Messi Rates Ozil Ahead Of Coutinho

Barcelona ace Leo Messi rates Arsenal attacker Mesut Ozil ahead of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

Both attackers have been linked with Barca ahead of the January market.

And Don Balon says Messi has told Barca chiefs to consider signing Ozil next summer instead of Philippe Coutinho.

Messi feels Ozil would be a smarter buy compared to the Liverpool playmaker.

The German is off contract in June and still to settle on new terms with the Gunners.

Liverpool, meanwhile, rejected three bids from Barca in the summer for Coutinho, 25, and rate him at €200m.


Wright Talks On Eddie Nketiah’s Signing

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has hailed the instant impact of Eddie Nketiah last night.

The striker scored twice for victory over Carabao Cup opponents Norwich City last night.

Nketiah has made a handful of appearances in the Europa League this term but is still a relatively unknown figure at Arsenal.

However, Wright was able to shed some light on the youngster.

“We know he got released from Chelsea when he was 14,” he said. “And Arsenal picked him up within a week. So they were obviously impressed by him.

“He scores lots of goals at the under 23 level.”

“I’m delighted for him.

“We’ve seen he’s got an eye for goal. His two goals he’s scored he’s in the right place.

“So long it may it continue for him.

“Hopefully he can continue and break in [to the first team].”


Young Nigerian Makes Progress In Arsenal

A young talented Nigerian goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo is making good progress at Arsenal and took another step forward in his bid to make his first-team debut for the Gunners.

Okonkwo, who celebrated his 16th birthday last month, finally made his competitive debut for the U18s in a 2-0 loss to Leicester City at the Leicester City Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.

The England youth international got a chance to make his debut due to a number of promising academy players being rested ahead of the U23s clash with Tottenham on Monday and Tuesday’s League Cup match against Norwich City.

He had been included in Arsenal’s 18-player squad for U18 Premier League games on ten occasions prior to today’s clash against Leicester City.

Okonkwo is thought to be highly regarded by manager Arsene Wenger as the Frenchman invited him to train with the first team last month ahead of the League Cup match against Doncaster Rovers at the Emirates Stadium.

Super Eagles striker Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom are products of Arsenal’s Hale End Academy.

Wenger Offers To Save Walcot’s Career

Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger is ready to give Theo Walcott a fresh chance to rescue his Gunners’ career.

Walcott has a little more than 18 months left on his present contract and has been linked with a move away should his situation not improve.

But it is understood the forward’s preference is to remain at the club he joined almost 12 years ago, providing he is rewarded for his commitment to more regular opportunities.

Wenger said, “He looks back to a very good shape. I felt it took him some time to come back to his real level. He had a difficult start, maybe, but since the start of the season he looks highly motivated and focused. I am impressed with what he is doing and the way he’s coping with the situation.”

Sanchez Snubs Arsenal Manager Over Contract Dispute

The Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez whose Gunners future remains up in the air appeared to blank his boss prior to a session at the club’s London Colney facility on Wednesday.

Wenger, who was embarking on his ritual of shaking each of his players’ hands before putting them through their paces, was acknowledged by Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil but a photograph shows Sanchez apparently walking on by.

They saw Sanchez head on towards a group of his team-mates instead of approaching Wenger, though the Gunners manager did not offer his hand to his star striker and appeared to say ‘I’ve already done you’.

Wenger’s habit of greeting each of his players and staff, in turn, has been a staple part of Arsenal life throughout the Frenchman’s reign.

Sportsmail columnist and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has previously explained Wenger’s ritual.

‘Wenger introduced it but I think when he first arrived he wasn’t sure who he was shaking hands with. But I thought it was a good thing,’ he said.


Arsenal Fed-Up Of Ozil’s Slow Down

Arsenal management believes Mesut Ozil has downed tools.

Arsenal players are actively trying to find a January buyer for Ozil amid growing concerns over his motivation.

A number of the attacker’s team-mates are convinced Ozil’s days at the Emirates Stadium are numbered and that it is inevitable he will not extend his contract.

Arsenal staff are growing increasingly worried at the Germany star’s lack of application so far this season as he runs down the remaining eight months of his contract.

Sources claim his effort in training has dropped significantly in recent months; the dip even been noticed by players.



Wenger Coming Strong On Next Play-Off

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he will field a strong side for Thursday’s Europa League visit to BATE Borisov, despite a 4000km round trip in the middle of a spell of three games in seven days.

The second round of group-stage matches also sees AC Milan visit Croatia’s Rijeka, Everton host Cypriots Apollon Limassol and Nice face Vitesse Arnhem, with 24 games in total.

Wenger hinted grudgingly that he would not make wholesale changes despite a visit to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday after club record signing Alexandre Lacazette scored twice in a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

“We have to accept it, but I will go with a team of senior players, and certainly a young bench,” said the Frenchman, whose side came from behind to beat Cologne 3-1 in their opener.

“We play Monday night, we play in Borisov on Thursday, and we play Sunday morning. For the team selection, it has an impact.”

Belarusian champions Borisov, who are unbeaten in their previous seven European home games and drew 1-1 at Red Star Belgrade in their first match, could have to face the likes of Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez.

Run ragged in a 3-0 defeat at Italians Atalanta last time out in what coach Ronald Koeman called a “wake-up call”, Everton host Apollon, who held French outfit Lyon to a 1-1 draw two weeks ago.

The Liverpudlians can thank former outcast Oumar Niasse for their 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the weekend, as they rallied from a poor start to the season with the forward scoring twice as a substitute.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan are another misfiring team despite heavy investment from their new Chinese owners.

