5.15pm Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Gunners LEAD Coutinho race, Partey bid REJECTED, Aubameyang ‘happy’ but may leave – The Sun

ARSENAL missed out on Europe by only finishing eighth in the Premier League, but could secure a route into the Europa League by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Skhodran Mustafi will miss his second cup final after undergoing surgery on his hamstring.

While we have the latest on Thomas Partey and Phillipe Coutinho as Mikel Arteta looks to add to his squad.

Get all the latest news and transfer gossip from North London here…

  • COUT AND DRY

    Brazil legend Rivaldo reckons Arsenal target Philippe Coutinho should return to England this summer.

    The Barcelona flop, who was on loan at Bayern Munich, has also been linked with Chelsea and Man Utd.

    Rivaldo told Betfair: “Philippe Coutinho will soon return from his loan at Bayern to Barcelona, but I doubt he can revive his career there.

    “His best option could be returning to English football where he spent the best seasons of his career and in which his qualities seem to be best suited, as he proved at Liverpool when he was one of the best players in the Premier League.

    “At Arsenal, Tottenham or Leicester, Coutinho could be a regular starter next season.

    “It would be a good opportunity for the Brazillan to rediscover his best form and show that he continues to be an excellent player who belongs to the elite.”

  • NEXT TIER

    Danny Murphy believes Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney will never be as good as Scotland teammate and Liverpool rival Andy Robertson.

    He told the Glasgow Times: “No. Robertson just has an unbelievable, consistent performance level and mentality.

    “The fitness he has got and the quality in the final third, I say no because the level is so high. He has set the bar as a left-back remarkably high.

    “He is in the top three in the Premier League for assists and what both fullbacks are doing at Liverpool is phenomenal.

    “But Arsenal have got a really good signing there in Tierney and he is only going to improve.”

  • GIN & TONIC

    Germany international Matthias Ginter is reportedly on Chelsea and Arsenal's radar – but Inter Milan lead the fight for the defender.

    Reports in Ginter's homeland suggest a number of clubs are competing for his signature after he helped Borussia Monchengladbach qualify for next season's Champions League.

    Inter are searching for a long-term replacement for veteran centre-back Diego Godin and have eyed Ginter for a transfer, according to Sky Deutschland.

    Also said to be keen are Chelsea and Arsenal although their interest is thought to be lower than the Serie A club.

    Ginter made 36 appearances in all competitions last season as Borussia's early title challenge faded to a fourth-placed finish.

    A nine-year career so far has been evenly split by the 26-year-old between hometown team Freiburg, Borussia Dortmund, and Gladbach.

  • PHIL IT COMING

    Arsenal are leading the race to sign Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

    Mundo Deportivo report the Gunners are in pole position to swoop for ex-Liverpool playmaker Coutinho after talks with his agent Kia Joorabchian.

    Joorabchian is believed to have a good relationship with Arsenal‘s head of football and transfer guru Raul Sanllehi.

    The pair are said to have begun negotiations over a potential move to bring the Brazilian playmaker to the Emirates.

    But – in a blow to Mikel Arteta‘s side – Barcelona will reportedly outright reject the offer of a money plus player deal involving outcast Matteo Guendouzi.

    The Catalan giants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and are only interested in a pure cash deal.

  • MAN DOWN

    Manchester United and Arsenal have seen their values plummet – with Liverpool on the brink of becoming the Premier League's most-valuable club.

    The Red Devils have seen their worth drop £143million, while the Gunners have depreciated by £150m.

    Meanwhile, Liverpool – the new champions – have seen their value rise by £64m as they close-in on fierce rivals United.

    The Reds have risen to fourth in the rankings of the most-valuable clubs in the world, according to the Brand Finance Review.

    They marginally trail Man Utd, with Real Madrid and Barcelona the runaway leaders.

    Despite still sitting at No1, Los Blancos saw over £200m knocked off their value.

  • MAD TO LET HIM GO

    Arsenal are reportedly nearing a fresh loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos.

    The Spaniard was slow to make an impact at Emirates Stadium but has finished the season strongly under Mikel Arteta.

    And the Gunners boss wants to seal his countryman’s services for another campaign with the Mail reporting that a second loan looks likely.

