8am Arsenal news LIVE: Kolasinac’s wife held by police at UK airport, Tagliafico open to Gunners transfer, Auba latest – The Sun

ARSENAL have returned to training in small groups as the Premier League takes its first baby steps towards a restart.

But will Gunners fans ever see captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the flesh again as PSG prepare to test the water with a £35m transfer bid?

Follow all the latest updates and gossip from North London below…

  • TAGLIAFICO TO ARSENAL EXCLUSIVE

    Arsenal are chasing Ajax star Nicolas Tagliafico in a £20m deal – as Mikel Arteta searches for a new left-back.

    The Gunners are understood to be keen on a left-back this summer, to allow Bukayo Saka to move naturally further up the pitch and provide cover for the injury-prone but highly-rated Kieran Tierney.

    Tagliafico is is open to a move to the Emirates, and believed to want to test himself in the Premier League next season.

    The full-back has been touted around Europe, and his reps have had contact from clubs during the Covid-19 break.

    On top of this, he has an agreement with Ajax to let him leave this summer, as long as an acceptable offer comes in.

  • GOOD MORNING, ARSENAL FANS

    Mikel Arteta looked as perky and healthy as ever as the Arsenal boss confirmed both his own recovery from coronavirus and the return of serious training.

    The Spaniard’s positive Covid-19 test in March was the trigger for the suspension of football across the country.

    But Arteta oversaw – from a distance – stars like David Luiz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shkodran Mustafi during strictly-controlled, socially-distanced practice sessions.

    Talking of skipper Aubameyang, Gunners fans have been pulling their hair out with frustration this summer – amid continuing stories linking the striker with numerous other clubs – now including PSG.

    But this time the suggestion was that the Gabon superstar had been doing something like that himself – as photos posted by Arsenal showed his lockdown locks in a rather unflattering manner.

    At least speculation over a switch to a major Premier League rival seems to have faded – with Chelsea even briefly mentioned, along with longer-term admirers Manchester United.

    Meanwhile, centre-back Mustafi has been linked with AC Milan – despite his improved form since Arteta took over.

    Todo Fichajes claim the Germany ace, 28, is not part of Arsenal's long-term plan. 

    The Gunners and Chelsea are both said to be tracking 18-year-old full-back Kaan Kurt, who has been playing in the German fourth tier for Borussia Monchengladbach II.

  • STUN GUNNER

    The Wag held for bringing a stun gun into the UK was the wife of Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac.

    Anxious Bella Kolasinac, 27, bought the weapon for ­protection following a knife attack on her husband and Gunners team-mate Mesut Ozil in the street last year.

    Security fears saw her flee to Germany soon after and she obtained a legal permit there to carry an “electro shocker”.

    But she did not realise the powerful device was illegal in Britain — and yesterday The Sun told how she was held by Border Force officers at London Biggin Hill Airport when it was found in her luggage.

    She could have been jailed for six months for importing a banned weapon but was let off with a caution after the flight from Frankfurt on Sunday.

    A spokesman for Kolasinac, 26, said: “It was all a misunderstanding. The electro shocker was still in its packaging and didn’t have any batteries.

    “Bella was able to prove she sent emails to the flight operators to make sure she could import it.”

  • NO SIGN OF PEPE PAYBACK

    Jeremie Aliadiere has his doubts about Nicolas Pepe's £72million transfer fee.

    The former Arsenal striker said: “I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player.

    “So, I’m not denying his talent.

    “What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football.

    “And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists.”

  • BAYERN DECLINE TO PAY COUTINHO FEE

    Bayern Munich will spark more talk of Philippe Coutinho returning to the Premier League by declining to pay a £110million option to buy the Barcelona playmaker.

    Chelsea, Manchester United, Aarsenal and even old club Liverpool have been linked with the Brazil star, 27, although financial restraints due to the coronavirus pandemic make a summer transfer less likely.

    Bayern chairman  Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Der Spiegel: “The option expired and “we haven't activated it.

    “Now we're going to draw up squad planning internally (for next season) and we'll see if he still has a role to play with us or not.”

    Coutinho started just 15 of Bayern's 25 games, coming on as substitute eight times, before the Covid-19 lockdown halted football action. 

    But with Barca insisting he could still have a role back at the Nou Camp, he hopes to impress now the Bundesliga has restarted.

  • MIK'S EMOTIONS

    Mikel Arteta led the way at Arsenal training yesterday to show he has made a full recovery from coronavirus.

    The Spaniard’s positive Covid-19 test in March was the trigger for the suspension of football across the country.

    But Arteta was pictured back on the grass at London Colney and Gunners stars David Luiz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shkodran Mustafi looked happy to see their fit-again boss again during the social distancing session.

