Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez fly in for Arsenal medicals

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Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez fly in for Arsenal medicals

Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal
Shkodran Mustafi will reportedly sign a five-year deal at Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez are closing on moves to Arsenal after flying in for pre-deadline medicals on Friday.

Sky in Germany are reporting Mustafi, a central defender, will sign from Valencia on a five-year deal after weeks of negotiations between the two clubs, with a fee which could rise to £35m understood to have been agreed this week.

Mustafi, 24, was on Everton’s books as a youngster and played for Sampdoria before joining Valencia in August 2014.

Lucas Perez Arsenal
Lucas Perez is due in London for a medical

Deportivo La Coruna striker Perez is also poised to move to the Emirates, with manager Arsene Wenger saying he was “99 per cent confident” he will have strengthened his squad before the transfer window closes next Wednesday.

“Will we sign anyone before the window closes? I’m 99 per cent confident. I hope we will have done all our business before the last days of the window,” Wenger said.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he has found this transfer window difficult
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he has found this transfer window difficult

“It was a strange transfer market, I expected it to be easier than ever, it has been more difficult than ever.

“It looks like it will be frenetic in the last three days, everyone has sat on money but we know they will all splash out now.”

Mustafi’s arrival will be a huge boost to Wenger. Despite signing 20-year-old Rob Holding from Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal are perilously thin at centre-half with club captain Per Mertesacker sidelined until the New Year and Brazilian Gabriel Paulista ruled out for four weeks.

INTER Milan are looking to sign Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez

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INTER Milan are looking to sign Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez’s future at the Emirates is unclear as he enters the final two years of his contract, with the Chilean yet to indicate he wants a new deal.

INTER MILAN  Alexis Sanchez
INTER Milan are looking to sign Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez with an audacious £69million bid, according to reports.

Arsene Wenger insists there’s no cause for concern despite being in the same boat withMesut Ozil.

But Italian champions Juventus have already tried their luck after losing Alvaro Morata, and news outlet Don Balon claims Serie A rivals Inter will be the next to test the waters.

New boss Frank de Boer has reportedly told club chiefs he wants to use newly-invested Chinese money to bring Sanchez to the San Siro this summer.

The former Ajax boss is allegedly ready to cash in on Argentine striker Mauro Icardi in order to free up more funds and space in his squad, with a £69m in the works.

Arsenal have been credited with showing interest in Icardi, and Inter could use that to their advantage as they look to make Sanchez the club’s best-paid player.

The report adds the Gunners ace is open to the move, having already played in Italy for Udinese before sealing a switch to Barcelona.But Sanchez will expect annual wages of £7m if he leaves the Emirates, and Wenger could now face an important decision as transfer deadline day looms on the horizon.

The Frenchman has signed just one big-money senior player in Granit Xhaka, and fans have become deeply frustrated by failed attempts for the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Shkodran Mustafi.

The pair could yet end up in north London if Wenger is willing to dig deep, but the long-serving boss appears reluctant to dip into Arsenal’s well-stocked transfer kitty.

Rob Holding has done an admirable job during pre-season following his low-key move from Bolton, but supporters are concerned by injuries to defensive trio Per Mertesacker,Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista.

However, Wenger could opt to sign Jeremy Mathieu instead of Mustafi before the month is out, with the Barcelona veteran a much cheaper and more viable option than his Valencia counterpart.


Arsenal confirm signing of Granit Xhaka

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Arsenal confirm signing of Granit Xhaka

Arsenal Granit Xhaka  Borussia Mönchengladbach
Arsenal confirm signing of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach

Arsenal have confirmed the arrival of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach as their first major signing of the summer, with the Switzerland international having signed for an undisclosed fee believed to be an initial £25m.

Negotiations with the Bundesliga club have been on-going over the last few weeks and Mönchengladbach have accepted a fee that could rise in future.

The 23-year-old, who made his name at FC Basel before moving to Germany four years ago, had indicated a desire to move to England with Arsenal looking to bolster their central midfield ranks with both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini to be released when their contracts expire at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

The Swiss passed his medical at London Colney last week and has now finalised personal terms. “I’m very proud to be joining Arsenal,” said Xhaka in a statement on Arsenal’s website. “I cannot wait to move to London, represent this special club and play in the Premier League. I will give everything to help Arsenal win trophies and make the fans happy.”

He later added: “I like the style of football in the Premier League. It’s aggressive and I like the way Arsenal play football. It’s not like other countries. In Germany you can play aggressively but the referee will always blow his whistle, but in England that’s not the case. That’s better for me. I’m an aggressive player and also a leader. I’m only 23 but I captained a good team in Germany.

“When I was younger, even though I had a big brother, my parents would give me the house key every day. It’s in my head that I am a leader and captaining Mönchengladbach was very good for me.”

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: “Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience. We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad. We wish Granit a good Euro 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season.”

Xhaka had indicated he wanted his future clarified before the European Championship finals and was granted a standing ovation by Borussia’s supporters in his final appearance for the club, a 2-0 victory at Darmstadt which secured a fourth-placed finish, last week.

