Dani Ceballos

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Transfer news: Arsenal to extend Ceballos loan; Zaniolo to Man United

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The latest transfer news doing the rounds in the Premier League includes Arsenal trying to extend the stay of Dani Ceballos, plus Man United are among a host of clubs linked with Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo.

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First up, a report from Spanish outlet El Confidencial says that Arsenal are keen to extend the loan of Ceballos from Real Madrid until the end of the 2019-20 season but do not plan on signing him permanently.

The Spanish midfielder, 23, has been superb for the Gunners when he’s been fit and he’s flourished in a deeper central midfield role since Mikel Arteta took charge. Ceballos, a Spanish international, has previously stated he wants to return to Real but if there’s no spot for him in Zinedine Zidane’s plans, perhaps another loan move beckons?

Arsenal probably aren’t in a financial position to buy Ceballos as the club have already agreed with their players to a pay cut over the next 12 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira around, Arsenal have plenty of central midfield options but Ceballos has real quality on the ball and given the way Arteta wants to play, he needs someone who can retain possession and link the play effortlessly in a central midfield role.

After his injuries, a change in manager and a topsy-turvy season for Arsenal overall, it is tough to judge Ceballos’ first season in the Premier League so far but it’s obvious their midfield has more class when he’s in it.

Staying in midfield, Man United and Tottenham have been linked with Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo, 20, who is one of the top young talents in Serie A.

The Daily Star have the report, as Zaniolo is a fine midfielder who can play in a variety of positions.

Zaniolo suffered an ACL injury in January but he is expected to be fit in June and both Man United and Spurs are keen to try and test Roma’s resolve with a cut-price offer. Previously the Italian giants wanted over $63 million for Zaniolo but the report states that United could offer way below that due to Roma’s financial situation.

This seems more like a Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transfer than Jose Mourinho. Man United are prioritizing adding young players and Zaniolo fits the bill. Man United are one midfield player short, with a more creative force needed out wide on the right in particular.

Zaniolo would obviously be a lot cheaper than signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and his clever running, passing and flicks would knit things together nicely alongside Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in attack. He made his debut for the Italian national team in 2019 and scored twice in five outings for the Azzurri.

It is clear Man United are keen on signing a new midfielder when the transfer window next opens, while Tottenham will prioritize signing new defenders and more a defensive central midfielder.

Premier League social media wrap: Robertson, Milner rank sitcoms; Richarlison chills

Premier League social media
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Shooting down transfer rumors, tossing video game controllers, and debating the laugh tracks are all a part of Friday’s PL social media wrap.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Liverpool stars Andrew Robertson and James Milner pitched in to the club feed with a video discussing the best sitcoms in British history.

It’s worth it if only for Robertson’s marginally accurate turn doing a dance from “The Inbetweeners.”

Everton star Richarlison looks to be home in Brazil, and quite chilled out in a beach setting.

The forward turns 23 on Sunday and has already collected 28 Premier League goals between Watford and Everton.

He has 19 caps and six goals for Brazil.

The ePremier League Invitational has been a source of entertainment for soccer-deprived fans this coronavirus pandemic, and play continued in the second edition on Friday.

Sheffield United’s John Egan handled his business against Brighton and Hove Albion’s Aaron Connelly, who was none-too-pleased to concede a goal.

Thrown controllers. Stars, they’re just like us.

Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos turned to an American politician to show his feelings about a transfer rumor after an account Tweeted thoughts of a swap deal.

Ceballos, a Real Madrid player, would join left back Sergio Reguilon, currently on loan at Sevilla, and $32 million in moving to Sevilla in exchange for Argentine striker Lucas Ocampos.

It’s never happening that way, but it’s funny enough.

Arteta on big Arsenal win, Champions League ban for old friends Man City

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is feeling optimistic at his team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, even if it comes with conflicted feelings about a lot of his friends.

The longtime Manchester City assistant coach knows that fifth place could be enough to get his Gunners into the UCL after City was banned for two years.

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Now Sunday’s dismantling of Newcastle United has Arsenal six points back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners can still directly affect the fates of several teams ahead of them, with Everton, Spurs, Leicester City, and Wolves on the docket.

“Ten days ago I was disappointed with the draw at Burnley and it looked so far away,” he said, via the BBC. “Now it’s up to us to put a run together.”

Arteta was also asked about his feelings for City during a tough time for his former employers.

“I’ve been in contact with him,” Arteta said of City boss Pep Guardiola, via Football.London. “I just want the best for City, I know how hard they work. Now I have to do the very best for Arsenal. I was shocked, contacted Pep to feel for them because I know they are suffering.”

The manager also had kind words for two redemptive pieces of Arsenal’s puzzle. Dani Ceballos had a strong game in the center of the park, and Arteta said the midfielder has been “an animal” since returning to health and dedicating himself to the cause.

As for Nicolas Pepe, who hasn’t been a consistent starter for three Arsenal managers this year, his one goal, two-assist performance wasn’t what drew Arteta’s praise.

“We just need consistency from him,” he said. “The way he applied himself defensively he was top drawer, things he wasn’t doing in the past.”

Sunday’s match started a run of four matches in 11 days for the Gunners. They’ll visit Olympiacos on Thursday, then welcome Everton on Feb. 23 before the Greeks come to London for the second leg of the Europa League tie.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of Goal.com, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.

Watch Live: Watford v. Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil makes his first start of the season as Arsenal visits Watford and new/old manager Quique Sanchez Flores on Sunday at Vicarage Road (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Ozil has two goals and four assists in nine appearances against Watford.

Dani Ceballos is also starting for the Gunners, who will be without Alexandre Lacazette for the next few weeks.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Gerard Deulofeu heads into the Starting XI for the Hornets, who will have in-form Will Hughes on the other side of the field.


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