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Arsenal star midfielder set to miss Gunners game away to Qarabag and UEFA Europa League final

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Arsenal football club could miss the services of their Armenian international midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan when they face Qarabag in the group stages of this season’s UEFA Europa League in Azerbaijan and if the North London club reaches the final of the competition which is to be played in Baku, Azebaijan.

The Gunners have been paired with Azerbaijani side Qarabag, Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon and Ukrainian side Vorskla in group E of the competition.

There has been diplomatic tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, with a ceasefire declared in 1994 after fighting erupted several years earlier. This situation has degenerated into a situation where the country of Azerbaijan have banned the entry of Armenian citizens regardless of any links to the neighbouring country.

For Mkhitaryan, this is nothing new. In 2015 when he played at Borussia Dortmund, He was left out of the trip to Qabala in Azaerbaijan when they played Gabala football club.

At the time Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told reporters: ‘It’s a conflict situation between two countries. This can happen. We have taken the decision together. Had it been the semi-final, we would have maybe decided differently,’

‘We’ve talked to the player again, and it’s the best decision for all involved. There’s a bit of discomfort. Henrikh’s not upset to stay behind.’

While UEFA’s stand on this issue is summed up in its statement to Press Association Sport as saying:

‘It is a standard procedure for UEFA to send letters of support to associations, clubs or embassies in order to obtain visas for players in order to be able to travel to another country and play in UEFA competition matches.’

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino in 2015 stated unequivocally that:

‘At the end it’s always the decision of the state whether visas can be granted or not. It’s not up to UEFA to grant or not grant visas.’

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Arsenal

This player will make Arsenal title contenders

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Nathan Ake

If i’m not exaggerating, Arsenal are presently one of best teams in the Premier League and they are capable of challenging Manchester City for this season’s Premier League trophy.

The Gunners have been able to turn things around under Unai Emery and they now look more dangerous and determined to lift their first Premier League trophy in 12 years anytime soon.

After 16 matches, the Gunners have recorded just two defeats, the best unbeaten run they’ve recorded after the 2003-04 invincibility.

Irrespective of their wonderful form, the Gunners need to add at some players to their squad in the next transfer market.

Despite their unbeaten record, the Emirates outfits have not been convincing at the back of the pitch. Emery has watched his players conceded 23 goals in 16 matches, a confirmation that there is an urgent need to add a quality defender to his backline as soon as possible.

Apart from the unimpressive defensive record, Emery has got to add one or two players to his team. This is because the Gunners are presently depleted as results of injuries to key members of the team.

One player that Emery should be targeting in January is Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake.

Since his move out of Stamford Bridge, the defender has developed every aspects of his game. His quality and no-nonsense character has made the Cherries looked more solid and organized at the back.

Ake is not afraid to make sliding tackles, neither is he scared to engage in aerial duels against opponents. His ability to make breathtaking tackles and off-the-line clearance are just too awesome.

Apart from ensuring great display at the heart of defence, Ake is also good at the left side of defence.

Arsenal are lacking quality players at the left-back position. Nacho Monreal is far becoming too old to cope with the stressful and rigorous nature of the League.

Sead Kolasinac, who was brought to the Emirates stadium as the Spaniard’s replacement two seasons ago, hasn’t live up to his billing and reports are claiming he could be sold out to interested clubs in January should he fail to improve.

It’s important to know that he is just 23 years of age, this means that Arsenal are securing their long-term future should they eventually capture Ake’s signature.

The agile defender will help bring more quality to the team at the back for many seasons to come, hence, the Gunners won’t have any reason to search for a new center-back in nearest future except there are injury crises.

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Arsenal

Perfect match! This youngster is the best man to replace Danny Welbeck

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Danny Welbeck

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is reportedly in search of Danny Welbeck’s replacement as the England international won’t be in action for the rest of the campaign as a result of the injury.

The Spanish manager has been linked with some top players and reporters are claiming the former Sevilla boss is more than willing to spend big in the upcoming transfer market.

Welbeck’s replacement is right at Emery’s fingertips!

Taking a second look at Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Qarabag on Thursday, there, was a surprise name in Emery’s starting XI — Bukayo Saka.

Bukayo Saka, 17, is one of the breakthrough stars from the Hale End Academy since Emery took over the helm of affairs at Emirates stadium.

