Aubameyang loan offer received by Arsenal from Saudi Arabia

Arsenal have received a loan offer from Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr with an obligation to buy for £7 million for ostracised ex-captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang which could help the club save £25 million in wages.

The 32-year-old striker has not played for Arsenal since early November when he was left out of the team for what the club described as indiscipline, which was later revealed to be the player returning a day later than scheduled from visiting his sick mother in France.

He got his opportunity to play senior football after almost a month away with his country at the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, only for him to contract Covid-19 and suffer some minor cardiac problems leading to him returning to North London and ending his AfCON journey prematurely.

His return to Arsenal, however, has not guaranteed his reintegration into the squad and he has now been offered a way back into active football by Al Nassr. Reports claim that the Gunners hierarchy are currently considering the proposal, due to the financial benefits of the move.

The £7 million obligation-to-buy fee is a lot lesser than the club’s valuation of Aubameyang, but the loan offer will see Arsenal take off Aubameyang’s £250,000-a-week wage from their books for the rest of the season. The Gabonese striker, whose country have successfully made it to the next round of the African Cup of Nations, has 18 months left on his current Arsenal contract and an exit now would save the North London club around £25 million.

Arteta unsure of why Aubameyang returned from AfCON

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has claimed he never expected Aubameyang to be back from Cameroon, hosts of the 2021 African Cup of Nations, at this time.

Earlier in the week, Gabon national team manager Patrice Neveu claimed that he was pressured to release Aubameyang back to Arsenal, also citing their inability to carry out the necessary tests to determine his ability to continue at the tournament as a reason.

The 32-year-old striker, now back in North London, will undergo further tests to determine his fitness level but Arteta has claimed that he is unsure why the striker is back.

“He’s in London. Now he’s going through some examinations because we haven’t had any clarity from the Gabon national team about the reasons why he’s come back,” Arteta told journalists.

“It’s our obligation to make sure he’s in a good condition and there’s no issues related to that.

“He is in good condition. So far, historically, with everything we have done with the player he has never had an issue. Hopefully that is the case.

“He contracted COVID-19 and then the national team decided to bring him back here and this is where we are.

“Let’s go step by step and do the right examinations and make sure the players’ health is in the best possible condition. Then we’ll see what happens.”

Gabon coach breaks silence over Aubameyang’s return to Arsenal following COVID-19 complications

Gabon’s national team coach, Patrice Neveu has broken his silence on the issues surrounding national team captain and star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s return to Arsenal while Gabon competes for the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Aubameyang, who is currently having a hard time with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta leading to him being ostracised from the squad for four games prior to the AfCON tournament, has been forced to depart his country’s AfCON camp and return to north London.

The 32-year-old, together with former Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, contracted COVID-19 at his national team’s dinner hosted in Dubai to celebrate their participation in the 33rd AfCON tournament before they travelled to Cameroon to battle the rest of Africa for the title.

Since then, he has been out of action, missing two games and suffering a small heart issue which led to Arsenal’s doctors asking him to return.

This decision has not gone down well with the Gabonese national team and manager Patrice Neveu has come out to speak on it.

Neveu said he was put under pressure to release Aubameyang to return to Arsenal, as well as Lemina who was also called back to his club.

“What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours,” Neveu said in a press conference. “We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.

“It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision yesterday with the President and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that [Aubameyang] should go back to Arsenal and Mario [Lemina] back to Nice.”

Aubameyang dismisses talks of indiscipline with Gabon

The embattled striker has faced serious backlash since his issues at Arsenal began. The AfCON tournament was supposed to be a retreat for him and a means to get back into active football.

Rumours have continued to hover around him, and some more rumours spring up after he contracted COVID-19 about his indiscipline. Both he and Lemina were rumoured to have been sent home for other reasons but the former Arsenal captain dismissed those rumours on Twitter.

He tweeted: “We have problems that are already complicated to solve, then on top of that there are rumours.