    Real Madrid are said to want £30million if Ceballos leaves on a permanent deal, with no purchase option agreed when he moved to North London last summer.

    Therefore Arsenal are thought to favour a loan deal.

    Real charged the Premier League side £3.5m a year ago, as well as Ceballos‘ full £55,000-a-week wages.

  • FREE FOOTY

    Fans will be able to watch both the Champions League and Europa League finals for FREE next month, BT Sport have confirmed.

    The British broadcaster will also air every single match as both tournaments finally reach their climaxes in August.

    Resuming from the remaining round of 16 matches, both competitions will lead up to a bumper final weekend.

    The Europa League final will take place on Friday 21 August in Cologne, while the Champions League’s showpiece match will go ahead two days later in Lisbon.

    And fans will be able to watch both matches for FREE, by accessing either the BT Sport app or BT Sport YouTube channel.

  • PUT A SOK IN IT

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reportedly told Sokratis Papastathopoulos that he no longer has a future at the club.

    football.london claims that the Spaniard has bluntly told the 32-year-old that he will not be required next season.

    The report adds that Arteta believes Sokratis does not fit his tactical plan and he will not play significant games under him.

    Yet his stance has not prompted the Greek defender to consider leaving Arsenal and he hopes he can change his head coach's mind.

    Sokratis still has a year left on his contract and his attitude in training means that he won't be frozen out of the squad like Matteo Guendouzi.

  • FEEL THE BERND

    Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno is back in training ahead of the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

    The German shot-stopper has been out of action since suffering a knee injury against Brighton back in June.

    The Gunners No1 injured knee ligaments in the club's 2-1 defeat to the Seagulls on the south coast.

    He appeared to twist his knee in an incident with eventual matchwinner Neal Maupay at the Amex.

    Leno was stretchered off the field but found time to launch a verbal tirade at Maupay.

    Initial fears were that he could be out for a year but they turned out to be wide of the mark.

  • AUBA-SEAS

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “happy” at Arsenal – but could ditch the Gunners for a move abroad, according to reports.

    Speculation over the 31-year-old's future is rife, with the Gabon international having entered the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract.

    The North Londoners are desperate to renew their skipper's contract, with boss Mikel Arteta having urged the club to get a deal done on more than one occasion in recent weeks.

    Aubameyang himself will make the final decision, however, as he weighs up key factors.

    The Athletic report that although he has an “excellent relationship” with Arteta and his team-mates, Aubameyang recognises that Arsenal are at the start of a rebuild and that as a player in his thirties, he may not be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his new boss' labour.

    Head of football Raul Sanllehi is currently the man tasked with trying to convince Arsenal's No14 that the Emirates is the best place to spend the final years of his prime.

  • MURPHY'S LAW

    Danny Murphy is insistent that Kieran Tierney will never be as good as Andy Robertson.

    When asked by the Glasgow Times if the Gunners left-back could emulate his Scotland team-mate, the BBC pundit said: “No. Robertson just has an unbelievable, consistent performance level and mentality.

    “The fitness he has got and the quality in the final third, I say no because the level is so high. He has set the bar as a left-back remarkably high.

    “He is in the top three in the Premier League for assists and what both fullbacks are doing at Liverpool is phenomenal.

    “But Arsenal have got a really good signing there in Tierney and he is only going to improve.”

  • MORNING ARSENAL FANS

    The Gunners have been dealt a blow ahead of the FA Cup final after Shkodran Mustafi announced he has undergone surgery on his right hamstring.

    He said: “Missing out the @EmiratesFACup Final for the second time. The good news is that the surgery went well and that I am not the type of guy who gives up easily.

    “After the disappointment I accepted the situation and I am now focused to recover to be back on the pitch.”

    In other news, Arsenal have reportedly had an offer of £22.7million plus Matteo Guendouzi for Thomas Partey rejected by Atletico Madrid.

    According to the Guardian, Arsenal’s first offer of £22.7m plus a player was turned down by Atletico earlier this month.

    The report adds that the Gunners have since returned with a new bid of £22.7m plus Guendouzi but that has also been rejected.

    Meanwhile Mikel Arteta has reportedly told Sokratis Papastathopoulos he no longer has a future at the club.

    Football London claims that the Spaniard has bluntly told the 32-year-old that he will not be required next season.

    The report adds that Arteta believes Sokratis does not fit his tactical plan and he will not play significant games under him.

    And finally, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “happy” at Arsenal – but could ditch the Gunners for a move abroad, according to reports

    The Athletic report that although he has an “excellent relationship” with Arteta and his team-mates, Aubameyang recognises that Arsenal are at the start of a rebuild and that as a player in his thirties, he may not be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his new boss' labour.

    Head of football Raul Sanllehi is currently the man tasked with trying to convince Arsenal's No14 that the Emirates is the best place to spend the final years of his prime.

  • WILLI PLAY?

    Frank Lampard's FA Cup Final plans have been thrown into turmoil over the future of Brazilian star Willian.

    Chelsea’s boss faces a massive selection headache following a bombshell announcement by his agent amid interest in the winger from Saturday’s opponents Arsenal.

    Willian, 31, 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.

    Arsenal are red-hot favourites to snap up long-serving Willian who has been demanding a three year deal to stay on.

    Willian’s wife dropped a big hint on Instagram back in March by writing: ‘it’s not been easy but good things are on the way’ at the same time picturing the couple’s two daughters wearing red – Arsenal’s colours.

    But Willian’s representative insists no decision will be made until AFTER the game – leaving head coach Lampard the dilemma of whether to pick a key player to face a team he may be joining in just a couple of weeks’ time.

  • TIER-ING ME APART

    Kieran Tierney admitted his first season with Arsenal was the “toughest year of my life”.

    The left-back, 23, signed from Celtic for £25million last summer but his first campaign south of the border was disrupted by injuries.

    Tierney told the Arsenal website: “It's been the toughest year of my life.

    “I've had the injury and a lot of new challenges but you need challenges, you need to be uncomfortable. You need to challenge yourself to improve.

    “I worked hard every day and I knew it wasn't going to be easy coming to this massive club full of great players.

    “I knew it was going to be tough coming in and trying to get my place in the team. I'm just grateful for every opportunity I get to go on the pitch and give my all.”

  • TEAM NEWS

    Arsenal have revealed Hector Bellerin is back in training after he was rested against Watford ahead of the FA Cup final clash against Chelsea on Saturday.

    Speaking about the right-back, a club statement said: “Left out of squad on Sunday as a precaution due to tightness in right calf.

    “Hector has resumed training with the squad.”

  • THE BREAKDOWN

  • CLOUD NINE

    Nine Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool tried to stop Manchester City overturning their European ban.

    City were slapped with a ban from all Uefa European competitions for two seasons after “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play in February.

    Pep Guardiola's side were also hit with a £27million fine.

    But the Court of Arbitration for Sport controversially overturned the ban earlier this month.

    CAS also reduced the fine to £9m after City's appeal and today released a 92-page document with full details from the case.

    Within the pages CAS revealed the reasons behind their decision which split opinion.

    And one was that almost half the teams in the Prem had written to them to oppose City asking for a “stay of execution” on their ban.

    Burnley, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs and Wolves were the other sides to come forward.

    The statement read: “On March 9 2020, nine Premier League clubs filed an application for intervention…for the limited purpose of opposing any possible application by MCFC to request for a stay of execution of the Appealed Decision.”

  • COMM ON BACK

    EXCLUSIVE – Community Shield will be played on August 29 – and fans are likely to be allowed into Wembley to watch the game.

    The season curtain-raiser is scheduled for the last Saturday in August with Liverpool taking on the winners of this weekend's FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea.

    And the FA are a long way down the line in talks with the government to allow supporters to watch the game – the first time any fans will have been back in a football ground since mid-March.

    They want the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to give the green light to the match being the maiden test event involving football for the return of fans back in stadiums.

    The hope is the green light will be given later this week, which would allow a reduced capacity of around 15,000-20,000 to be present while observing social distancing guidelines.

    It would be the first opportunity Liverpool fans could get to celebrate with their players since they were crowned champions earlier this month.

  • SEASON'S GREETINGS

    West Ham have become the first club to announce season ticket holders will enter a ballot for every game before knowing if they can watch the team in action.

    SunSport revealed last week how Premier League clubs were looking to stage lotteries on a regular basis to determine who would be allowed into grounds when fans are finally allowed back into stadiums.

