Wenger gives injury update on Bellerin, Sanchez

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It’s November, Arsenal fans.

In the month which is historically Arsene Wenger‘s worst in terms of points gained, injuries are already starting to pile up.

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Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester United on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Wenger spoke to the media and confirmed right back Hector Bellerin will be out until the end of December as Carl Jenkinson will likely get an extended run in the team.

“Hector (Bellerin) is out for four weeks. It came in the last 10 seconds against Tottenham. It was a strong tackle from (Danny) Rose,” Wenger confirmed.

Arsenal’s manager was also far from impressed as top scorer and influential attacker Alexis Sanchez suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with Chile.

Strapped up, Sanchez scored twice in the second half as Chile beat Uruguay 3-1 on Tuesday in a crucial CONMEBOL 2018 World Cup qualifier. However his manager wasn’t ecstatic with his fitness being risked ahead of a busy stretch of games in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and EFL Cup.

“He played recovering from a hamstring injury,” Wenger said. “I understand he is keen to play for his country. I don’t know how bad his injury was and we have to trust the medical department of Chile. I will see him tomorrow and we have to wait and see if he can be involved in our squad.”

Sanchez will train with Arsenal on Friday after returning from South America and Wenger will make a final decision on his fitness.

If Sanchez is missing, it would be a huge blow for Wenger as he comes up against his old foe Jose Mourinho.

Playing in a central role this season the 27-year-old has terrorized opposition defenses, scoring eight times in all competitions. Along with Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott the Chilean attacker is a key cog in Arsenal’s pacy, creative attacking unit. If he does miss out, Olivier Giroud will likely step in to the central role with Walcott, Ozil and Alex Iwobi off him.

With a new contract offer currently being negotiated, Sanchez’s importance to Arsenal is clear.

However, his insistence to put his body on the line not only when away with Chile but also with the Gunners is causing Wenger problems. In the past it is believed Sanchez has complained about being rested and he wants to play every game possible. You have to love that commitment but should he really be dictating to Wenger?

In other injury news Santi Cazorla remains out and has no returned to training, while Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are out until the new year and Chuba Akpom and Lucas Perez are also out.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

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A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).