7am Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Coutinho for Guendouzi SWAP, Willian LATEST, Ozil OUT of FA Cup final, Balogun bid – The Sun
ARSENAL can secure a route into the Europa League if they beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final this Saturday evening.
Meanwhile the Gunners have expressed an interest in Jack Grealish while Mikel Arteta has reportedly demanded the board do whatever it takes to sign Philippe Coutinho.
Get all the latest news and transfer gossip from North London here…
FIRST FINAL AND BEST
SOL CAMPBELL EXCLUSIVE: Goals of “sublime magic” from “committed Ray parlour and Freddie Ljungberg won a“real nip and tuck match against a quality Chelsea side”. Here's his verdict:
This was my first FA Cup final and, like so many other youngsters, the magic of the FA Cup was imprinted in me growing up.
When I started playing and competing at the highest level, I hoped I would get the chance to get to the final and experience what I had watched in awe as an impressionable lad.
I was lucky enough to win the FA Cup four times and all three of them are very special in so many ways.
But this first one stands out because everything was new to me.
And we won the game with two of the most wonderful goals, in the way you would want to win an FA Cup final.
I look back with such fondness on this match.
It was a great pleasure to be part of that Arsenal side with so many players who had the ability to produce that bit of skill and a moment that would win you a game.
CARDIFF FINAL WAS SPECIAL!
SOL CAMPBELL EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Arsenal defender looks back to the 2002 FA Cup final, when his Arsenal side beat Chelsea 2-0 – 18 years before they meet again at Wembley on Saturday.
DON’T get me wrong, I grew up dreaming of playing at Wembley — and whether it was the old or new stadium it was always special.
But the thing I remember about this 2002 FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was the decibel levels pitchside.
The way the stadium has been built, it retains the atmospherics in the middle.
So the noise of the fans made it virtually impossible to talk or shout to team-mates during the game. It was quite incredible.
And that was with the retractable roof open!
To try to convey a message to my left-back or right-back, a distance away, I had to adapt and use body language and watch more intently than I would do normally to cover the lack of anyone hearing me.
It was completely alien to my normal game.
It’s amazing to think more than 18 years after that ferocious, deafening, cacophony in the Welsh capital, tonight the same two clubs will walk out to a wall of silence at Wembley.
The whole thing feels eerily unreal.
EMILIANO MUST STAY CALM IF DROPPED
David Seaman believes Emiliano Martinez is a chip off the old block.
But the legendary ex-Arsenal keeper has warned the club's No.1 challenger — don’t throw a fit if you’re benched again.
Argentine shot-stopper Martinez has filled in since Bernd Leno’s knee injury against Brighton in June — impressing the Gunners hierarchy.
He has had to wait almost a decade to get his shot at a starting spot for Arsenal, but Seaman – who made 564 appearances for the club – says he needs to remain calm if Leno is brought back into the side.
Seaman said: “Martinez has been out on loan with a lot of other clubs in his career and he has been playing good football. He is still young, only 27.
“I was 26 when I signed for Arsenal and I had a lot of experience before that in first team football. He is similar to me in that respect. “
'MY BOILER EXPLODED IN QUAKE'
Robbie Burton added of the quake: “I was woken up by it and heard all my wardrobes rattling and my bed was shaking.
“My apartment was damaged. A couple of the walls cracked, the boiler exploded and it leaked everywhere. I had to get that fixed. It was eventful.
“The city is quite old and a lot of buildings had a lot of damage. Hopefully everything is okay now and starting to settle down.”
'SCARIEST EXPERIENCE EVER'
Robbie Burton lived through the biggest earthquake to hit Croatia since 1880.
The ex-Arsenal midfielder had been at Dinamo Zagreb for just over a month when the quake struck on March 22, killing one person and injuring 27.
Its epicentre was seven kilometres north of the Croatian capital but the 5.3 magnitude tremor caused almost £5billion worth of damage to historical buildings, including the parliament.
Burton’s own apartment was affected as the earthquake shook his bed, rattled his wardrobes, the walls cracked and his boiler exploded!
Burton, 20, said: “It was crazy and probably the most scary experience of my life.
“It was weird being here on my own and I didn’t know what to do. I’d never been in an earthquake before so I didn’t know how to deal with it.
“I phoned my mum and dad straight away at six o’clock in the morning. I felt bad for them because they were on the other end of the phone and there was nothing they could do.”
Arsenal have told Brentford they want £8million for rookie striker Folarin Balogun.
This is despite the 19-year-old never playing a first-team game and out of contract next summer.
Sky Sports report that Brentford, who will meet Fulham in the Championship play-off final, enquired about Balogun in January.
But despite the teenager never looking like getting a start for the Gunners, he was kept hold of.
