsenal’s aged back line, much of the interest was in whether the Saints’ new boss Hasenhuttl could unlock the English forward’s potential in a new system.

The Austrian deployed Redmond in an advanced role, tucked in behind striker Ings, and the forward appeared to feel more comfortable in his freer role in attack. The home side’s attack thrived with Redmond providing a central problem for Arsenal’s rear-guard to deal with, opening up spaces to attack for others.

Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Ings found space intelligently, with his movement and initiative setting him on course to score Southampton’s opener. Targett’s strong run and cross to assist Ings also showcased Southampton’s effective use of full backs going forward to test Arsenal in wide areas.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: McCarthy (7); Bednarek (5), Yoshida (5), Vestergaard (5); Valery (6), Hojbjerg (7), Romeu (6), Targett (7); Redmond (6), Armstrong (7); Ings (8)

Substitutes: Long (6), Austin (7), Johnson (N/A)

STAR MAN – Danny Ings led by example for the home side as the striker showed a level of energy and desire which set the tone for the Saints from the outset. Ings is not the most physically imposing forward, but he showed good energy to arrive in Arsenal’s box at the right time along with a strong desire to win his aerial battles and head his side ahead twice in the match.

WORST PLAYER – Jan Bednarek struggled to keep pace with Arsenal’s speedy attackers at times. ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang always fancied his chances of using his pace to get in behind the defender, who was booked for a foul on ​Alexandre Lacazette.


Key Talking Point

Arsenal went into Sunday’s game with a raft of injury problems to deal with in defence, but Unai Emery continued to display strong tactical astuteness to patch up the holes in the Gunners’ rear-guard without leaving his side overly exposed.

With Rob Holding out for the season and Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi suspended, Emery shifted Granit Xhaka onto the left hand side of his now-favoured back three, with the fit-again Laurent Koscielny restored at the heart of the trio and Stephan Lichtsteiner operating on the right.

Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

However, Arsenal’s vulnerability to high balls and crosses into the box was laid bare with just one recognised central defender at the back, as Ings exploited the Gunners’ lack of aerial command in their area with two well-taken headers, before Austin added the finishing touch.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Leno (5); Lichtsteiner (5), Koscielny (6), Xhaka (6); Bellerin (5), Torreira (7), Guendouzi (7), Monreal (6); Mkhitaryan (8), Iwobi (7); Aubameyang (8)

Substitutes: Lacazette (7), Ozil (6), Maitland-Niles (5)

STAR MAN – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, like Ings for the home side, gave Arsenal the spark they needed in attack as the Gabon striker put his excellent pace and movement to good use in unsettling the Saints’ back line and forcing them onto the back foot.

Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

WORST PLAYER – Though he is naturally suited to the role, Hector Bellerin struggled at right wing back for the visitors. The Spaniard did not have his usual attacking influence down the Gunners’ right flank, and struggled with the forward runs of Southampton’s left wing back Targett. Bellerin was forced off at half time through injury.

Looking Ahead

Southampton travel to face ​Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium next weekend before hosting an in-form West Ham side at St. Mary’s five days later.

Arsenal, meanwhile, face Tottenham in a second north London derby in the space of a month as the Gunners host Spurs in a Carabao Cup quarter final clash on Wednesday.

Emery’s side will enjoy home comforts once more next weekend as Arsenal host Burnley in a Premier League clash at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime.


Ex-Gunner David Seaman Claims Unai Emery Still Needs to Prove Himself in the Transfer Market

​Former Arsenal Goalkeeper David Seaman has revealed that Unai Emery still needs several successful transfer windows at the Emirates in order to transform his squad.

Since replacing Arsene Wenger in the summer, the ex-PSG boss has made a positive start to his career in England, implementing a new, high-intensity style of play at the club.

By bringing in the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, Emery has been able to revitalise Arsenal’s midfield whilst goalkeeper Bernd Leno has also impressed since joining from Bayer Leverkusen for £25m in July.

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Despite the Gunners being on a 22-match unbeaten run in all competitions, Seaman believes that the best is yet to come under Emery.

Speaking to the ​Daily Star, the former England star admitted: “Emery has got his players playing with confidence. That’s hugely important when you’ve got so many youngsters.

“But he still needs a couple of transfer windows to really put his stamp on that team – a lot of this side is still Arsene Wenger’s.

Real Madrid CL Legends v Arsenal FC Legends

“But they’re playing well together, they’re playing with confidence and it’s great to see.”

​Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League and are equal on points with fourth placed ​Chelsea who currently occupy the coveted final Champions League spot in the table.