    As Arsenal continued to prepare for Project Restart next month, Premier League clubs have been asked how they want to finish the season in a shock move.

    Officials are keen to know what way the table would be settled if the full 38-game campaign does not end.It is the first step towards a vote on the ideal outcome and one that will get the necessary 14-club backing.

    The plan is still to play on and restart the matches next month, but a date has not been decided yet and the Prem need a set plan if that fails.

  • FUTURE IS UP IN THE PIERRE

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future seems more up in the air than his air.

    Just as the Arsenal skipper was mocked on social media for his untidy locks on returning to training, so he was being linked with PSG, in addition to longer-term suitors Barcelona.

    The Gabon striker is entering the final year of his contract, although Premier League interest seems to have died down, Manchester United having initially been rated as strong contenders.

  • PREM 'CONFIDENT' OF RETURN

    Premier League chief executive Richard Masters insists they are “as confident as we can be” about restarting in June.

    He said the Prem would be “flexible” about a restart date, having previously targeted June 12 after the coronavirus pandemic halted action on March 13.

    Masters told the BBC: “There is some momentum. We've taken the first step.

    “It's great for everybody, including the fans, to see our players back on the training ground.”

    He said the Prem would learn from the Bundesliga's return last weekend, which went smoothly despite being behind closed doors.

    British football could even be played out to empty stands until next year.

  • SPLIT END OF THE PIERRE SHOW

    Shocked fans have been teasing Arsenal skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over his post-lockdown hairstyle after the Gunners put out photos of the players back in training.

    The Gabon striker himself seemed to relish the return to practice sessions, albeit strictly controlled and individualised.

    But supporters were less than charitable about less-flattering locks, posting comments in social media like “Lol what happened to Aubameyang” amid coiffure comparisons to Liverpool frontman Sadio Mane.

  • CUT-OUTS FOR SHUT-OUTS

    Three Premier League clubs are interested in having cardboard cut-outs in empty stands when top-flight football returns.

    SunSport understands those behind the new ‘Stay at Home – Be at the Game’ project have held talks with club officials – two sides in the top half of the table – about adopting the concept.

    If those discussions prove successful, then £20 recyclable and water-proof cut-outs could be placed in stadiums when the Premier League resumes in June.

    Some of the money raised will be donated to the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.

    Top US sporting bodies like the NBA and MLS have also shown an interest as international sport looks set to return behind closed doors in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    It is the brainchild of ingenious German super-fan Ingo Muller, who has organised almost 14,000 cut-outs of fans and season-ticket holders for his beloved Borussia Monchengladbach.

    It will go live to the world when the Bundesliga side face Bayern Leverkusen at the Borussia-Park on Saturday afternoon.

  • GAEL HOWLS AT DEFENCE

    Ex-Arsenal left-back Gael Clichy has slated the Gunners for leaking too many goals.

    Admitting that his spell in North London also saw them concede too many, he said: “Even today’s team they have that quality to score four goals in 10 minutes.

    “Don’t ask me why Arsenal have always been able to do this but they can also even today concede goals for fun.”

  • MILAN'S TAF LOVE

    Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi is being linked with AC Milan – despite his improved form since Mikel Arteta took over as Gunners boss.

    TodoFichajes claim the Germany star is not part of Arsenal's long-term plan.

    And they say the 28-year-old is on a list of rearguard targets for Serie A giants Milan, who are worried about their poor defensive record.  

  • STRICTLY BALL ROOM

    With the Gunners back in training at London Colney, Arsenal have underlined what a different world it is practicing under the coronavirus lockdown.

    In a statement on their website, they say: Our first-team squad is strictly abiding to the Government protocols which were developed with club doctors, independent experts, players and managers.

    “They will undergo regular testing for COVID-19 and must keep a safe, two-metre distance from each other at all times as they work outside.

    “Only players and key staff are permitted at London Colney at this time.

    Our players must bring their own kit, boots and water bottles with them each day.”

  • GUNNERS WILL BE PATENT

    Arsenal target Willian has reiterated that he is keen to stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, even if that means playing into July and August.

    The Brazilian, 31, has a contract till June 30, but according to the Athletic the winger will continue at Stamford Bridge no matter what.

    The terms of any short-term deal into July and August are unclear.

    And Willian is wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of next season, with no shortage of options elsewhere around Europe.

  • KURT-SHIP

    Arsenal and Chelsea are both tracking German teenager Kaan Kurt.

    The full-back has played this season for Borussia Monchengladbach II in the country's fourth tier but has yet to appear for the club’s first team.

    Kurt, 18, who has played at German international youth level right through until the under-19s, mostly plays as an attacking right-back but can also operate on the left.

    He is contracted with Gladbach until 2022 and would cost about £4million.

    Kurt also played three times for Turkey's under-17s and has attracted interest from Fenerbahce.