“In short, we have health to take care of first and foremost, I won’t go back on these false rumours and I sincerely hope that our team will go as far as possible.”

Lemina, on his Instagram stories, wrote: “I don’t want to feed the lies which seek to harm. I have nothing to do with it.

“I am in pain for my national team who are surrounded by liars in search of a buzz. Good luck to you to for the rest of the competition and for national team squads in the future. Far from my eyes but close to my heart.”

Neveu did concede, however, that both Arsenal and OGC Nice, who Lemina currently plays for, we’re doing what was in their best interests.

“As you know, he’s a key player for Arsenal, although he’s going through a tough period at the moment. We still have to report to clubs,” Neveu added.

“And when a player’s health is affected and as you know they are paid by the club, we have to be reasonable at some point.”

Chelsea News: Thomas Tuchel calls for patience with Lukaku; Chelsea major winners at FIFA awards

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has urged struggling striker Romelu Lukaku to find “peace on the pitch” in order to regain his scoring form, while also claiming that the club are going to do everything to help him.

The 28-year-old Belgium international was brought back to the club after a successful spell away from the Premier League to spearhead a title challenge for the Blues this season. Chelsea spent a whopping €115 million to secure his services from Inter Milan but the striker has not provided returns for that amount, scoring only five goals in 13 Premier League appearances.

Lukaku made matters worse after granting an interview to a Sky Sports Italy programme where he talked fondly about his time at Inter Milan, his distaste for the way Chelsea is currently set up, and his dream of returning to Italy. He also urged his former strike partner Lautaro Martinez to stay put at Inter Milan, which aggravated Chelsea’s fan base a lot.

Thomas Tuchel was asked about the striker’s performances after the Blues’ defeat at Manchester City, where he was a passenger in the side that turned out for the Blues.

“We do everything to help him. I think this is absolutely the wrong question because it is focusing on one player,” Tuchel replied.

“There will not be more pressure than he puts on himself and we need to find a mix between all the expectations, all the pressure and still to be relaxed enough to play your best game.

“It is not only about pushing, squeezing, not only about demands, but it is also about feeling peace and relaxed on the pitch. Things will fall in their place when we keep on working hard.”

Chelsea scoop awards at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony

Elsewhere, Chelsea were the most represented team in FIFA’s The Best awards on Monday night. This time, however, the club had three award winners in Thomas Tuchel who bagged the award for The Best Men’s coach, Emma Hayes who bagged the award for The Best women’s coach, and Édouard Mendy who finally was recognised on the global scale with the award for The Best goalkeeper.

Four players across the club’s men’s and women’s teams also made it into the FIFPro World XI teams for both categories.

Unlike the Ballon d’Or ceremony, the awards for FIFA The Best are voted for by a journalist, club captains, fellow players, coaches and fans.

Jorginho and N’Golo Kante made it onto the FIFPro men’s team in recognition of their excellent 2021 while Magdalena Eriksson and Millie Bright made it into the Women’s 11, as voted by their fellow professionals.

Jorginho and Kanye were both key in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League run as well as their national teams’ runs to the Euro 2020 title and UEFA Nations League title respectively.

Meanwhile, Emma Hayes’ Chelsea Women side were dependent on captain Eriksson and vice-captain Bright who led the team on the pitch to three domestic trophies and the UEFA Women’s Champions League final where they lost to Barcelona Femeni, whose captain Alexia Putellas bagged the award for The Best Women’s Player of 2021.

Arsenal transfer update: Gunners prepare formal bid for Vlahovic and Brazilian midfielder

Latest reports claim that Arsenal have prepared a formal offer for Dusan Vlahovic. The Gunners have also prepared offers for Juventus‘ midfielder Arthur Melo and Palmeiras midfielder Danilo.

Arsenal are yet to sign anyone more than two weeks into the January transfer window but have let two players leave the Emirates on loan.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun have botje been shipped off on loan to AS Roma in Italy and Middlesbrough in the second tier of English football respectively by the club who wants both players to have playing time.