The midfielder has been capped 40 times and will play against his parents’ homeland, Albania, in the opening group game at Euro 2016. His older brother, Taulant Xhaka, will represent Albania.

On this day: Eduardo da Silva suffers broken leg at Birmingham City

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On this day: Eduardo da Silva suffers broken leg at Birmingham City

When Arsenal made the trip to Birmingham City eight years ago today, they did so as league leaders who had not lost any of their last 10 Premier League matches, having won eight of those.

The lead over their closest challengers, Manchester United, was five points, but by the end of the weekend events at St Andrews, coupled with United’s 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle United, saw that advantage cut to three.

Having scored in recent wins over Everton, West Ham United and Manchester City, summer signing from Dinamo Zagreb Eduardo da Silva was starting to have an impact for the Gunners at a crucial time.

However, his season was ended in just the third minute against Birmingham when he suffered a sickening injury. The Croatian international beat Martin Taylor to the ball, but the Birmingham skipper could not stop his follow through as he caught the Arsenal striker on the shin, which snapped his fibula and dislocated his left ankle.

Taylor was instantly dismissed by referee Mike Dean, while the players who remained on the pitch were visibly distressed by what they had witnessed. Following seven minutes of treatment, which included oxygen being given to the striker, Eduardo was stretchered from the field of play.

In terms of the action, 10-man Birmingham broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when James McFadden was brought down just outside the area by Mathieu Flamini. McFadden then dusted himself down to convert the resultant free kick with a curling effort.

The visitors, understandably, appeared to remain perturbed by their stricken teammate, but within 10 minutes of the restart they were in front thanks to young England international Theo Walcott.

First he scored from close range, and then he embarked on a solo run that saw him slot the ball into the bottom corner of Maik Taylor‘s net.

It seemed as though Walcott’s intervention had sealed all three points for Arsene Wenger‘s charges, but as the match entered stoppage time, Birmingham snatched a point.

Gael Clichy hauled down Stuart Parnaby inside the area and McFadden stepped up to power in the resultant penalty, much to the anger of Arsenal defender William Gallas, who sat on the pitch after the final whistle, almost in tears.

While Arsenal had dropped two points in the title race, unsurprisingly it was the injury to Eduardo that dominated the thoughts of both managers.

An unhappy Wenger said: “It goes with the idea that to stop Arsenal you have to kick Arsenal and that kind of thing was waiting to happen. Many people have got away with too many bad tackles. We’ve escaped a few times but it’s just not acceptable. If that is football, it’s better to stop it.

“The worst thing you hear after is that ‘he’s not the kind of guy who usually does that’, but you need to only kill one person one time – it’s enough.”

As for Birmingham boss Alex McLeish, he jumped to the defence of Taylor: “I’ve seen the challenge and, yes, the studs land on Eduardo’s ankle. In slow motion these tackles always look bad, but he’s not a malicious player – Eduardo was just too quick for him. The referee’s done his job, it’s a sending-off, but Taylor’s not a malicious player.”

It was an injury that ruled Eduardo out of action for 12 months, but he struggled to hold down a regular spot in the team upon his return and was eventually sold to Shakhtar Donetsk in July 2010.

BIRMINGHAM: Maik Taylor; Kelly, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Murphy; Larsson (Nafti), Johnson, Muamba, Kapo (Zarate); McFadden, Forssell (Parnaby)

ARSENAL: Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Senderos, Clichy; Walcott (Denilson), Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb (Silva); Eduardo (Bendtner), Adebayor

Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League preview and Live stream

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Arsenal v Barcelona Champions League preview and Live stream

Alexis Sanchez against Barcelona

It’s a big game for…

Alexis Sanchez: The Chilean has been outstanding for Arsenal since leaving the Camp Nou in July 2014, scoring 35 goals for the Gunners, and it is the first time he will face his former club, Barcelona. The 27-year-old has netted three times in the Champions League this season, despite only recently returning from a hamstring injury he suffered in November.

>>Click for Live Stream Arsenal v Barcelona<<

Best stat…

4: Barcelona have won four of their seven meetings with Arsenal, which have all come in the Champions League. The Catalans have only lost once to the Gunners – a 2-1 defeat when they last met at the Emirates in 2011.

Remember when…

Lionel Messi scored four goals against Arsenal in the 2009/10 Champions League campaign, as Barcelona progressed to the semi-finals.

Player to watch…

Luis Suarez: The former Liverpool striker returns to England for the second time since joining Barcelona on a rich run of form – having scored 15 goals in nine games in all competitions. With five goals in the Champions League to date, the Uruguayan has been the most prolific of his Barcelona team-mates. Suarez knows Arsenal well, from his time with Liverpool, and will look to capitalise on that in the first leg.

Past three-meetings…

Barcelona 3 (Messi 2, Xavi) Arsenal 1 (Busquets OG), Champions League, March 2011

Arsenal 2 (van Persie, Arshavin) Barcelona 1 (Villa), Champions League, February 2011

Barcelona 4 (Messi 4) Arsenal 1 (Bendtner), Champions League, April 2010

Arsenal site dedicated to gooners

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