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‘Arsenal made a good decision’: Director says after latest transfer move

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English Premier League side have finally completed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht in a reported £15million deal plus add-ons.

The 21-year-old signed a long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium and will wear the No. 23 shirt.

The midfielder made his debut for Anderlecht in 2017 and has made 78 appearances, also earning himself the captain’s armband, one of the reasons he was discovered by the North London outfit.

Anderlecht sporting director Peter Verbeke is pleased to see Lokonga move to Arsenal and has tipped him for success.
“Sambi is of course a very good player,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s one of the top talents coming from our academy.

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“He can play as a defensive midfield player, he can play as a box-to-box player and, especially the last two seasons at the club, he has developed really well.

“He’s someone who is good on the ball, his technical ability in tight spaces is really good. Good short passing, good long passing.

“He’s always been a late developer so it’s only in the last season that his physical development really came into place.

“It means now he has the qualities to be able to recover more balls, he’s better in duels and that’s why I think he could develop in a role as a defensive midfielder for Arsenal in years to come.

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“I think Arsenal made a good decision on him and I think he is going to be a top player for Arsenal in the years to come.”

Lokonga, who received his first Belgium call-up earlier this year when he was an unused substitute against Greece, could be a regular at Arsenal if some of the midfielders leave without being replaced.

He should pair with Thomas Partey but there are suggestions he would be a cover for any player that would be brought in before the end of the window.

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Goalkeeper disagrees with respected journalist over Inter Milan, Arsenal transfer link

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Ajax goalkeeper, Andre Onana has disagreed with respected transfer journalist, Fabrizio Romano over claims that he is being linked with a move to Arsenal.

Onana’s contract with Ajax ends in the summer with no new deal on the table.

So, writing on Twitter, Fabrizio Romano claimed that Andre Onana has a verbal agreement with Inter Milan to join as a free agent.

Onana had been heavily linked with Arsenal and Lyon over the summer as well, but the player himself seems keen to deny all the rumours.

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“I’ve wanted to talk about that for some time: I was in Salou [for individual training],” Onana said (via Sport Witness).

“There was an article about me every day. Then it was Arsenal, then it was Lyon, pfff… I was tired of it, the media thinks it should inform me about my own life, come on.

“Do I have an agreement with another club? I still have a contract with Ajax. It’s rubbish.”

But it seems Onana is maintaining the stance that he has no agreement to leave just yet.

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Howbeit, there are no indication that Arsenal will make a move for a goalkeeper anytime soon but it could still be the case if Bernd Leno leaves

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Lacazette finally breaks silence on Arsenal future, drops major hint

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30-year-old Alexandre Lacazette has finally spoken about his future at Arsenal as he drops major hint of an exit.

The contract of the Frenchman ends in the summer with no deal on the table for him. He will be free to speak with clubs and sign pre-contract agreement by January.

Arsenal’s only opportunity of cashing out on the former Lyon striker is in the January transfer window.

While he has been silent all this while, Lacazette has now spoken out.

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‘Of course, my agents are starting to look to the right and to the left,’ Lacazette said in an interview with Telefoot.

‘But not until January, I really want to focus myself on something.

‘And then we will see what is on offer, if the challenges are interesting, if there are beautiful projects, how they are counting on me… so there are still many questions, I prefer to wait until January to position myself.’

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta stressed the importance of keeping communication open with the French striker but did not make any categorical statement.

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‘That’s a position that’s happening more and more in football,’ Arteta said of Lacazette’s position.

‘He is not the only one, we have a few. That’s something we have to deal with, with contracts that they were coming from a few years ago, with certain particularities. We knew that was the case.

‘I have already spoken with them individually about how we have to handle those situations the best possible way, and that’s it.

‘It’s the situation that we have, whether you are concerned or not.

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‘Things have happened in the last few seasons for different players, where those possibilities are there. Sometimes the club has more control and sometimes the player has some more control.

‘The important thing is that communication is clear, and the intentions of both parties, while they are together, are very clear.’