The youngster first got his chance with the first-team squad three weeks ago in a Europa League game against Vorskla.

Saka didn’t just make the substitute bench, he made his first-team debut when he was brought into play by Emery in the later part of the encounter.

Having qualified to the next round of the competition alongside the fact that Premier League is getting tougher and busier, Emery rested most of his key players while he gave academy opportunity to make name for themselves.

Bukayo Saka, who has been awesome with the club’s U23 side, made his full debut as he started from the left wing of attack.

Saka’s magical display at the flank was nothing but a confirmation of his readiness to serve as Welbeck’s replacement for the rest of the season.

His dribbling ability, directness, eye for goals, long-range shots and above all his abilities to retain the ball from opponents makes him an upgrade to his compatriot.

The youngster completed eight dribbles more than anyone on the pitch. He had three shots on target. He wasn’t dispossessed by opponents throughout the clash — an impressive stat you can’t get from Danny Welbeck.

Though Saka look a bit young to break into Emery’s first eleven, it won’t be out of place if the former PSG manager gives the youngster some minutes in the Premier League and see how he performed.

Bukayo Saka, a naturally left-footed player and a pacy winger, has come at the right time. It’s left to Unai Emery to do the needful by integrating him into his first-team.

In Saka, there is a great player and a deadly winger. There’s no need spending on any striker in the upcoming transfer period.

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Arsenal

Arsenal to finally push for sale of highly rated star

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mesut ozil alexis sanchez

Emerging reports allege that the North London side Arsenal have already concluded to let under-performing German international Mesut Ozil leave the Emirates Stadium as soon as any serious offer arises.

With the winter transfer window set to reopen in the coming weeks, the reports mean that the former Real Madrid could part ways with the Gunners team as he is already being linked to a number of clubs.

The reason for the Gunners resolve to have him sold is not different from the obvious reason of poor performance which seems to be giving manager Unai Emery some concerns.

Mesut Ozil remains one of the highest players in the club with about £350,000-a-week offer but suggestions are that he has not paid his money with his performance and needs to step out.

Speculations are that he now has a sour relationship with manager Unai Emery after he was left out of the big clashes against Tottenham and Manchester United with insinuations that he cannot be trusted.

However, the 30-year-old has been linked with a move to the Italian Serie A outfit Inter Milan and that could be his destination with the club reported to be preparing a bid ahead of the winter window.

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Arsenal in touch to sign with highly rated youngster

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North London side Arsenal are reportedly in touch with RB Salzburg young attacking midfielder Hannes Wolf in a bid to secure his services in January when the winter transfer window reopens.

Reports according to Daily Mirror, the Gunners will have to battle their North London rivals Tottenham as well as other English Premier League sides like Southampton and Everton for the signature of the 19-year-old.

Hannes Wolf has been impressive for his side which makes pundits compare him with Christian Eriksen because of the quality of his play and similarities with the Tottenham star.

The young lad was a major part of the Salzburg team that delivered the UEFA Youth League to the club in 2017 as he netted a total of seven goals in all the games.

The UEFA Youth League success handed him the ticket of playing with the senior team and that has also been a success with his impressive performance last season.

With the 45 games under his belt, he had scored 12 goals and seven assists with his side that won the Australian top flight last season.

There is no doubt that Hannes Wolf will be a good addition to the Unai Emery team and could be the replacement for departing Aaron Ramsey.

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Arsenal

Arsenal scouting report positive on South American playmaker

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Arsenal scout reported to have returned with positives on Botafogo playmaker Matheus Fernandes which has given the club the go-ahead to bid on him as early as in the winter transfer window.

Reports according to Calciomercato claim that the London side have now joined the host of clubs that are lined up for his signature after being convinced of his ability and quality.

The Brazilian has impressed this season for his side in the defence and he is also believed to be perfect as a central midfielder and would fit into the Unai Emery team.

However, Arsenal are faced with competition for Matheus Fernandes from an unnamed club from the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie, A outfit Genoa and Spanish La Liga outfit Villarreal.

The North London side are therefore in the danger of missing Matheus Fernandes as he might be snapped up by other clubs who are believed to be ambitious.

Gunners boss Unai Emery has also hinted that he would have an addition in the defence which makes additions in the midfield as well as in the attack a lesser priority.

Arsenal have the ambition to qualify in the Champions League next season and they are currently sixth in the Premier League table.

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