    The government hopes to give the green light to people to watch sporting events from October 1, but at hugely reduced capacities to allow for social distancing measures to be enforced.

    The Hammers are the first top flight team to reveal details how it would all work after publishing their season ticket policy for the new campaign.

    Season tickets will be sold as per usual, but for every game staged at the London Stadium a ballot will be held to decide who gets to be there in person.

    Those who miss out will be given a cash refund for the value of that game which would be paid within 30 days of it being played.

  • GUNNED DOWN

    Shkodran Mustafi will miss the FA Cup final against Chelsea after he took to Twitter to announce he has undergone surgery on his right hamstring.

    He said: “Missing out the @EmiratesFACup Final for the second time.

    “The good news is that the surgery went well and that I am not the type of guy who gives up easily.

    “After the disappointment I accepted the situation and I am now focused to recover to be back on the pitch.”

  • AUBA-SEAS

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “happy” at Arsenal – but could ditch the Gunners for a move abroad, according to reports.

    Speculation over the 31-year-old's future is rife, with the Gabon international having entered the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract.

    The North Londoners are desperate to renew their skipper's contract, with boss Mikel Arteta having urged the club to get a deal done on more than one occasion in recent weeks.

    Aubameyang himself will make the final decision, however, as he weighs up key factors.

    The Athletic report that although he has an “excellent relationship” with Arteta and his team-mates, Aubameyang recognises that Arsenal are at the start of a rebuild and that as a player in his thirties, he may not be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his new boss' labour.

    Head of football Raul Sanllehi is currently the man tasked with trying to convince Arsenal's No14 that the Emirates is the best place to spend the final years of his prime.

    Aubameyang will head to France on holiday after Saturday's FA Cup final with all this on his mind, unless he can come to a decision in the next few days.

  • MAN (UTD) ABOUT TOWN

    Manchester United are officially the most-popular football team on the planet.

    After a DECADE-long study of Google trends, Footy.com have confirmed the Red Devils are the top-followed club on Earth.

  • AUBA EXCITED

    Arsenal fans think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new deal after video crews were spotted filming next to Thierry Henry's statue.

    The striker's contract is set to expire next summer and he has not yet reached an agreement with the club to extend his stay.

    ut fans went wild after an image from outside of the Emirates did the rounds on Twitter.

    It showed a film crew recording footage next to the statue of Gunners legend Henry.

    As Aubameyang, 31, now wears Henry's iconic No14 jersey, supporters think an announcement video is on the way.

    One said: “Production crew at the Emirates today doing a video which includes Thierry Henry's statue. We all know who the current number 14 is.”

    Another supporter replied: “Epic spot. Why would FA Cup promo use smoke machines? Generally they just do fancy light work.”

    One Twitter user added: “The only reason they might use the Henry statue is the transition of the No14 jersey.

    “Auba sign that thing. It can't be a FA Cup promo video, the final is less than week, the video would have been done immediately after the victory over the Citizens.”

  • PUT A SOK IN IT

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reportedly told Sokratis Papastathopoulos he no longer has a future at the club.

    Football London claims that the Spaniard has bluntly told the 32-year-old that he will not be required next season.

    The report adds that Arteta believes Sokratis does not fit his tactical plan and he will not play significant games under him.

    Yet his stance has not prompted the Greek defender to consider leaving Arsenal and he hopes he can change his head coach’s mind.

    Sokratis still has a year left on his contract and his attitude in training means that he won’t be frozen out of the squad like Matteo Guendouzi.

  • AL BE STAYING

    Inter Milan are close to extending ex-Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez’s loan deal from Manchester United for next season, according to reports.

    Gazzetta dello Sport report Inter CEO Beppe Marotta is “on the verge” of closing out a deal to see the Chilean spend next year in Milan.

    A deal for next season is reportedly close to being finalised but Inter are also keen to reach an agreement for an extension to cover the end of the current European campaign.

    The existing deal with the Red Devils flop ends on August 5.

    But Inter do not restart their Europa League campaign against Getafe until that very day, so an extension is necessary if he is to feature.

    However, the Italian side faced some initial opposition from Old Trafford chiefs who rejected an extension with United still in the same competition.

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