TOP STORY: Stones tops Arteta’s Arsenal wish list
John Stones could be in line for a stunning Premier League switch, with new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta keen on signing the England international, The Sun reports. The City defender is represented by the same agency as Arteta and would be keen to discuss a move, even if it’s only on loan.
Stones’ season has been plagued by injury and loss of form, with no sign of a new contract offer from City and just two years left to run on his deal at the Etihad.
The Sun claims that there is also an understanding that City boss Pep Guardiola has lost faith in Stones, a potential problem ahead of this summer’s Euros, with England manager Gareth Southgate keen to see the 25-year-old featuring regularly for his club side.
Arsenal’s defensive struggles have cost them this season. No team in the top 10 of the Premier League has conceded more than the 31 goals the Gunners have shipped this term.
08.48 GMT: You may have noticed that Barcelona sacked manager Ernesto Valverde last night, then hired Quique Setien as his replacement.
This may well have repercussions over their transfer business in January but find out all you need to know about the new man here.
Sid Lowe says Quique Setien will be embraced by Barcelona purists because of his style of play.
08.28 GMT: Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina joined Aston Villa on a short-term deal from AC Milan on Monday night.
The 37-year-old, who has also played for Barcelona, Villarreal, Bayern Munich and Napoli and was part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, was mainly a back-up to Milan No. 1 Gianluigi Donnarumma during his time at the San Siro.
Villa were keen to sign a goalkeeper after their first-choice Tom Heaton sustained a season-ending injury.
Reina spent eight years at Liverpool between 2005 and 2013, winning an FA Cup, a Football League Cup, a FA Community Shield and a UEFA Super Cup.
08.00 GMT: Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says he will continue to play Christian Eriksen despite acknowledging the midfielder is not playing at his best for the club as he edges closer to leaving.
According to The Times, the 27-year-old has agreed a deal in principle with Inter Milan over a four-year contract worth £100,00 a week after tax.
Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay against Middlesbrough (stream the match LIVE at 3:05 p.m. ET on ESPN in the U.S.): “Is this the best Christian Eriksen? I have to be honest and say no. I know the reasons, I’m not an idiot.
“A player in this situation, even if he wants — and I am not criticising him… It’s normal a player in this situation doesn’t perform in the highest level. But he is helping us in matches he has played for us. He’s had positive performances and contributions like against Olympiakos and Norwich.”
Spurs take on Middlesbrough at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday and will potentially then have a fourth-round tie as well as Premier League fixtures against Watford and Norwich before the January transfer window closes.
“He plays tomorrow,” Mourinho said of Eriksen. “After that I have a match on Saturday and he maybe plays on Saturday again. I cannot tell you much more than that.”
Craig Burley thinks Donny van de Beek would be wise to stay at Ajax for the moment.
PAPER TALK (by Tom Fenton)
Atletico ready Lacazette as Cavani backup
Atletico Madrid are set to splash out for a new striker in the coming weeks. PSG forward Edinson Cavani is thought to be the Spanish giants’ first choice but, according to Marca, Diego Simeone’s second option might well be Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette.
Simeone is reportedly desperate to land a forward, but with PSG potentially keen to hold on to Cavani, other options such as Lacazette could now be assessed. The Spanish publication reports that the France international has hinted at his desire to move to the Wanda Metropolitano but has thus far failed to see a move materialise.
Should Atletico bid for the 28-year-old, it is likely that fellow Frenchman Thomas Lemar could be sent in the opposite direction, after enduring a torrid time in La Liga since arriving in 2018.
Van de Beek set for blockbuster summer move
Ajax fans might be forgiven for thinking that the pillaging of their major assets is finally over for the time being, but if Sky Sports News is to be believed, they might be about to lose yet another star man next summer.
Sky claims that Donny van de Beek is likely to leave Amsterdam, with the Premier League a possible destination. The Dutch playmaker has most recently been linked with the likes of Manchester United (via ESPN sources) and Real Madrid, following last season’s heroics in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old is expected to remain at Ajax in the short term, despite claims that he could depart this month. However, it’s certain that if the four-time European champions do eventually decide to sell, they will have an array of suitors waiting to snap him up.
– After a disappointing spell at Leeds, youngster Jack Clarke is set to go out on loan once again — this time at fellow Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers, reports Sky Sports News The outlet reports that a deal is imminent between the midfielder’s parent club, Tottenham, and QPR, now managed by Mark Warburton.
– Southampton bosses are set to meet for a “transfer summit,” with the future of Che Adams expected to be at the top of the agenda. Leeds Live claims that Ralph Hasenhuttl is meeting club chiefs in an attempt to map the future direction of the club, with a decision yet to be made regarding the immediate future of the in-demand Adams.
– Arsenal are one of several clubs monitoring teenage sensation Isaac Lihadji, La Provence reports. The 17-year-old winger plays for Marseille, but after he recently failed to agree a new deal with his employers, some of Europe’s biggest clubs are now set to tussle for his signature.