This, coupled with the absence of Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Elneny who are all at the ongoing African Cup of Nations has halved the Gunners squad’s strength, leaving manager Mikel Arteta with a selection headache in a very busy period of football.

This has already started to tell on the side as Arsenal recently had their Premier League fixture against North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur postponed due to an insufficient squad which has been depleted by Covid-19, injuries and player departures.

With a little over two weeks left for the Gunners, to strengthen their squad, it will please Arsenal fans to learn that moves are finally being made towards this aim.

Fiorentina line up Vlahovic replacement

Arsenal can be encouraged by news coming out of Italy that Fiorentina have already identified a replacement for star striker Dusan Vlahovic, who the Gunners have prepared a €60 million bid for.

Fiorentina have identified River Plate’s Julian Alvarez as the Serbian’s replacement, and are hoping to secure the signature of the River Plate man as soon as possible.

This means they are willing to let Vlahovic go this January, and Arsenal’s €60 million bid could find this transfer. Fiorentina, however, will have an uphill task to convince Vlahovic to leave.

Arsenal ready to enter negotiations with Palmeiras; Arthur close to Emirates move

Elsewhere, reports claim that Arsenal are ready to make a £21 million bid for Brazilian starlet Danilo.

The 20-year-old is being eyed as primarily as a long term replacement for Granit Xhaka who could be leaving the Emirates at the end of his contract in the next two years.

However, the Gunners would want to sign him now as they are short of midfield talent to play their games.

Palmeiras, however, are determined to keep the player in their ranks ahead of the Club World Cup in February. The club is also one of the richest in the Brazilian league, and can hold off on the deal for as long as they want.

Reports, however claim, that Palmeiras could listen to offers for Danilo in the summer.

Furthermore, Arthur Melo could become an Arsenal player in the coming days as Daily Star reports that the Brazilian is ready to fly in to north London to complete his switch from Juventus to Arsenal.

Arsenal have managed to convince Juventus, according to reports, by offering to cover his wages in full in the duration of his loan.

It remains to be seen which of these moves can be completed in the coming weeks and how many more moves the Gunners can complete as the transfer window winds down.

Manchester City plot wild bid for Vinicius Jr amidst possibility of missing out on Haaland

Reports have surfaced of Manchester City planning a surprise bid for Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr following the serious competition for Erling Haaland’s signature.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reportedly identified Vinicius, who is currently enjoying the best form of his Real Madrid career, as a potential alternative to Haaland.

The Brazilian winger is one of Carlo Ancelotti’s most trusted players this season, contributing to 25 of the goals scored by Los Blancos this season (15 goals and ten assists).

Spanish outlet AS reports that Haaland has his heart set on playing for Real Madrid where he could link up with Vinicius. This knowledge is what led Guardiola, according to another Spanish outlet El Nacional, to turn to Vinicius Jr.

The former Red Bull Salzburg striker has scored 21 goals and provided ten assists this season for Borussia Dortmund in only 19 games for the German side, having sat out quite a few matches due to injuries at different times.

Manchester City realise that the upcoming battle for Haaland’s signature as well as the reports that the striker would rather make the move from Germany to Spain than to England, has forced them to seek alternatives.

Vinicius is also being considered as a replacement for Raheem Sterling, whose contract extension talks are not going as planned.

Madrid plot mega Haaland and Mbappe deals

Manchester City may be wise to cast their net elsewhere as reports have also emerged of Real Madrid plotting the bid to end all bids for both Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain’ Kylian Mbappe.

Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke was in the news earlier giving an ultimatum to Haaland to make a decision on his future. The striker, incensed at the pressure he is being put under by the club, declared boldly that he will be making a decision soon.

His reported statement where he claimed to want to play for Madrid will give the Spanish giants a boost in their preparation for the summer. With Mbappe, however, Madrid will only have to worry about PSG’s efforts to convince him to stay.

The Parisiens are looking to hire Zinedine Zidane at the end of the season which could throw a spanner in Madrid’s plans as the 23-year-old is a big fan of the former Madrid coach and wants to work with him.

Commentator comes under fire for backhanded comment in City’s win over Chelsea

As the behind the scenes action gets hotter for City, their actions on the pitch have also gone up a notch.

In their 1-0 win over Chelsea to widen the gap at the top to 14 points, commentator Jim Beglin called the Citizens stadium by a name used by rival fans as a jab towards Manchester City.

“You can hear the annoyance around the Emptyhad,” Beglin was heard saying during his commentary of the game.

Manchester City fans expressed displeasure, and Beglin went on Twitter to apologise for his words.

“I have the greatest respect for Manchester City Football Club,” he tweeted.

“In no way was my verbal error today intended to cause City fans any offence.”

Manchester United identify next manager after Ralf Rangnick

Manchester United have reportedly contacted Inter Milan‘s Simone Inzaghi to take over from Ralf Rangnick after his six-month interim tenure runs out.

The German tactician has cut an unpopular figure while in the dugout at Old Trafford despite the excitement surrounding his appointment to the position. Reports also say that the players are dissatisfied with his method, making him an unpopular figure also in United’s dressing room.

Mirror Sport reports that a source within Carrington claims that the former Red Bull Leipzig manager is seen as “outdated and out of his time” by all at the club, and that Rangnick is “unpopular” and the staff “don’t like him.”

United signed a deal with Rangnick to stable the team for a new manager who will take over at the beginning of the 2023/24 season. The German will then move on to a two-year consultancy role, which is more on brand with what he has evolved into in the past few years.

Among the managers considered to replace the German, Mauricio Pochettino of Paris Saint-Germain and Erik ten Hag of Ajax Amsterdam are the frontrunners for the job. However, Italian outfit, Il Corriere dello Sport, have claimed that United have approached Inter Milan’s Simone Inzaghi for the role as well.

Inter looking to increase Simone’s wages to keep him at San Siro

The 45-year-old Simone Inzaghi will be out of a contract at Inter Milan next season. However, a good deal could help the manager buy out his contract at the Serie A table leaders to move elsewhere and try to replicate his successes with the Nerazurri at the new club.

Inter have been on a resurgence since current Tottenham Hotspur manager, Antonio Conte, set the ball rolling in the 2019/20 season. The Nerazurri narrowly lost out on the Scudetto in that season, but turned it around the following season to break Juventus’ chokehold on Italian top flight football.

The title was their first in 11 years, with their last being a part of a historic treble won under current AS Roma boss, Jose Mourinho.

Inzaghi is keeping that fire burning and has coached the Nerazurri to some fine performances this season, which has seen them lose only once in 20 league games this season while sitting comfortably atop the 2021/22 Serie A table.

Inter have also recently won their first trophy of the season, defeating Juventus earlier this week to claim the Supercoppa Italiana.

The Inter hierarchy are reportedly very impressed with the beginning of his reign; they are rumoured to be keen on renewing his contract soon. The renewal will reportedly come with a salary increase for the former Lazio manager at the end of the current season, to keep interested clubs away as they would not want to lose him the way they lost Conte. 

United to face Atlético for Inzaghi

Inzaghi’s playing style at the San Siro has not only caught the eye of Manchester United, but of a number of top-tier clubs across Europe.

Atlético de Madrid are seeking a long-term replacement for Diego Simeone, who has managed Los Rojiblancos for 11 years. The Argentine could call time on his career as Atlético coach any time soon, and the Spanish Giants see Inzaghi as the perfect replacement for him.

Reports claim that both United and Atlético de Madrid have made informal moves towards securing Inzaghi for their sides, but neither club have made a formal approach to the reigning Serie A champions for their manager.

Inzaghi could be disappointing both clubs, however, as he is also reported to love his job at the San Siro very much which infers the likelihood to extend with Inter Milan.

Derby County facing exit in the middle of the season as EFL threaten to kick them out

Derby County is facing the possibility of being kicked out of the English Football League as their administration issues continue.

Wayne Rooney’s Derby County are in a financial rut and the club’s administrators, Quantuma, are at their wit’s end. The search for new investors or a new owner is proving difficult, leading the EFL to believe that the club is not planning on coming out of administration soon.

Reports now claim that the EFL are threatening to kick Derby County out of the league if they do not show they have money to end the season.

There have also been heated exchanges between the EFL chiefs and Derby’s administrators, and the latest one led to the league chiefs ordering the club to present proof of funds on or before midday of February 1.

The ultimatum means Derby’s administrators have to find a bidder willing to put in funds to cover the season or sell some of their few remaining players to be able to raise funds.

Failure to do this could result in the club being kicked out and their results being removed from the table to make it look like they never participated in the current EFL season.

Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers claims part of Derby County’s problems with the EFL

It has also been reported that the latest heated exchange which led to the ultimatum being issued to Quantuma by the EFL chiefs, was due to the club’s inability to handle the claims of Middlesbrough and Wycombe.

Derby County could be bought by either of Mike Ashley, Andy Appleby’s consortium, and a mystery third party. However, the claims from Boro and Wycombe are off limits for the three new potential owners leaving Quantuma with their biggest headache.

Derby’s administrators released a statement to this effect: “The Joint Administrators have an exit plan ready to implement and be approved by creditors and this is with a view to adjusting offers received to accommodate the EFL insolvency policy and their requirements to creditors.

“The difficulty and currently, in our view, the last remaining significant obstacle is to deal with certain claims that are very much disputed but which we are being advised by the EFL cannot be currently compromised.

“Whilst we accept this is frustrating for all, none of the interested parties are able to progress matters further until such time that an agreement can be reached.

“The EFL have demanded that we prove adequate funding is in place and until as such time as we are able to do that, they will not progress player registrations.

“This includes some players where contracts needed to be extended this month. Whilst we have a number of options as to how that funding can be delivered, we are not in a position to finalise this funding.

“However we do believe this will be finalised in the coming weeks. We are urgently seeking clarification from the EFL as to why these disputed claims cannot be compromised.”

Derby County players asked to indicate if they would like to be sold to raise funds for the club

Derby, who have already been hit with a transfer embargo by the EFL, have asked the members of the squad to speak up if any of them wants to leave this January, so they can sell and secure the find which the EFL demands 

Sportsmail also reports that Mike Ashley, former Newcastle United owner, is growing increasingly frustrated with how Quantuma has handled the issues surrounding the club and could withdraw his interest in buying the club.

Manager Wayne Rooney and officials from Quantuma visited the team in training to let them know of this decision. They are currently reviewing offers and will sell a few players this month.

Arsenal hold secret talks with agents of Leicester City man over January transfer

According to reports, Arsenal have held talks with the representatives of Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans over a possible transfer this January.

The Gunners have reportedly invited the Belgian’s reps over to London Colney on a few occasions over the past few weeks to discuss his move from Leicester to London as they seek midfield reinforcements ahead of a busy period.

The 24-year-old will be out of a contract with the Foxes in the summer of 2023 and talks between both parties have failed to progress. Tielemans is reportedly looking for Champions League football and doesn’t feel confident of getting it at Leicester.

Arsenal, meanwhile, look on course to be playing in the competition next season, which could play in their favour as they seek to convince the former Monaco man to put on the Arsenal colours.

GOAL also reports that Tielemans is a long-term target for Arsenal, who, after the meeting with his reps, are now starting to put plans into place to sign the 24-year-old.

Arsenal is understood to be in the race for Tielemans alongside Liverpool, who have also been following the player for some time.

Tielemans has not rejected a new Leicester City contract, claims Rodgers

The Foxes have lost Wilfred Ndidi to the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, and will not want to lose another midfielder at such a crucial stage in the season.

However, talks of Tielemans rejecting a new contract at the King Power stadium have been quashed by Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers in the past.

“There’s reports, but there’s (been) no turning down,” Rodgers said back in October.

“I think there’s just dialogue between the club and Youri’s people. I think the club are waiting to hear back. But that’s something that’s out of my control.

“What I can control is his mentality, his commitment to the team, and you cannot question that.”

Arsenal have also lost Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey to the AFCON tournament. Granit Xhaka is out with COVID-19, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles is now with AS Roma on loan.

Manager Mikel Arteta is desperate for signings to replace them and many options have been considered, including Tielemans.

Juventus duo weighing up Arsenal move

Elsewhere, Arsenal’s targets, Juventus duo Dejan Kulusevski and Arthur Melo are reportedly interested in playing for Arsenal and would welcome a move to the Emirates this January.

The Bianconeri duo, who have both struggled this season under Massimiliano Allegri, have been linked with the Gunners in recent weeks.

Injury to Federico Chiesa, however, could prevent Arsenal from getting Kulusevski, whose stock at Juventus should rise as the club looks for a winger to play in place of Chiesa.

As it stands, there has been no contact between Arsenal and Juventus and the Gunners will now wait to decide if they’ll make a move.

Tottenham Hotspur enter race for Jesse Lingard

ESPN have reported that Jesse Lingard is Tottenham Hotspur’s and Antonio Conte’s next target.

The 29-year-old looked on course for a career revival after a blistering six months at West Ham United. Lingard chose to return to his parent club, Manchester United, to fight for a spot in the team.

That turned out to be a mistake and the midfielder is back to square one. However, his performances at West Ham are still fresh in the memories of many scouts and managers who are interested in having him replicate those performances at their clubs.

ESPN reports that outside of England, Barcelona and AC Milan are interested in the midfielder.

The latest Premier League club to be interested in Lingard is Tottenham Hotspur, who are in the midst of a squad rebuild.

Lingard, however, is assessing his options and will be making a final decision at the end of the season, as he is determined to play football for United this season.

His decision will be geared towards finding a club that will offer him regular first team football that will help him get back into the England squad ahead of the December 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Spurs begin contract extension talks with Lloris

Antonio Conte has revealed that the club and Hugo Lloris have begun talks over the captain’s contract extension.

Lloris is out of a contract with Spurs in the summer but it is believed that both parties are willing to extend their relationship.

Conte’s latest statement proves and confirms this and Spurs fans can look forward to the 35-year-old World Cup winner’s extended stay at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

“I think so, I think that they have started to talk. You know very well what I think about Hugo,” said Conte.

“Also previously I spoke and said that he’s our captain, he is a top goalkeeper for us, he has great experience. He knows very well Tottenham.

“He loves this shirt and this badge. For me he is an important player and I’m sure that they are going to find a solution for him to continue to play with Tottenham.

“I think and I repeat because I am not the person that speaks to renew the contract with the players. There is the club and the people that do this, but for sure I am very confident about this situation to be positive.”

Conte gives update about Spurs transfer window plans

Conte also spoke about his meeting with Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy, the club’s director of football Fabio Paratici, and the technical performance director Steve Hitchen.

“It was a good meeting also because when you have the possibility to speak to the owner and the sporting director – with Paratici I have the possibility to speak every day – but to have the possibility to speak with our owner it was important,” he said.

“Also because I like to have this type of relationship, to be honest and to always tell the truth. You know I don’t like to tell a good lie to keep a good relationship or to show me very soft or to be too polite.

“It was good to tell the truth and it was a good meeting. Now for me it’s ok, I asked the club time to take my evaluation. The club asked after one month to have a meeting and I said no, I prefer to have another month to make the right evaluation. It’s honest, to give more time to me and also the players, to show me who deserves to stay here.

“Now the situation is very clear and I had this meeting, I was satisfied to have this conversation with the owner and now it’s ok for me.

“Now I have only one way. It’s on the pitch and the training sessions every day. My only way to improve the situation is to improve the level of my players and this way the level of the team is going to rise.