  • VID-S THE BILL

    Mikel Arteta will look again at signing World Cup star Domagoj Vida to sure up their defence.

    The Gunners’ shambolic defence has been an Achilles heel for three consecutive managers, Arteta included.

    According to Turkish paper Aksam, the required sum to sign the 31-year-old former Dynamo Kyiv ace is just £6million.

    Such experience could be crucial adding some steel to Arteta’s defence with William Saliba set to come in at the end of the season.

    Vida was impressive alongside Dejan Lovren in Croatia's march to the World Cup final two summers ago and had been tipped for moves to one of Europe's big clubs, but he went to Besiktas in the end.

  • BAME CONCERNS

    The Government will today be asked for immediate research on whether BAME players are at enhanced risk by the planned return to contact training, reports MARTIN LIPTON.

    PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes will urge the country’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van Tam, to intercede and demand proper answers.

    The fears of the players has been articulated by Watford’s Troy Deeney, worried about the impact of potential Covid-19 infection on his five-year-old son.

    Chelsea have also given fearful N’Golo Kante dispensation not to return to training unless he feels confident in his health and safety.

    But while Barnes has previously spoken to Premier League chiefs over the concerns, asking for more research to be undertaken before the green light can be given by the players, the union chief will now press the issue again.

    By going direct to Van Tam at a three-way video meeting this afternoon, also attended virtually by League bosses and medical chiefs, Barnes wants to make it clear that the issue must be properly addressed before players will assent to a full training ground return.

  • ROBERT THE GOOSE

    Ray Parlour has revealed that Arsene Wenger told Pat Rice to stop having a go at Robert Pires, because he would go into his shell.

    Parlour told talkSPORT: “Arsene Wenger knew exactly the characters he could have a go at and the players he couldn’t.

    “I remember Pat Rice, we came in at half-time in one game and Robert wasn’t playing well, and Pat went to have a shout at him…

    “But Arsene Wenger said: ‘No, shut up Pat!’

    “’Keep going Robert,’ he said. ‘Keeping getting the ball, keep trying’.

    “You knew if you had a go at Robert you might as well take him off, because he wouldn’t respond to that.

    “Other players respond to people having a go at them, so as a manager you really have to know the characters you can really have a go at and will respond to it, and Arsene Wenger had that.”

  • GRIEF IS A THIEF

    Jose Antonio Reyes’ heartbroken mum Mari has lost 6st while grieving for the ex-Arsenal star after his tragic death.

    The former Real Madrid winger's dad Paco was speaking to Spanish publication Marca almost a year on from the 116mph car crash that took his life.

    He said: “You can't even imagine [the pain].

    “My only way out is to go to the cemetery at nine in the morning and home again.

    “We didn't leave here [our house] at all. My wife has already lost 6st and she hasn't stepped onto the street.

    “I haven't even seen a football match.”

  • PRICE WAS A TAD DIERE

    Jeremie Aliadiere has his doubts about Nicolas Pepe's £72million transfer fee.

    The former Arsenal striker said: “I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player.

    “So, I’m not denying his talent.

    “What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football.

    “And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists.”

  • ON THIS DAY

    It was 15 years ago that Patrick Vieira lifted the FA Cup after the Gunners beat Manchester United on penalties in the FA Cup final.

    The domestic cup was the last major trophy he won with Arsene Wenger's side.

  • WILL POWER

    Arsenal target Willian has reiterated that he is keen to stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, even if that means playing into July and August.

    The Brazilian, 31, has a contract till June 30, but according to the Athletic the winger will continue at Stamford Bridge no matter what.

    The terms of any short-term deal into July and August are unclear.

    And Willian is wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham ahead of next season, with no shortage of options elsewhere around Europe.

  • DANI’S DATE

    Has Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos revealed the start date for the Premier League?

    The Spaniard, on loan from Real Madrid, has suggested the players are getting ready to restart on June 20.

    The 23-year-old told RTVE: “We are going to start a week late with respect to what is being talked about in Spain, which is June 12, and we are going to start the league on the 20th.

    “Forty-eight hours ago we passed the tests and the truth is that the entire team have given a negative result.”

  • 'TYPICAL ARSENAL'

    Clichy has also described how the Gunners conceded four goals after being 4-0 up at Newcastle in 2011, infamously drawing 4-4 at St James' Park.

    He told Premier League Productions: “This was typical Arsenal.

    “We could go anywhere and play anyone off the park then all of a sudden we could crumble in just a few minutes.

    “We were young, we had plenty of talent but people were talking about what we were missing and maybe that was a bit of experience.

    “We were an amazing team but we lacked character, if you want.

    “Even with a lead of three goals, we could feel the fans pushing and after the second goal I could feel that it was going to be difficult [to win].”

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