Coach Vincenzo Montella is under pressure to ring the changes after a 2-0 loss to Sampdoria, they’re second in the league this season.

“It’s not about finding who is to blame. The club management has just told me to intervene to ensure there are no more games like this,” he said after a meeting with his bosses on Monday.

Nice striker Balotelli scored his fifth goal in four games in a 2-2 draw with Anger on Friday, ahead of their game with Vitesse Arnhem, which sees close-season signing Wesley Sneijder returned to the Netherlands.

Balotelli scored twice as Lucien Favre’s side hammered Zulte Waregem 5-1 two weeks ago, after the disappointment of their Champions League play-off defeat by Napoli.

Source: The Guardian

Nigeria Recalls Alex Iwobi For Zambia Tie

Alex Iwobi Arsenal forward  Arsenal forward on Tuesday by Nigeria for next month’s crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against their main rivals Zambia.

Iwobi, 21-year-old was ruled out of the double-header against Cameroon earlier this month with a thigh strain but should be fit for the next game in Uyo on October 7.

The Super Eagles top Group B with 10 points and with Zambia on seven and just two rounds of matches to go a win for Nigeria puts them in the finals in Russia.

Also in the group but already out of contention are African champions Cameroon in third with just three while Algeria props up the table with one point.

Forward Ahmed Musa, who has yet to feature for Leicester City this season, was a surprise call-up after coach Gernot Rohr said his selection was based on current form and match time.

Rohr dropped goalkeeper Dele Alampasu, who has not played for his Portuguese club, Cesarense.

Nigeria squad to play Zambia in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on October 7:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United/RSA), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyi Ubah), Ayodele Ajiboye (Plateau United)

Defenders: William Ekong (Bursaspor/TUR), Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta/CYP), Leon Balogun (Mainz 05/GER), Elderson Echiejile (Sivasspor FC/TUR), Uche Agbo (Standard Liege/BEL), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes/FRA), Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City/ENG)

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Tianjin Teda/CHN), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC/TUR), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense/POR), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva/ISR), Mikel Agu (Bursaspor/TUR)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City/ENG), Moses Simon (KAA Gent/BEL), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC/ENG), Odion Ighalo (Chang Chun-Yatai/CHN), Victor Moses (Chelsea/ENG), Anthony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva/ISR)

‘Arsenal Won’t Sacrifice Competitions’

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said the club cannot afford to ignore any competition, unlike rival managers who have questioned the value of the League Cup.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho suggested scrapping of the League Cup could help avoid fixture congestion and would help English clubs become more competitive in European competitions.

The Portuguese manager was also backed by Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola, who played down the significance of the League Cup.

Wenger’s Arsenal, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years and are playing in the less prestigious Europa League.

“You cannot sacrifice deliberately any competition with the pressure that every club is under now,” Wenger told reporters ahead of Arsenal’s home match against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Monday.

“You know that you could pay the price sometimes for it because you know that if you go further in the League Cup, at some stage you play in the semifinal – home and away in January.

“(So) you have the FA Cup, the Premier League and sometimes you lose players in these competitions.”

Wenger is set to face left-back Kieran Gibbs, who returns with West Brom at the Emirates for the first time since leaving Arsenal in the transfer window.

When asked if Gibbs’ transfer move felt like losing a family member, Wenger replied: “Of course. And I believe that for (players that leave) it must be difficult to make that step as well.

“He did not ask to leave, it was a mutual decision. He wanted to play – his 27, or 28. You want to play at that age.”

The Frenchman also admitted it was also difficult to sell midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool.

The 24-year-old England international has since struggled to make a breakthrough at Anfield, starting only once since joining the Merseyside club last month.

“Of course I sympathise with (Oxlade-Chamberlain), with everybody,” Wenger said. “But we’re in a job where you have to accept that you are judged every day on your performances.

“But the level of your performances is not permanent. It’s down to you to respond to that.”

Following their league assignment, Arsenal visits Belarusian side BATE Borisov in Europa League on Thursday.



Source: SuperSport

‘I Will Find Another Club’ – Abou Diaby

Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby insists he’s not giving up on his career.

Diaby was cut loose at the end of last season by Olympique Marseille.

The Frenchman has plans to find a new club in January, telling BeinSport: “The idea is to find a club in the winter mercato. I have three good months to be able to prepare well, to integrate into a club and to play later.

“I take this as a fight, the struggle of my life. I always had goals, I wanted to know how far I could go. It is true that after there were my problems of injury but everything calls me to be patient and to fight to find a solution favourable to my problem.”



Man City Fear Losing Alexis Signing To PSG After Stunning Offer

Manchester City fear being trumped by PSG in the race for wantaway Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez.

City boss Pep Guardiola was confident the 28-year-old wanted to join them, despite a failed £60m pursuit in the previous transfer window.

But Paris Saint-Germain is ramping up their interest and want him to partner Neymar and Kylian Mbappe upfront.

Sanchez met with PSG chiefs in the French capital this summer, where they discussed a potential transfer.

He demanded a staggering £400,000-a-week, which the Ligue 1 side admitted they could not afford to pay.

But Unai Emery’s team did tell him they would hand him a hefty signing on fee and top City’s offer of £275,000-a-week.

It is understood PSG will offload Edinson Cavani, who recently had a bust-up with Neymar over a free-kick to make way for Sanchez.



Source: Tribal Football