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Wenger: Man City, United should look to sumo wrestlers

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Arsenal is readying for a visit to West Ham United, but Arsene Wenger‘s mind took a detour to Japan.

In a wide-ranging pre-match interview touching on Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, and the Manchester Tunnel Fracas (TM), it was the last topic that had Wenger musing on the post-match actions of sumo wrestlers.

[ MORE: Premier League Tues. preview ]

For those who missed it, there was an alleged dust-up between Manchester City and Manchester United after Jose Mourinho and his men objected to boisterous City celebrations in the away locker room on Sunday.

Ever the politician, the rail thin manager called upon rather large athletes to make the point of what he’d like to see. From Sky Sports:

“It happened to us, it’s happened to them. It’s unfortunate. Ideally you would commit 100% on the pitch and be an angel after. It’s not always the case. You want to keep that passion on the pitch.

“It is difficult to take when you lose a game, to see the celebration. When I was in Japan, I liked sumo wrestling because you could never tell who had won. The winner never showed his happiness as there’s a deep respect for the opponent.”

Wenger’s last managerial stop came in 1996 with Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan.

There was plenty more from Wenger, who was asked about the statuses of Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.

For the latter, it’s relatively straight-forward: There’s still no new contract between the playmaker and Arsenal, though no final offer has been made and Wenger remains optimistic about the hiring.

As for Giroud, who’s been tipped for a move away from Arsenal for some time, Wenger admits it’s tricky. The super sub would start on most teams but is quite valuable to Arsenal as the usual backup to Alexandre Lacazette.

And it’s not like Arsenal has hurt the Frenchman’s stock with one of the best international sides in the world.

“He’s a very important player and I have big respect for him. Look how many French caps he has got since he came here. He’s not wasted his time. I can understand his frustrations. He’s played many games, much more than many speak about. He’s played more than Lacazette for example. When you are at a big club with many strikers, you can’t guarantee.

“Personally I want him to stay at the club until the end of the season. Then we will see.”

If Wenger can massage the full season out of Giroud and then sell him, Arsenal will have to call it a win. But how different might the Gunners look next August, with Giroud, Ozil, and Alexis Sanchez all expected to be out the door?

Pardew sweating Evans status ahead of January transfer window

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If Alan Pardew is going to lead West Bromwich Albion to Premier League safety, he’ll need all of his stars.

One of those is defender Jonny Evans, who’s become the Baggies back bone since arriving from Manchester United and has earned the eyes of bigger club in England.

[ MORE: Key Manchester Derby battles ]

Evans was linked with Arsenal and Manchester City this summer, and Pardew is concerned about what January will bring as both clubs and Liverpool aim to improve their back lines. From Sky Sports:

“I’m never confident when you’ve got great players because other clubs want great players, so your best players are always vulnerable. Johnny Evans is definitely one of them and he is our captain. Do I want to lose him? Of course not. Do I fear losing him? Of course I do.”

Do you think Evans could be sold in January? The 29-year-old Northern Irish back is a prime age for a center back and would surely love to return to European competition.

The Baggies are at lowly Swansea on Saturday for what already feels like a proper relegation six-pointer.

Coutinho unsure about future, but going hard for Liverpool

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Philippe Coutinho seems like a nice young man.

Liverpool’s Brazilian attacker is speaking about his future after authoring a UEFA Champions League hat trick against Spartak Moscow on Thursday.

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He’s saying all the right things about his time with Liverpool, and is exhibiting class regarding a fairly clear desire to join Barcelona.

La Liga’s giants recruiting him hard this summer, but Liverpool would not budge despite several big money offers for the playmaker. From Sky Sports:

“I do not know how the future is going to be. What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.

“Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it. Since I stayed I have played with will and desire.”

Coutinho’s calm and measured comments exhibit his lack of power in the situation, and also a healthy respect for what Liverpool has done for him.

It seems unlikely Barcelona will make a run at Coutinho in January given the 25 year old’s inability to represent another club in the Champions League this season, let alone Liverpool’s contention in multiple competitions, but there’s no reason for Coutinho to close the door.

Report: Man United confident of Rose; Hazard to Real Madrid

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Manchester United are said to be increasingly confident that Danny Rose will arrive at Old Trafford.

According to the Daily Mail, United believe Rose will arrive either in January or the summer with his relationship with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino breaking down.

Spurs refused to sell both Kyle Walker and Rose, their two full backs, last summer, with Walker going to Man City for $75 million and Rose remaining as he recovered from a knee injury. That led to him blasting the club and their ambition in an interview, which he has since apologized for. However, relations between Rose and his manager have remained frosty with the England international recently left out of their matchday squad for the north London derby at Arsenal.

Rose, 27, would cost United $75 million, which is a lot for left back who has been out injured for most of the last 12 months, but he’d be a big upgrade on their current options at left back which include playing Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind out of position or giving minutes to the out of favor Luke Shaw.

With United playing a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation increasingly often, Mourinho has cited the need for a new wide player on multiple occasions. Rose would fit the bill perfectly, even if the bill for Rose is hefty.

The Times reports that Eden Hazard is stalling on a new contract at Chelsea because he fancies a move to Real Madrid.

Hazard, 26, is said to have been offered a new $400,000 per week deal by the reigning Premier League champions but the Belgian international (who is contracted to the west London club until the summer of 2020) is in no rush to sign a new deal after last extending his contract in February 2015.

Per the report, Hazard is asking Chelsea to accept his wish to keep his options open and doesn’t want to be rushed into contract negotiations.

After recovering from a broken ankle over the summer, Hazard has been in fine form in recent weeks with five goals in eight PL starts this season. His partnership with Alvaro Morata had dazzled and the duo have breathed new life into Chelsea’s season.

Although Hazard has always claimed he is happy at Chelsea and wants to remain at Stamford Bridge, the captain of the Belgian national team is reportedly seen as a key way to not only reinvigorate Cristiano Ronaldo but also replace him and is wanted by Zinedine Zidane.

Arsenal, Man Utd target Goretzka readies decision

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Schalke wants to make Leon Goretzka its highest player in club history.

A number of European giants, including Manchester United, would be able to match that wage.

[ MORE: Gulati out? ]

Goretza, 22, has a big decision to make, and knows when he’ll do it. Arsenal and Manchester United are said to be chasing his signature.

The 6-foot-2 midfielder has a Confederations Cup title and bronze ball, as well as an Olympic silver medal. He’s spoken about his future, and Sky Sports has the details.

“I have to find out for myself what the next step should be. I have to consider a million things. I am a person who is very meticulous in such decisions. I play through all the scenarios. So I need time.

“There doesn’t exist a deadline, but I think we are in the final phase. The final decision will be made in January.”
Having joined Schalke from Bochum in 2013, Goretzka’s history with the club is real and the Gelsenkirchen is very much in the mix to return to European competition. Will the lure of getting that immediately change his allegiance?