Balogun is regarded as one of the most promising talents in the Arsenal academy, having gained a reputation as a deadly finisher in front of goal.
Able to also represent Nigeria on the international stage, Balogun first came to attention during the 2017/18 season when he chipped in with 12 goals in 25 games.
Arsenal want at least £8m for Brentford target Folarin Balogun.
That's the claim from Sky Sports over a 19-year-old striker with no first-team experience.
The New York-born starlet will be a free agent next summer unless he does a U-turn and agrees a new Gunners' contract.
Man Utd have the best scoring record for players 26 and under – based on these stats.
But there is one anomaly in the figures regarding Spurs and their England skipper Harry Kane…
Mesut Ozilis reportedly OUT of tomorrow's FA Cup final clash with Chelsea after spending time in Turkey.
The German hasn't even featured on the Gunners' bench since the 2-0 victory over Southampton on June 25.
And there will be no return to action against the Blues at Wembley.
According to Gooner Talk's Chris Wheatley, Ozil has spent “the last few days” in Turkey and is out of contention entirely.
A back issue is the official reason for the 31-year-old's absences of late.
Prior to English football's restart, Ozil had started every single Premier League match under Mikel Arteta.
But the German World Cup winner has found himself frozen out since.
MAG YOUR MOVE
Gabriel Magalhaes' entourage are reportedly in the UK to hash out transfer talks with Manchester United and Everton chiefs.
Lille owner Gerard Lopezadmits the Brazil centre-back, 22, who has also been linked with Arsenal, is likely to move on this summer.
Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to sign a long-term centre-back partner for Harry Maguire, despite Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho sitting top of his transfer wish list.
United signed Maguire for £85million from Leicester last summer while Victor Lindelof, 26, has been at Old Trafford since 2017.
But their performances together this season have left some at United concerned and even more desperate to land a new defender.
IN WITH A SHOUT FOR COUT
Arsenal could land Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho for just £9MILLION and Matteo Guendouzi, according to reports.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is certain to continue a squad overhaul in the summer despite the uncertain economic times due to coronavirus.
And according to The Independent, Arsenal appear a likely destination in a cash plus player move.
Arteta is desperate to offload Guendouzi after bombing him out of the squad for the final few games of the season.
And Barca are reportedly keen to consider the French midfielder as a makeweight in any deal.
But with Juventus also interested in Guendouzi, Arsenal will have to play their hand carefully.
Another option to bring Coutinho to North London would be a season-long loan.
PIERRE SHOULD BE PROUD TO BE HERE
When asked whether he felt it could be Aubameyang’s last game in a Gunners shirt, manager Arteta said: “No, I don’t have that feeling.
“It’s a package at the end, you need to have a lot of ingredients on the table to persuade a player of his level to be at this football club.
“It is a massive day. I wouldn’t like to talk or link too much these two factors but it’s a reality obviously that financially it would be really helpful and obviously from the sporting side as well to play in Europe for this club is a must.
“Don’t forget that he still has a contract here with us and we want to keep him and do it in a more long term.
“But at the moment he is with us and I think he should be really proud of where he is as well.”
NOT AUBA AND OUT VS BLUES
Arsenal fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Mikel Arteta hassuggested the FA Cup final against Chelsea will NOT be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's last match for the club.
But the North Londoners are relying heavily on winning the FA Cup and more importantly, on nabbing a Europa League spot for next season to fund a major offer for Auba.
Auba has just one-year left on his deal and the North Londoners are desperate to renew their skipper's contract.
Boss Arteta has even urged the club to get a deal done on more than one occasion in recent weeks.
However finances have often proved a stumbling block for the cash-strapped Gunners, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
If Arsenal qualified for the Europa League, it would provide a huge financial boost to Arteta’s hopes of revamping the squad and holding onto Auba.
BEST OF FRENEMIES!
Mason Mount looked up to David Luiz for years – on Saturday he will look him straight in the eye.
Chelsea’s bright, young midfielder admits he was totally starstruck when the colourful Brazilian dropped into the nursery at his former club as the academy kids were being put through their paces.
It sparked a friendship which lasts to this day and Mount has much to thank his one-time team-mate for.
But the pair will be on opposite sides in Saturday's FA Cup final and there is too much at stake for Mount to go easy on an old pal.
Mount, 21, said: “He was always brilliant with the younger boys coming through the academy. I’ve a picture with him when I was probably about 13.
“He would come over and watch us play and train and he was always brilliant with the younger boys. I always looked up to him
“You know David, he’s a very jokey character. He would come over and have a laugh with the younger boys. For us, seeing him come over, it was obviously someone we all look up to.
