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    Arsenal could cash in on Folarin Balogun in summer transfer as they are faced with dilemma for on-loan striker

    ARSENAL could cash in on Folarin Balogun in the summer despite the striker currently outshining Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in France.Balogun, 21, is the leading scorer in Ligue 1 with 14 goals for Stade de Reims.
    Folarin Balogun has been sensational for Reims so far this seasonCredit: Getty
    The young forward could permanently leave Arsenal in the summerCredit: Getty
    And no-one has been more surprised by his success than Arsenal, who didn’t anticipate him being so prolific when they agreed to loan him to the French minnows for the season.
    But Reims’ English boss Will Still has been so impressed with the New York-born target man he describes as “a super complete striker” that he asked if they could sign Balogun on a permanent deal in the recent transfer window.
    That request was rejected by Arsenal, who have still not decided what to do with Balogun or whether he plays a part in Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans.
    But with only 18 months remaining on his Emirates contract, they will either have to hand Balogun a lengthy new deal at the end of the season or sell him for maximum profit.
    And they certainly won’t be short of offers for a player who didn’t exactly set the Championship alight when he was loaned out to Middlesbrough for the second half of last season.
    Now Arteta must determine if there is a realistic chance of Balogun forcing his way in front of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah to lead the Arsenal attack.

    The most likely scenario at the moment is that they will keep him at the club for the first half of the season to see if he is ready to play at Premier League and Champions League level.
    And if he is unable to pin down a regular place in the team, he would then be sent out on loan again to gain more regular first team football.
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    But that cannot happen if he is in the final year of his contract and eligible to leave as a free agent in 2025.
    And Arsenal’s concern is that if they do keep him next season and he fails to maintain the form he is currently showing, his market value will drop.
    England Under-21 international Balogun, who is also eligible to play for the USA and Nigeria, recently insisted: “Arsenal is my family.
    “But I’ve spent my whole career in England and I knew it was going to be a different test when I came to Reims.
    “I didn’t know the language and I’m still trying to learn, but it was important for me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
    “That’s the reason I’m here and hopefully it’s a decision that will pay off for me.
    “I’ve already reached my target for the start of the season and now I want to do even better and I’m hoping to score 20 goals.”
    If he succeeds in that ambition, it will be hard for Arteta to ignore the clamour for Arsenal to keep Balogun and make him a part of their plans.
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    But the feeling within the club is that it takes a lot more to shine in the Premier League than it does in France.
    And until Balogun has shown that he can succeed against the best teams in England the jury remains out. More

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    Arsenal set to make second Dusan Vlahovic transfer raid this summer but Man Utd also want Juventus striker

    ARSENAL are “very likely” to make a second attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic, according to reports.But the Gunners could have competition from Manchester United for the striker.
    Dusan Vlahovic could be on his way out of Juventus to the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
    Arsenal tried to land Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January 2022 but missed out on the transfer when the Serbian decided to join Juventus instead in a £66million deal.
    However, things have not gone to plan for the forward, who is said to want out.
    His 16 goals in 38 games is not a bad return but Juventus are in disarray after crashing out of the Champions League and being slapped with a 15-point Serie A deduction for their illegal transfer activity.
    Now Juve News report Arsenal may try and bounce on the unrest and instability at the Allianz Stadium to bring in Vlahovic.
    Journalist Niccolo Ceccarini said: “A hot summer also seems to be on the horizon for forwards. One of them is definitely Vlahovic.
    “The Premier League is now moving at another great [level] and is potentially able to present very high offers, and Italy remains of the favourite destinations.
    “Arsenal had already tried to sign him before the transfer to Juventus.
    “The idea remained and at the end of the season, a new attempt is very likely.
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    “In England, however, they are not the only one. Manchester United has also started to move. The situation is evolving.”
    Arsenal responded to missing out on Vlahovic by spending £45m on Gabriel Jesus in the summer.

