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Emery gives update on Arsenal’s transfer plans

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Unai Emery is all about the loans.

No, Arsenal’s Spanish manager isn’t in a bit of a financial pickle. He is talking about the other type of loan, as the Gunners aim to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window.

Speaking to reporters ahead of their London derby at West Ham on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Emery insisted no permanent signings will be made this month.

“We cannot sign anyone permanently. Only loan players this January,” Emery said.

Focusing on links to Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez, who played for Emery at Sevilla in the past, he admitted he is a fan of the central midfielder but that a loan move is the only way Suarez switches Catalan’s capital for north London.

“I don’t know now his situation but I know the club is working for the possibility players who can help us with this condition (loan) fast, with a big performance like we need now. I know this player and he is a very good player,” Emery added.

Asked about Ever Banega, another midfielder he worked with previously at Sevilla, Emery was coy but insisted Arsenal is working hard behind-the-scenes to get new players in.

“The club is working, telling me each moment different situations can happen. At the moment I haven’t any news today,” Emery said.

This talk from Emery sums up what we already knew: his transfer budget is small given the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette arriving over the past 18 months and Mesut Ozil’s huge new contract, plus signing Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis over the summer.

On Aaron Ramsey, Emery didn’t add too much that he hasn’t already as it has become clear that the Welsh midfielder has agreed to sign for Italian giants Juventus on a free transfer in the summer and the move is expected to be announced soon.

Do Arsenal need a new central midfielder right now? Probably not. They need to buy new defenders if they’re going to kick on in the second half of the season and seriously challenge to finish in the top four of the Premier League. With a long-term injury to center back Rob Holding, who had started the season so well, Arsenal just haven’t looked comfortable defensively this season and there are real question marks as to whether they will be the case moving forward with this specific squad of players.

There has been some positive news on the injury front this week with Shkodran Mustafi, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Dinos Mavropanos all back in training and believed to be available for the trip to West Ham.

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

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Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

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A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia