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Huge squad overhaul lined up by Arsenal?

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Despite Arsene Wenger‘s future as Arsenal’s manager still unclear, what is clear is that the Gunners are contemplating a big overhaul of their squad this summer.

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After losing 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, the Gunners have now lost four of their last five Premier League games to slump to sixth place in the table and missing out on the top four for the first time in 20 years is becoming a real possibility.

With both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil still not tied down to long-term contracts and many reports suggesting they’ll both leave this summer, speculation is spreading that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere may also leave this summer too.

A report from the Daily Mirror claims that Wenger is lining up Monaco’s teenage striker Kylian Mappe and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette to replace Ozil and Sanchez.

Similarly, the Daily Telegraph believes that Arsenal is lining up a move for Everton’s Ross Barkley to fill the void left by Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere and also state the futures of David Ospina, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs are in doubt with Jack Butland and Celtic’s Kieran Tierney possible targets.

Would Arsenal be stronger after this overhaul? They’d certainly be younger.

Mappe, just 18 years old, is set to become the next big thing in French soccer and has scored 17 goals in 29 appearances this season, while 25-year-old Lacazette is 25 years old and has 28 goals to his name this season. After being linked with moves to the Premier League over the past few summers, Lacazette now appears ready to move on from Lyon.

Still, losing Ozil and Sanchez would be a huge blow. There’s no other way to look at it.

Barkley, 23, would be an intriguing buy and on paper he’d slot into the Arsenal style of play as a creative midfielder but he has a little more power and pace to his game than Ozil or Wilshere.

The one thing Arsenal fans will want to know sooner rather than later is if Wenger is staying or not. These reports seem to suggest that transfer plans to overhaul the current Gunners squad are being made.

Surely that suggests Wenger is ready to commit to another two years at the Emirates…

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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More midweek action is coming up in the Premier League. Let the festive fun continue.

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The full TV schedule for this weekend is below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Burnley vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

(more…)

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

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Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out: