Arsene Wenger laughs off contract renewal date

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Arsene Wenger is an incredibly talented manager.

He may not be the best timekeeper though…

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Ahead of Arsenal’s huge clash against Manchester United on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Emirate Stadium, Wenger was asked about his comments back in Janaury when he said he’d have an answer on if he’ll sign a new contract by March or April.

Wenger had the following to say about his shoddy timekeeping…

“Now we are in May. That means I was wrong,” Wenger laughed.

Fans of Arsenal aren’t laughing though. With the Gunners six points off the top four with a game in hand, Wenger’s men know they must simply win all of their final five games in the Premier League to have any chance whatsoever of finishing in the top four.

The fact that Wenger has never beaten Man United manager Jose Mourinho in the PL isn’t ideal but after their previous differences on the sidelines and in prss conferences, Wenger is willing to put his differences with the Portuguese aside.

“I’m open always in life for everything…for peace,” Wenger smiled. “What is important when you are a competitor is that you give absolutely everything to win the next game.”

In a busy presser, Wenger also addressed the reports that playmaker Mesut Ozil kicked and damaged a door following Arsenal’s 2-0 North London derby defeat at Tottenham on Sunday after he was told he had to complete a drugs test.

“I’m sorry that he kicked the door. I don’t think his frustration was towards the drugs test. His frustration was towards the fact that we lost the game,” Wenger said. “I didn’t speak about it with him because I only heard about it today.”

Wenger confirmed that he will speak with Ozil to get his version of events and was also asked about the possibility of Mourinho playing a weakened side on Sunday as United prioritize their UEFA Europa League semifinal clash with Celta Vigo.

“We focus on our performance. I don’t know what Manchester United will do. We know anyway they have a massive squad with quality players. Only a top-level performance will get us the win we want. The only advantage we can give ourselves is to focus on ourselves and not speculate on any weakness of Manchester United. No matter who plays they will have a strong team out.”

If Arsenal lose on Sunday then their top four hopes are all but over and the focus will switch to the FA Cup final against Chelsea on May 27 and, once again, to the decision on Wenger’s future by the Frenchman and the board.

So much rests on Wenger’s decision on whether or not to extend his time in charge of Gunners, not to mention the future of key players such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, that it boggles my mind that no decision was made two or three months ago.

When he finally announces his decision, we’d all love to know exactly why it took him so long.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.