    The Brazilian settled well into life at the Emirates but required surgery on his knee which has ruled him out since the World Cup.
    That has left Eddie Nketiah as Mikel Arteta’s only senior genuine centre-forward.
    So the prospect of adding Vlahovic as another option come the summer would provide more competition to an attack likely to be playing in the Champions League come September.
    However, United also look on course to be playing at Europe’s top table next season – and are even more in need of a new No9.
    The exits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani have seen Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford fill in through the middle before Wout Weghort arrived on loan.
    But the Red Devils will prioritise a new striker – with 19-cap Vlahovic among the options.
    Harry Kane, World Cup hero Goncalo Ramos, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and RB Salzburg star Benjamin Sesko have all been linked as possible alternatives. More

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    Man Utd ‘failed in £100m Declan Rice transfer bid last summer’ as price for Arsenal and Chelsea target is revealed

    MAN UTD reportedly saw a £100MILLION bid for West Ham captain Declan Rice rejected last summer.The Hammers skipper, 24, has been heavily linked with a host of top six clubs including Chelsea and Arsenal.
    Declan Rice has been heavily linked with a move in the summer windowCredit: Getty
    But it was Man Utd who were leading the race to sign him ahead of the 2022/23 season as they looked to bolster the centre of their midfield.
    They eventually landed on Brazilian Casemiro, 30, as he arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid for £70m.
    But according to talkSPORT, United were not so lucky when it came to their mammoth offer for Rice as West Ham turned down £100m.
    And the reports are that it will take £120m plus add-ons to secure the England international this summer.
    That is despite his contract expiring in 2024.
    Rice is being closely monitored by both Arsenal and Chelsea as they prepare to do battle for the Kingston-born midfielder at the end of the season.
    Mikel Arteta’s men see him as a long-term replacement for Thomas Partey or Granit Xhaka – despite the arrival of Jorginho in the January window.
    And Chelsea are keen to strengthen in the middle of the park following the departure of Jorginho.
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    N’Golo Kante is also set to become a free agent in the summer if he does not pen a new deal.
    Rice has made 222 appearances for West Ham since breaking through in 2017, contributing 11 goals and 12 assists.
    He has also received 39 England caps and become one of Gareth Southgate’s most trusted lieutenants in recent years.
    And during the Qatar World Cup, Rice dropped a big hint he was open to leaving West Ham.
    Speaking in an England press conference, he was asked if he is hungry to win titles at club level, to which he replied: “Yeah, 100 per cent. For the last two or three years I’ve been saying that.
    “I’ve been consistently playing well for my club. I want to win trophies for my club.
    “You only get one career and you want to look back at what you’ve won and play in the biggest games. I am really ambitious and I want that.”
    West Ham currently sit 16th in the Premier League table, just one point above the relegation zone.
    They are still in both the FA Cup and Europa Conference League. More

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    Arsenal member will chair independent commission into Man City after they’re charged with financial rule breaches

    AN ARSENAL member will chair the independent commission into Manchester City following their alleged breaches of financial rules.The reigning champions have been charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches between 2009 and 2018.
    Arsenal member Murray Rosen will chair independent commissionCredit:
    City are now facing a potential points deduction, while other punishments could include transfer bans, spending limits and even having their previous titles stripped.
    At this stage City have been charged but not found guilty.
    The man set to be investigating their off the field conduct is Arsenal member Murray Rosen KC.
    According to BBC, Rosen has been appointed as the chair of the independent commission looking into City’s wrongdoings.
    And he’s an avid Gunners supporter.
    Rosen’s profile on the 4 New Square chambers says: “He is a strong believer in fairness and in the power and benefits of sport and has a keen appreciation of its social, political and financial aspects.
    “He has participated in sport all his life, is a member of the MCC and Arsenal FC, and still regularly plays real tennis and ping pong.
    “His knowledge of the sports scene and the issues which arise, both commercial and regulatory, in relation to the governance of sport, and its competitions and events, makes him a sympathetic hands-on tribunal chairman and a successful mediator.
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    “He has recently initiated an ad hoc working party consulting and reporting on the Impact of Covid-19 on sport disputes resolution procedures, supported and published by LawinSport.”
    In response to the charges, City released a brief 79-word statement and said they were “surprised” by allegations being made.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal supporter and SunSport columnist Piers Morgan reckons the Etihad Stadium club should be docked points immediately to improve the the Gunners’ title chances.
    He tweeted: “Outrageous. Immediate points deduction!” More

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    Why Gabriel was not given penalty against Everton after Arsenal star was tripped in box

    AN EXPLANATION has been given as to why Arsenal star Gabriel Magalhaes did not get a penalty despite being tripped in the box by Everton’s Neal Maupay.The Gunners were defeated 1-0 by the Toffees on Saturday in what looked to be a bitter blow to their title hopes.
    Neal Maupay and Gabriel were in the thick of it as Arsenal lost at EvertonCredit: Getty
    Gabriel wanted a penalty after being tripped by Neal MaupayCredit: BT Sport
    However, they received a huge favour from North London rivals Tottenham as Harry Kane’s record-breaking goal was enough to beat Manchester City 24 hours later.
    That kept them five points clear at the top of the Premier League table – but some Gooners believe they should have had the opportunity to at least earn a draw ay Goodison.
    Just moments after James Tarkowski had headed Everton ahead, Arsenal were claiming a penalty.
    Gabriel appeared to have been tripped by Blues ace Maupay, which sent the Brazilian clattering into Idrissa Gueye.
    The referee awarded Everton a free-kick, leading to even more protests from the visitors.
    VAR was called upon to check the incident, but they ultimately decided against awarding Arsenal a spot-kick.
    And former Prem ref Peter Walton would later explain the reason behind the decision on BT Sport.
    He said: “Well actually the initiation of contact was from the Arsenal player so I don’t think this will be given as a penalty kick, certainly there was enough contact there, but not a penalty kick.”
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    He seemed to have the view that Gabriel had initiated contact with Maupay – although Gooners certainly do not have the same view.
    Following the game, Arteta insisted on praising his players rather than tearing into them, saying: “Today I love them much better than the week before or a month ago, it is easy to be next to someone when they are winning well.
    “I am still so proud of all of these players, they deserve it. This is not going to be a rose pathway.
    “This is going to be tricky and we will have to dig in and play much better than we did today.” More

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    Arsenal favourites to sign Youri Tielemans in the summer with Leicester ace available on free transfer

    ARSENAL are “favourites” to sign Youri Tielemans on a free transfer this summer when his Leicester City contract expires.The Belgian, 25, was heavily linked with the Gunners last year as he entered the final year of his deal.
    Arsenal are ‘overwhelming favourites’ to sign Youri TielemansCredit: Rex
    But a transfer failed to materialise as the Foxes clung on to their playmaker.
    Manchester United are keen on Tielemans as the ex-Monaco ace prepares to decide on his future.
    However, Team Talk claims that it is Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal that are “overwhelming favourites” to get him.
    That is despite the fact that the Premier League leaders snapped up midfielder Jorginho from Chelsea after failing to land Moises Caicedo from Brighton.
    CBS journalist Ben Jacobs has also reported that Tielemans will still be on Arteta’s shortlist once the window re-opens.
    He said: “Come the summer, if Tielemans is available on a free transfer, there’ll be a variety of clubs looking at him.
    “Arsenal will still be there for sure and we know that Tielemans very much wanted that move a year ago and was hopeful that something might come off throughout the summer, but Arsenal moved in a different direction.”
    Tielemans arrived at Leicester on loan from Monaco in January 2019 and signed permanently six months later in a £32m move.
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    He has made over 200 appearances for the club with his crowning moment coming in 2021 when he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup final.
    Tielemans helped Leicester ease their relegation fears yesterday as he played a key role in their 4-2 win at Aston Villa. More

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    Arsenal ‘lead race’ for Brighton sensation Kaoru Mitoma but will have to fork out £35MILLION in summer

    ARSENAL are leading the race to sign Brighton star Kaoru Mitoma, according to reports. The Seagulls could demand £35million for the Japanese winger in the summer.
    Kaoru Mitoma is being monitored by ArsenalCredit: Getty
    The 25-year-old has taken a unique route to becoming a Premier League ace, delaying signing a professional contract at homeland club Kawasaki Frontale aged 19.
    He instead went to university and wrote a thesis on dribbling.
    In 2021, he was signed by Brighton for a reported fee of just £2.7million.
    Last season, Mitomawent on loan to Belgian side Union Saint Gilloise.
    Now back in England, he has been in incredible form this term, netting seven goals and registering two assists in 20 games.
    His impressive performances have attracted the attention of the Gunners, reports Fabrizio Romano.
    Mitoma’s deal on the South Coast runs until 2025 and Roberto De Zerbi will be desperate to keep hold of him.
    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been keen to bolster his attack and could view Mitoma as similar in style to Mykhailo Mudryk, who eventually signed for Chelsea despite Arsenal’s attempts.
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    The club have been keeping a close eye on Brighton talent, having already signed Leandro Trossard in January for £27million.
    Arsenal also saw bids rejected for central midfielder Moises Caicedo.
    The player ending up staying at the Amex Stadium despite him trying to force a move away.
    Arsenal remain keen on West Ham captain Declan Rice as an alternative, but his gaffer David Moyes claims it will take a British record offer for the Irons to sell. More

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    Mikel Arteta ‘forced to drag Zinchenko off pitch after Arsenal loss’ after bizarre coming together with Everton’s Maupay

    MIKEL ARTETA was allegedly forced to pull Oleksandr Zinchenko off the pitch after Arsenal’s loss at Goodison Park.The Ukrainian had been involved in an altercation with Neal Maupay towards the end of the game, and it has been suggested that the arguments continued after the full-time whistle.
    Oleksandr Zinchenko was agitated after a coming together with Neal MaupayCredit: Getty
    He continued to argue with Everton players after the full time whistleCredit: Reuters
    And Mikel Arteta had to take him off the pitchCredit: Getty
    Arsenal tempers were high after they slipped to defeat against Everton after James Tarkowski’s 60th-minute header.
    But Zinchenho was not letting go despite the game ending, as it has been claimed he continued to argue with the Toffees players after full-time, according to The Telegraph reporter Sam Dean.
    He also claimed that the left-back was carrying on his heated state and needed Arteta to remove him from the pitch.
    He tweeted: “Arteta dragging Zinchenko off the pitch after the final whistle.
    “The Arsenal left-back had a few things he wanted to say to some Everton players.”
    Zinchenko would feel aggrieved with his clash with Maupay. The striker threw himself to the ground before appearing to kick out at the left back.
    At this point, the former Manchester City defender reacted, sharing some harsh words with the Toffees star.
    Both players were booked for their parts in the flashpoint.
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    Fans reacted to the moment, with one Arsenal fan praising Zinchenko for his “fight”, they tweeted: “The only player that showed a fight today.. we felt we were going to cruise through.. poor mentality.”
    A second commented: “I love the passion of the arsenal team but anger should be controlled. Great game by Everton, and that’s just beauty of football.
    “You can never play down a new manager effect, and Arsenal suffered for it but they are still on top of the EPL so nothing to be worried about.”
    A third wrote: “Just clocked why Zinchenko was so angry his Premier League win rate just dropped from 82 to 81%…..”
    A fourth said: “Zinchenko shows fight at the wrong place, IMO.”
    A fifth added: “Arteta just saved Zinchenko from a Gallas moment.” More