“Then, the club know the situation and if they want to help me another way I appreciate it. Otherwise, I continue to work the way I am working.”

Arsenal transfer news: Arsenal identify two Brazilians to solve midfield problems

The search for midfielders has taken Edu Gaspar and Arsenal to Brazil where they have identified two potential long-term solutions to their midfield problem.

The Gunners will be without Thomas Partey and Mohammed Elneny as both midfielders will be representing their countries at the 33rd African Cup of Nations which starts on Sunday, January 9 2022.

The North London club has also lost Ainsley Maitland-Niles who has gone to AS Roma in the Serie A on loan for the rest of the season, further thinning their midfield. They also saw their bid for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho fail as the former Liverpool man chose to move to Aston Villa for the rest of the season to reunite with his former teammate Steven Gerrard.

Head coach Mikel Arteta admitted that Maitland-Niles’ departure means that Arsenal will have to double up their efforts to find midfielders who will fit their style for the rest of the season.

“We are very, very short at the moment,” Arteta said to journalists on Friday. “We are going to move and look for options because we are very short there.

“If it’s the right player, we can afford and we can do what we want to do, we will discuss it and come to the best possible decision. We are open.”

Here is the latest news from Arsenal’s efforts to find the best midfield talents to strengthen their squad ahead of a busy January window.

Arthur Melo approach considered by Arsenal to Juventus

The 14-time FA Cup champions have discussed the potential loan signing of out-of-favour Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo according to reports.

Arthur Melo moved to Juventus in 2020 from Barcelona in a swap deal that saw Miralem Pjanic move to Camp Nou. Neither move has worked out for both clubs, but Barcelona have managed to find a temporary solution for Pjanic by sending him to Besiktas in Turkey on loan.

Arthur, meanwhile, is in limbo at Juventus where manager Massimiliano Allegri only uses him when his hands are forced. The former Gremio talent has failed to impress in Europe since after his first season at Barcelona.

Juventus now want to cut their losses on the 25-year-old and have put him on the market. He has attracted quite a few suitors, with Arsenal being one of them.

Transfer insider Fabrizio Romano reports that Arsenal’s technical director, Edu Gaspar, is considering a loan move for Arthur in order to provide Mikel Arteta with enough options in the midfield in this crucial time of the season.

The Golden Premier League trophy holders are yet to reach out to Juventus, however, as the discussions are still being held. Reports on Arsenal’s decision will be made available in the coming days.

Arsenal target 20-year-old Brazilian Serie A star who plays for Palmeiras

Another young Brazilian could be making his first forays into Europe like Gabriel Martinelli, according to reports.

Danilo, 20, is a midfielder that is attracting a lot of attention from sides in the top five European leagues and Arsenal is reported to be one of those sides.

Brazilian outlet R7 claims that Edu has presented a €20 million bid to Palmeiras for Danilo who has been noted to have similarities with Thomas Partey who Arsenal will be without in the coming weeks.

Sources in the Arsenal camp claim that Danilo is seen as a long term successor to Granit Xhaka who could be leaving the Emirates at the expiration of his contract in 2024. However, he is also very raw and will need some working on before he is fully ready to take on the rigour of a top-five European League and possibly, European competitions as Arsenal are on course to make it back into either the Champions League or the Europa League next season.

His club, Palmeiras, is also one of the richer Brazilian clubs and this could stand in the way of his transfer to Arsenal as a €20 million bid could be deemed unimpressive by the club.

Three other names on Arsenal’s radar

Fabrizio Romano also claims that Arsenal are monitoring three other midfield options for a January transfer.

Olympique Lyonnais’ Bruno Guimaraes – another Brazilian – has been a long time target of Edu’s but it is reported that a deal for the midfielder could be unlikely as Lyon are demanding £40 million for his transfer.

In recent weeks, the Gunners have also been tipped to move for Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria who is also being monitored by the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool.

The Gunners are also monitoring another Serie A player in Empoli’s 20-year-old ace Samuele Ricci, who has been dubbed “little Jorginho”.