Arsenal are the latest side to have expressed an interest in signing Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos this summer.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has previously confessed that he may be forced to look for a new defender this summer, with Shkodran Mustafi’s injury expected to keep him out of the start of next season.
Up until this point, Arsenal’s transfer plans had been up in the air as the club had no idea what the future held. An eight-placed finish in the Premier League left them out of the Europa League, but winning the FA Cup has earned them a spot in Europe once again.
The Telegraph state that Arsenal’s focus has now turned to preparing for the future. The newly found clarity over their situation has helped club officials work out how much money is there to be spent, and Arteta could use some of that money on Carlos.
There are also doubts around the futures of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Rob Holding – who have both been tipped to be sold this summer – and bringing in someone like Carlos would go a long way to replacing either.
The 27-year-old has been linked with moves to Manchester City and Liverpool already, with Pep Guardiola’s side expected to be in the driver’s seat as they are prepared to pay his £68m release clause.
Sevilla are expected to accept slightly less than that figure, with a fee of £54.5m suggested, but even that could be too high for Arsenal unless they can find a way to raise money through player sales.
Sokratis and Mattéo Guendouzi are both expected to be sold to free up some money, but a large part of Arsenal’s business will be decided by the future of Mesut Özil, whose £350,000-a-week contract has left Arteta’s hands tied.
A loan is seen as the best solution to offload a sizeable chunk of Özil’s wages next season, but finding a team willing to pay close to 50% of his salary still seems like a tough ask in a financial market which has been paralysed by the coronavirus outbreak.
If money remains hard to come by, a move for French centre-back Malang Sarr is on the cards. The 21-year-old is without a club after leaving Nice and is thought to have already been contacted by the Gunners.
Arsenal have had their least successful league campaign for over 30 years. Finishing eighth, everyone involved with the club will be disappointed with the campaign just gone.
They did win the FA Cup and qualified for the Europa League through it though, so every cloud etc.
Mikel Arteta returned to the club as manager in January, and since then there has been a steady improvement. He and the board are said to be locked in discussions over the size of Arsenal’s transfer kitty this summer, but both parties will know a big overhaul is needed.
Here’s an in-depth look at who the casualties of Arsenal’s summer transfer business may be…
Bernd Leno (STAY) – The German is one of very few Arsenal players who can honestly say they’ve had a good season. His year ended prematurely with a knee injury but he should be fit for the start of next season.
Emiliano Martinez (STAY) – Martinez has performed heroics at Arsenal since Leno’s injury. He makes up part two of the best goalkeeping duo in the league.
Matt Macey (GO) – At 25, Macey shouldn’t be loaned out anymore. He deserves a chance to play regular football and that won’t be at Arsenal.
Dejan Iliev (GO) – The Macedonian has been on loan in Poland and hasn’t really blown anyone away. Arsenal should sell him.
David Luiz (STAY) – As much as Arsenal fans may not want him at the Emirates, Luiz is a great dressing room presence and has signed a new deal. He will be part of Arteta’s squad next season.
Shkodran Mustafi (GO) – The German has been surprisingly good since Arteta joined, but he is too inconsistent to rely on and Arsenal may be able to sell him for a decent fee. A new centre back ought to be a priority.
William Saliba (STAY) – Arsenal will be over the moon that the young Frenchman’s loan deal is over, and he will come in as the Gunners’ top centre back next season.
Calum Chambers (STAY) – Chambers looked really good before his knee injury earlier on this season, and he could still do a job for Arsenal.
Rob Holding (GO) – He’s liked by Arsenal fans, but Holding has really struggled since returning from his injury. The Gunners may be able to sell him for good money.
Sokratis (GO) – The former Dortmund man is simply not good enough on the ball for Arteta’s style of play, and at 32 years old he should be sold.
Pablo Mari (STAY) – The Spaniard made his loan move permanent in July. Currently injured, he’ll return to the squad as a competent back-up.
Kieran Tierney (STAY) – The Scot looks like an astute piece of business by Arsenal and, provided he stays injury free, he will be a huge part of the club’s future.
Hector Bellerin (STAY) – He’s looked a shadow of the player he was before his knee injury last season, but he is still a competent full back to say the least.
Sead Kolasinac (GO) – Kolasinac is simply not good enough, with his error against Tottenham a perfect example of why Arsenal must sell him.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (GO) – He wants to be a midfielder but he won’t be one for Arsenal. For that reason he wants to leave and Arsenal could sell him to fund their rebuild.
Cedric Soares (STAY) – He’s not good enough, but he’s only just joined so he won’t leave.
Granit Xhaka (STAY) – Xhaka’s Arsenal career looked over in December. But since Arteta arrived, the Switzerland international has become the most important player in the Gunners’ midfield. He looks like captain material again.
Lucas Torreira (GO) – After a wonderful start to his Arsenal career, it hasn’t worked out for Torreira. He doesn’t fit into Arteta’s system and he could be sold for a lot of money.
Matteo Guendouzi (GO) – The youngster’s Arsenal career is over, having fallen out with Arteta following a number of disciplinary issues, and will be sold, potentially for around £40m.
Joe Willock (STAY) – Willock is one of a number of exciting young Arsenal players. He’s looked very good at times but is still raw so can’t be relied on.
Mesut Özil (GO) – Özil has to go. He is on £350,000-a-week and his lack of football hangs over the club. Both parties need a clean break and the German must move on. That being said, who’s going to take him on?
Bukayo Saka (STAY) – Saka is the future of Arsenal and Arteta may build his side around the youngster after he signed a new contract.
Reiss Nelson (GO on loan) – A promising youngster, he has a strong chance of making it at Arsenal, but with a number of players ahead of him in the pecking order, a loan would be beneficial for Nelson.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (STAY) – Aubameyang may be on his way out, but the noises coming out of Arsenal are quite positive and they’ll be hopeful of keeping their main man next season.
Alexandre Lacazette (STAY) – His career at Arsenal seemed to be over as recently as March, but after a strong run of form, Lacazette looks to be the kind of striker Arteta wants.
Nicolas Pepe (STAY) – He has had an up and down season but with a year in the Premier League under his belt, Pepe will be more suited to the division next season and could be vital to Arsenal’s hopes of returning to the Champions League.
Gabriel Martinelli (STAY) – The Brazilian has been a sensation this year. He has a serious injury now, but is set for a spectacular career after a wonderful first season in England.
Eddie Nketiah (STAY) – Nketiah has got a lot of football since Arteta joined. He came back from a loan at Leeds early and has looked really good. He could be very useful for Arsenal next year.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s hilarious drop of the FA Cup trophy acted as neat metaphor. In order for Arsenal to continue succeeding and lifting silverware, they mustn’t lose hold of their captain.
One penalty won and brilliantly converted, followed by a superb second half goal, proved just how vital he is for the future of the club. Any notion of life without him is a terrifying prospect that the club cannot afford to entertain. He must be kept at all costs.
Discussions so heavily centred around the future of the Gabonese forward have not clouded any judgement on Mikel Arteta, though. He has been widely praised from all corners, either by those who’ve worked alongside him or those who’ve heralded him from afar.
While the next steps in the Arsenal rebuild coming to fruition are reliant on Aubameyang signing a new contract, the reality is that the most important figure at the club is not the captain. It’s Arteta.
Before anyone gets ahead of themselves with some preconceived idea that this is in anyway against the 31-year-old, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The man is an elite striker. World class. Arsenal wouldn’t be anywhere without him.
Looking at it from a wider perspective, however, there is simply no denying that of all the assets the club has within its ranks, Arteta is most irreplaceable.
What he has achieved in such a short space of time in the unprecedented circumstances he’s faced is quite miraculous. Arsenal were in disarray. Devoid of life. Empty. Sinking.
A summer of expectation that included a new club record signing was supposed to be the catalyst for change. Unai Emery, with a full season under his belt, was to lead the charge up the table. Arsenal were going to stop being….Arsenal.
Fast forward to December and the toxicity was beyond recognition. He had to go and the club had to reset. Again.
Instilled with the task of averting the atrocity was Arteta, a man with no prior head coach experience. It goes without saying that the challenge he was presented with was among the toughest in Europe. Bravery springs to mind. Madness isn’t far off.
With the same set of players as his predecessor, he has transformed a culture and an environment in next to no time, the kind that could normally take years, not eight months.
You go back to that infamous Frankfurt match and see a group of players that stank of disinterest and misguidance. You go to Wembley and see two performances of heart and direction. The turnaround is quite stupendous, given the tools at his disposal.
Even when January came around he couldn’t adequately alter his squad. Two players came in, both injured, and have made a combined eight appearances in all competitions since.
His work with the players is exemplary, but his ability to connect with people, even those watching through a television screen, is arguably his finest attribute. He demands attention, forces you to listen, embedding his moral code and the eloquent use of his second language in such an effective way. He makes you believe every word he says.
That has clearly transferred into the players, but likewise the supporters. Everyone knows his philosophy, everyone can see his vision. Most importantly of all, everyone has bought into it.
Among all other aspects, this was the most crucial after Emery left. The club, players, supporters and board needed direction. They’ve got that now, and can’t let it slip.
What do I mean by slip? Well, all this talk of needing to convince Aubameyang that he is at the right club rings just as true for Arteta. If he isn’t adequately backed by the club, if he isn’t content with decisions made in the board room, it will be him who needs convincing to stay.
His managerial career is eight months old, yet his stock has risen exponentially and even in this early stage he’s proven himself to be invaluable to Arsenal. More so than anyone else.
Chinks in that seemingly impenetrable armour do exist, of course. Too many points dropped from winning positions and a failure to kill off games are a few of the areas that need addressing. At the moment, he’s doing all he can, but the work is very much in progress.
Securing an 14th FA Cup is the pick-me-up that everyone associated with the club desperately needed. It doesn’t mask over a woeful Premier League campaign, but it maintains the optimism that everyone felt and builds on it.
Aubameyang must sign. He simply must. Without him there is little to no hope of redemption. But if the man in the dugout wasn’t there, we can be fairly certain that Wembley would’ve been his Arsenal swansong. Not only that, but he wouldn’t have actually been there in the first place.
Arteta and Arsenal are now intrinsically connected. Give him the tools he needs to succeed and he will do just that. The message after the game was ‘always forward’. Without Arteta, it’s only backward.
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Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the 2020 FA Cup final attracted the largest viewing figures for any football match this season.
Professional football was suspended in England in mid-March following the coronavirus pandemic and returned in June. However, all games since the sport’s resumption have been held behind closed doors, devoid of fans.
Arsenal prevailed over London rivals Chelsea in a 2-1 win on Saturday in a Wembley Stadium which has a maximum capacity of 90,000. Aside from a limited number of journalists and broadcasters, the two Premier League sides played out the final of the world’s oldest cup competition in front of empty stands.
With supporters unable to be at the ground, fans were forced to cheer on their teams watching from home. The final was available on free-to-air BBC and the subscription channel BT Sport in England.
According to the BBC, their coverage of the match was watched by a peak audience of 8.2m across all platforms. This represents a 46.1% audience share and surpasses the 7.2m who tuned in for the semi-final clash between Manchester United and Chelsea as the largest viewership for a football match in the 2019/20 season.
The eight most-watched games of this campaign were shown on the BBC, and the top seven were FA Cup ties. The remaining fixture from that top eight marked a moment of broadcasting history.
In the unprecedented circumstances football found itself after a three-month hiatus, every Premier League game was scheduled to be broadcast live in England. The BBC aired four top-flight games for the first time since the competition’s inception in 1992, and their third fixture broke another viewing record.
Southampton’s surprise 1-0 win over Manchester City on 5 July attracted a peak audience of 5.7m, becoming the most-watched Premier League match in the history of the competition according to the BBC.
Unless you’ve taken lockdown to the extent of switching off all possible forms of communication and technology, then you’ll have noticed that there was the small matter of an FA Cup final on Saturday afternoon.
It was Arsenal who had the last laugh of this domestic campaign, beating Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley stadium to lift their 487th FA Cup title. It was a memorable final, full of drama, goals… and shocking defending.
Fortunately, you guys on Twitter didn’t miss a beat from the off, and all the immediate talk was of David Luiz and the impact he was destined to have against his former club. It’s fair to say, we weren’t sure which team would benefit most from his presence on the Wembley turf.
And true to form, Luiz and his teammates left the backdoor open for Chelsea to take the lead inside five minutes. Former Gunner Olivier Giroud was involved, providing a neat assist for Christian Pulisic to hit the net, which surprised just about no-one…
But their lead lasted only 25 minutes, thanks to Chelsea pulling out some classic Chelsea defending. The usually reliable Cesar Azpilicueta was the culprit this time, gifting Arsenal a penalty, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made no mistake.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blues, when Azpilicueta picked up an injury and had to leave the field in tears. Twitter was typically sympathetic, as you can imagine.
From one injury to another – and a painful one for Chelsea supporters and Pulisic. The American winger raced through on goal early in the second half, but seemingly pulled his hamstring too, and that was his game done and dusted.
The Blues’ heartbreak only got worse from hereon in. Aubameyang tore the Chelsea backline apart, and you guys couldn’t get enough of the Gabonese superstar.
Supporters were less than impressed with Zouma’s defending on that goal however, after he was turned inside out by the prolific forward.
It went from worse, to absolutely abysmal shortly after, too. Mateo Kovacic was sent off for a second yellow card, although not many of us really agreed with the decision.
In the end, it was Arsenal’s day. The Gunners recorded their first trophy in the bold, new Mikel Arteta era, and they fully deserved the victory on Saturday afternoon. Congratulations, Arsenal!
Might need to work on that trophy lift though…