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Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal exit and destination already being discussed, could it have been now?

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The future of Granit Xhaka at Arsenal is already being discussed, hinting that he would leave in coming years.

Xhaka had opened the door for a potential return to Borussia-Park, admitting to the MitGeredet podcast, via Inside Futbol, that he would be more than happy to link up with Eberl again.

“I’ve just renewed my contract, which will continue for two and a half years,” Xhaka said. “[By] then I’ll be 32.

“And if Max Eberl is ready to take me back at 32, my door will be open too.”

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In response, Borussia Monchengladbach director of sport Max Eberl also opened up on a potential Granit Xhaka return.

“Of course, as a player, I could always picture him as a good player, but it’s difficult to get him back. Not just financially, but also from the point of view of expectations,” Eberl told Sportbuzzer, via GGFN, back in 2019.

“Players develop and change. In the end, you could end up doing more damage than you can win, so I’m not really a fan of return.”

But the Gladbach director of sport seems to have changed his tune, admitting that he will discuss the logistics of a potential move with the 29-year-old when his current deal with Arsenal expires in the summer of 2024.

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“Granit had a great time here,” Eberl told Bild.

“The fact that he has a very close relationship with the club and the region makes us very happy. We still have irregular contact.

“He has hinted at this more than once. Granit told me his salary, and I told him to play a few more years at Arsenal and then we can talk more.

“It’s a nice story and always nice when players express themselves like that. When he’s really 32 years old, I’ll talk to him again.”

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Lauren tells Gunners chiefs how Arsenal can make top-four but Mikel Arteta may not like it

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Arsenal have not played in the Champions League since 2017, a development that is unacceptable to club legends like Lauren.

With the Gunners now pushing this season after some wins so far, Lauren is hopeful that there is a place up for grabs in the top four this season.

However, the former Former Arsenal full back Lauren, who now working for FIFA as a technical expert for talent development said for this to happen, the club chiefs must mount pressure on Mikel Arteta.

This might not go down well with the Spanish boss though.

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Lauren said: “They must, we have to put pressure on ourselves always, both individually and collectively, to get to the Champions League places.

“That’s what I believe. You must always set high targets. They have to try and get back into the Champions League next season and then build on that for the following years because it makes such a difference getting into the top four.

“There’s Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and then maybe there’s one place open. The reality says that you cannot fight for the league. There’s still many points but Arsenal have shown with some of the displays before Liverpool, I believe this team can get to the Champions League places.

“This team can get back to the Champions League and, from then on, they can start to build to start something. But the target has to be to get into the Champions League because the reality is that if they hadn’t started so slowly, they might have been able to win the league.

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“But the target now should be to get to the Champions League positions. I believe this team is capable of getting into the top four positions. To win the league is not impossible but it’s really, really difficult.”

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Revealed! The good thing David Luiz did at Arsenal that calls for apologies from critics

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Former Arsenal player, David Luiz was criticized by some fans and pundits over what they described as errors while he was at the Emirates Stadium without knowing that he made some unforgettable impact at the club.

He might not be perfect on the pitch of play but has been able to help Bukayo Saka to grow, which is in turn, a plus to the team right now as the young lady is one of the best legs at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking to SportBIBLE, Saka was asked which player has been the most helpful throughout his career and was quick to mention the Brazilian defender.

The Emirates hero replied: “I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of different players but I would say probably the biggest impact – probably David Luiz.

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“He has done the most for me in my career, to go into the first team was obviously not always the easiest experience but, and I think if you say this to all of the young players at Arsenal, [they’d say] David done so much.

“He went out of his way to do a lot for us – advice on and off the pitch, yeah he was a really good guy but there has been loads of other players at Arsenal of course, but I’d probably say David.”

Saka also hailed manager Mikel Arteta, saying when asked to describe the Spanish’s management style, he said: “Tactically, he is quite a genius I would say, tactically he is really good at outsmarting other teams.

“He always knows how is best to get out in terms of playing out from the back and how to best use the press system.”

