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Arsenal release statement on Wenger’s future


Arsenal’s Chairman Sir Chips Keswick has spoken out about Arsene Wenger‘s future at the club.

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The high-ranking official has broken the clubs silence on Wenger’s current situation as the 67-year-old Frenchman will be out of contract in the summer but it is believed he is considering signing a two-year extension to remain in charge of the Gunners.

Amid protests from fans before and during the 5-1 UEFA Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, plus angry reaction to Alexis Sanchez being benched last week following a reported training ground bust-up, Keswick revealed that a decision on Wenger’s future will be a mutual one.

“We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate,” Keswick said. “We respect that fans are entitled to their different individual opinions but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart. Arsene has a contract until the end of the season. Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way.”

The fact that the club have felt the need to comment on this situation says a lot.

Whether it be Sir Chips or CEO Ivan Gazidis, they rarely speak on the record. However, this is an exceptional circumstance and these comments will act to calm down an angry section of Arsenal supporters — around 200 fans held banners and protested out the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday — who are putting the blame squarely at Wenger for the Gunners not winning a Premier League title for the past 12 seasons.

Not content with 20-straight top four finishes under Wenger, plus three PL titles and six FA Cups, the Arsenal fans are making themselves heard and it appears both Wenger and the board are listening.

Wenger said himself on Thursday that he will take the mood of the fans into consideration when he makes up his mind on what he’ll do beyond this season.

The dilemma for most Arsenal fans in this situation is clear: if Wenger goes, will anything really change?

Arsenal don’t pay the biggest wages in the Premier League and it is unlikely the likes of Alexis Sanchez and even Mesut Ozil will stay at the Emirates even if Wenger decides to remain. With Diego Simeone, Max Allegri and Ronald Koeman suggested as potential replacements for Wenger, it’s unclear if any of those coaches would seriously want to follow on from one of the greatest managers in history. It is also unclear if they can do any better than getting a top four finish, winning a domestic trophy and getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League most seasons.

A healthy dose of perspective seems to be lost among some Arsenal fans. Be careful what you wish for.

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.