Discussing what Emery would be looking to achieve in this campaign, Seaman added: “Getting back into the top four would be a great season. It’s going to be tough.

Arsenal v Qarabag FK - UEFA Europa League - Group E

“I think the top two are going to run away with it, and probably Manchester City will win it.

“But the next two places are going to be difficult, with us [Arsenal], Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United all in there.”

Asked about where he would like the Gunners to invest in the upcoming January transfer window, the two-time Premier League winner revealed: “Arsenal have always been good going forward, it’s just the defending that needs tightening up.

“Attacking-wise we’re great, but we just need to have a little bit more cunning and use more experience when we’re defending.

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

“We’re giving away too many chances per game. We’ve seen Bernd Leno, and also Petr Cech when he was in, having four or five saves to make every match. That’s too many.”

Arsenal could move within two points of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur if they beat ​Southampton on Sunday. 

The Gunners have not lost in the league since September and will be confident that they can extend their unbeaten run against a struggling Saints side who are currently 19th in the Premier League table.


Christmas Crackers: 10 of the Best Ever Premier League Goals During the Festive Season

Christmas is the time for giving, and that includes giving us great goals. There have been some absolute thunderbastards over the years during the festive season. 

Sit back and enjoy these stocking fillers… 

Note: This might be harder if you’re a Villa fan. Oddly a lot of them are against the Claret and Blue. Sorry, Villa!

1. Robin van Persie vs Watford (26/12 2006)

December 2006 produced one of the all-time great Goal of the Month compilations.

Robin van Persie’s patented cut inside and curl past the keeper on Boxing Day was one of his finest. Seek it out and watch as the Dutchman wraps his foot around the ball like pigs in a blanket.

2. Paul Scholes vs Aston Villa (26/12 2006)

It would’ve been frankly wrong not to put together any festive goals list and not include Scholes thundering volley from Boxing Day 2006.

The ginger wizard lends his incredible technique to one of the Premier League’s greatest ever goals. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Sunderland (26/12 2007)

There is nothing anyone can do once Cristiano Ronaldo steps up to hit the ball at the Stadium of Light. You may question the goalkeeper’s starting position but that is pretty much the perfect free kick. Peak Ronaldo.

Man Utd ran out 0-4 winners in a Christmas stuffing.

4. Andriy Shevchenko vs Aston Villa (26/12 2007)

Both defences were presumably still hungover on Boxing Day, when Chelsea and Villa played out a 4-4 draw.

The £30m lump of coal that was Shevchenko got the pick of the goals with a top corner screamer that day.

5. Robbie Keane vs Arsenal (21/12 2008)

Robbie Keane may be remembered as a bit of a turkey for his short-lived spell at one of his many boyhood clubs Liverpool, but his equaliser against Arsenal is the dictionary definition of a thumping finish. 

Great technique to take it over the shoulder, first time, at pace. 

6. Dwight Gayle vs Aston Villa (26/12 2013)

Villa fans, please continue to avert your eyes.

Back on Boxing Day of 2013, Dwight Gayle tore through a suspect defence on the break, like the ghost of Christmas worldies, before putting away a very neat finish.

7. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Aston Villa (26/12 2014)

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s Boxing Day free kick against Villa back in 2014 is in absolute treat for the eyes.

Few players have as many direct free kick goals in the Premier League as the Icelander. However, this one from 2014 might be his best. 

Find it and watch as the spray come off the turf as he hits it. Delightful. And, better than just about anything Swansea fans received under the tree that year.

8. Cuco Martina vs Arsenal (26/12 2015)

Cuco Martina stepped up almost nonchalantly, before hitting an absolutely ridiculous outside of the boot screamer against the Gunners on Boxing Day 2015.

If we are treated to anything of this quality while chowing down on leftovers this year, it will indeed be a very Merry Christmas indeed.

9. Xherdan Shaqiri vs Everton (28/12 2015)

Shaqiri’s ‘chip of the tastiest variety’ (as one of the weirder lines of FIFA commentary used to say) won Stoke’s goal of the season in 2015. It is definitely one for Santa’s naughty list.

The ‘Messi of the Alps’ scored twice in a barnstorming encounter with Everton on 28 December 2015. 

10. Henrikh Mkhitaryan vs Sunderland (26/12 2016)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan won December’s Goal of the Month (unsurprisingly) for his ‘scorpion kick’ against Sunderland two Christmases ago. Afforded some Christmas cheer from the linesman, the Armenian might have been a shade offside…but really who cares?

Apparently inspired by Mkhitaryan’s effort, Olivier Giroud scored a similar goal just a week later for Arsenal.