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Aaron Ramsdale: Is Cristiano Ronaldo already getting “threats” ahead of Arsenal clash?

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Man United will face Arsenal next week and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is already speaking ahead of the game.

The England international joined the Gunners at the summer and has proved to be a big influence on the team with his saves.

He already looks forward to the encounter against Man United, particularly, the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo and how it would be handled.

Ramsdale speaks of having a ‘full-on battle’ against one of football’s all-time greats.

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‘I’d never thought I’d play against Ronaldo, but I really hope he’s on it against us because it gives me a chance to test myself,’ said Ramsdale at Amazon’s Black Friday Live event.

‘As much as you want to go somewhere like that [Old Trafford] there’s no better feeling than getting on top of someone and saying I’ve had a full-on battle with Ronaldo.’

Ramsdale has also praised the work of his manager Arteta, who has steered the Gunners back up the table after a poor start to the campaign.

‘I think because he’s come out the game fairly recently, he’s got the great management skills,’ added Ramsdale on the Spaniard.

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‘He’s very approachable and has worked with arguably one of the best coaches in the world.’

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Former Arsenal player and Nigerian opens up on who helped him grow in the game

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Former Arsenal star and Nigeria international, Alex Iwobi has opened up on his growth in the game as he named legendary manager, Arsene Wenger for his role.

Iwobi said he will forever be grateful to Wenger for giving him the opportunity to play first team football, adding that he learnt a lot under the tutelage of the Frenchman.

The Super Eagle played 98 games under Wenger, scoring nine goals and providing eighteen assists.

Reflecting on his Arsenal days under Wenger, Iwobo said : “He gives everyone opportunities especially young players like myself. I was able to grow and learn a lot from his training sessions and be the player I’m today.

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“I’d like to thank him for giving me the opportunity to play first team football for Arsenal.”

Meanwhile, he spoke on choosing Nigeria ahead of England, saying he has settled well with the Super Eagles.

“I’ve been here for a while now and I’m familiar with the team, even from the first time I came here they always made me feel welcome and I’m always enjoying myself when we are playing matches, in training, in the camp, it’s like one big family so it makes it easier for me to express myself,” Iwobi told MTN Nigeria’s We Move With Super Eagles.

“I am enjoying my time and hopefully there is more years to come as well.”

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He added : “I wouldn’t say I have any regret playing for Nigeria, I’d like to say I respected England, they gave me a lot of opportunities.

“I feel more at home in Nigeria. I feel that this is where I’m at home and where I represent. I grew up in the Nigerian culture so I’d say that I have no regrets picking Nigeria over England.”

Barring an injury, Iwobi will represent Nigeria in this third major tournament – the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations starting in January 2022.

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Ralf Rangnick’s first game is against Arsenal and he knows this Gunners star too well

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Ralf Rangnick’s first match as head coach is expected to be next Thursday when Arsenal travel to Old Trafford and it would be his first game ever against the North London outfit.

The 63-year-old has never managed a game against the Gunners but he knows one of Arsenal’s current best players, Emile Smith Rowe as he aided his development some years back.

Smith Rowe, who is valued at between €70-90million (£59-76million) by CIES Football Observatory, spent the second half of the 2018/19 campaign on loan with Rangnick’s RB Leipzig and the English playmaker certainly made an everlasting impact on the seasoned veteran.

Veteran coach Ralf Rangnick has previously heaped praise on Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe.

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“Emile Smith Rowe will more than likely be in the squad for the first time. He’s trained all week and gives us another option”, Rangnick said in April 2019.

“He’s shown in training why we took him on loan. He’s got a brilliant mixture of good physique, speed and an unbelievably good shooting technique.

“If the game allows it, it’s possible that we’ll bring him on.”

The German was also keen to bring him back on another loan the following season, admitting that Leipzig were keen on the youngster given his undeniable talent.

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“We had two representatives from Arsenal here,” Rangnick said back in May 2019.

“They observed training and also talked to Emile. In conversation with them, we have already put forward that we are interested in another loan.”

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