LIKELY CHELSEA TEAM
Frank Lampard is searching for his first piece of silverware since taking the top job at Stamford Bridge last summer.
The Chelsea boss has a big selection dilemma on his hands with Kante and Willian nearing full fitness while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has suffered a knock in training.
The West Londoners are yet to triumph in an FA Cup final against their London rivals after tasting defeat in 2002 and again in 2017.
Lamps won the FA Cup four times as a player and knows he will have to pick the perfect XI to come out trumps against Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Willian was left out against Wolves last time out due to an unspecified injury but is expected to be fit for Wembley.
But the Blues boss still faces a massive selection headache over the Brazilian following a bombshell announcement by his agent.
Willian is out of contract at the end of this season and his advisor revealed the player has a concrete offer on the table from one of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals.
BETIS JOIN DANI FIGHT
Arsenal have been joined in the race for Dani Ceballos by Real Betis.
The midfielder spent this season on loan with the Gunners from Real Madrid and the North Londoners want to extend his stay.
But it now seems Mikel Arteta's men have competition from Ceballos' homeland.
Real Betis have just hired former West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini and club chief Antonio Cordon seems ready to back the Chilean in the transfer market.
Cordon told Spanish outlet Onda Cero: “We all know how good a player Ceballos is, we know his past and he's a very interesting player.
“Going forward, we're going to have a look at our staff, our squad and how we're going to play.
“The boss [Pellegrini] has a lot of ideas.”
SOB THE BUILDER
David Luiz has won a legal battle against a construction company that called him “amateur” and used a photo of him crying in one of their adverts.
The Arsenal ace has received around £4,400 in compensation, according to uol.com.
Wemake Construction used the famous image of Luiz crying after Brazil were hammered 7-1 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
Luiz sued the company for misuse of image and moral damage.
The initial complaint was thrown out but Luiz, who last season set the record for most penalties conceded over the course of a campaign, won on appeal.
Judges ruled the second time round that the construction company could not have used Luiz's image without his permission.
IS THIS THE CUP FINAL TEAM?
Mikel Arteta has insisted Arsenal's supporters deserve the “joy” of an FA Cup win.
The Gunners – who are the most successful team in the competition's history – will be up against Chelsea.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice as Arsenal booked their spot in the final with a win over Manchester City.
The Gabon international is expected to keep his spot in the starting XI for Saturday's trip to Wembley.
And this time he could form part of a front-three alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe.
Here's how the Gunners could turn out…
GUNNERS AND KOP EYE TEEN KEEPER
Arsenal and Liverpool are chasing 17-year-old keeper Ricardo van der Laan, reports say.
The Portugal Under-18 starhas drawn admiring glances from around Europe with his displays for Belenenses' academy sides this season.
Having come onto the radar with his youth-team performances, van der Laan earned the step up to the Liga NOS side's Under-23 team.
According to O Jogo, the two Premier League giants head a lengthy queue to secure the hot prospect's signature.
And with just a year remaining on the youngster's contract, Belenenses are facing a tough ask to keep hold of him.
GRANIT WAS 'VERY CLOSE' TO LEAVING
Granit Xhaka has admitted he was “very, very close to leaving the club” following horrific abuse from his own fans.
Xhaka was booed by sections of the Emirates support as he was substituted against Crystal Palace earlier this season.
He then told fans to “f*** off” as he made his way to the touchline.
Xhaka was promptly stripped of the captaincy by then-boss Unai Emery and dropped from the squad for five games.
CAN'T EAR YOU
Jack Grealish sent fans into meltdown as he shared a cryptic post to his Twitter page.
The 24-year-old's future at Aston Villa remains in doubt amid interest from Arsenal and Manchester United.
But his latest social media post appears to show he is not listening to the transfer rumours.
The Villa skipper posted a picture of himself with his fingers in his ears with his 318,000 followers.
One fan replied: “Kindly open them when beloved Arsenal call. Thanks.”
Another added: “Unplug those ears mate, Ed Woodward has £250,000-per-week waiting for you.”
And one joked: “Put your fingers in your ears if you're coming to Spurs.”
Chelsea winger Willian reportedly has a number of offers on the table ahead of his contract expiring.
At the end of the season, the Brazilian will have his pick of several top clubs – plus a big money deal in the States.
According to Sky Sports, Barcelona, Inter Miami, Arsenal and current club Chelsea all have deals on the table.
The largest in terms of salary is said to be David Beckham's MLS side Miami, who joined the league this year.
That contract would run until the end of their 2023 campaign, with Barcelona also meeting the three-year minimum requirement set out by the player himself.
Willian's agent, Kia Joorabchian, has stated that as many as five teams want to sign the 31-year-old when his contract expires.
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