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Koscielny refuses to go on Arsenal’s U.S. tour

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Arsenal’s captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel with the team on their preseason tour of the USA.

Koscielny, 33, has one year left on his current Gunners deal and the likes of Rennes, Bordeaux and Lyon in his homeland want to sign him.

It is believed Koscielny asked to be released from his contract a year early to head back to France, but that request was turned down and Arsenal’s captain has now decided to take this drastic step.

Arsenal have slammed Koscielny in an official statement, as the club have now opened disciplinary proceedings against the French international.

“Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour. We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions. We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

Flying out to California on Thursday, Arsenal will play against the Colorado Rapids in a friendly, then take part in the International Champions Cup with games against Bayern Munich in Los Angeles), Fiorentina in Charlotte and Real Madrid in Washington D.C. before heading back to the UK.

Koscielny’s decision to not turn up for preseason will surely see him stripped of the captaincy, but it also gives Unai Emery an unwanted headache. Last season Emery dealt with Mesut Ozil being unhappy and the Spanish coach was all about unity and having a collective spirit following Arsene Wenger‘s departure.

This decision from Koscielny will no doubt have a huge impact on the locker room.

Shokdran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Callum Chambers, Dinos Mavropanos and Sokratis are Arsenal’s current options at center back, but there’s no doubt Koscielny would have been a starter alongside Sokratis this season.

The Gunners are closing in on a deal to sign French youngster William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for $34 million then loan him back to the Ligue 1 club. Considering this situation with Koscielny, they may try and keep Saliba for the upcoming season instead.

Koscielny has been a fans favorite since he arrived in 2010 and his rise from the lower French leagues to the Premier League and UEFA Champions League while also captaining Arsenal is a great story.

However, in recent years injuries have hit him hard and although nobody really points the finger towards him with regards to Arsenal’s recent defensive frailties, Koscielny has been to blame with some major errors.

Arsenal should probably cut their losses here and let Koscielny leave on a free, as overall he’s been a good servant to the club and they are unlikely to receive that much for him in terms of a transfer fee. Then again, you cannot let one player dictate your transfer dealings as they sets a poor precedent.

What a mess. Koscielny hasn’t conducted himself well here, and Arsenal putting this out in the open has escalated the seriousness of the situation.

Tottenham smash transfer record to sign Ndombele

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Tanguy Ndombele is now officially a Tottenham Hotspur player.

The French international, 22, completed his move to the Premier League on Tuesday as Spurs shattered their transfer record to sign the central midfield from Lyon.

Ndombele has reportedly cost Tottenham close to $82 million, which almost doubles their previous record transfer fee of $45 million for Davinson Sanchez in 2017.

With several top clubs across Europe chasing Ndombele, he has chosen to head to White Hart Lane on a contract until 2025, as Spurs will build their entire midfield around the exciting two-way player.

Ndombele has been superb for Lyon over the past two seasons and has broken into the French national team in recent months.

His distribution, reading of the game, dribbling and ability to intercept opponents have elevated him to the this level and he’s one of the best two-way central midfielders in the game right now.

After losing the silky skills of Mousa Dembele, this was an area where Spurs really needed to strengthen. Ndombele’s arrival means the likes of Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama could well be on their way out this summer, with Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks battling to start alongside him, while Christian Eriksen is likely heading out of the door with just one year left on his current contract.

Signing Ndombele is a massive coup in the transfer market for Tottenham.

Daniel Levy spending this much money on one player is a huge statement on its own, and it will also help to keep the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli enthused about the Spurs project as they continue to challenge in the Champions League and the top four of the Premier League.

After going 18 months without signing a single new player (517 days, if you were counting…), Tottenham signed two new players in one day as promising teenager Jack Clarke arrived from Leeds United just before Ndombele and the English winger was then loaned back to Leeds for the 2019-20 campaign.

Turns out it is true what they say about London buses…

Transfer gossip: Brahimi to Arsenal; Ndombele to Man Utd

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Arsenal’s summer transfer rumors revolved around defending, but the last few weeks have focused on attack options (outside of endless Kieran Tierney talk).

Last week, it was Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace.

Enter Yacine Brahimi.

[ MORE: Lampard, Chelsea take next step ]

The 29-year-old Porto man may be joining the Gunners on a free transfer, providing plenty of experience to Unai Emery‘s attack corps.

Capped 48 times by Algeria with 11 goals, Brahimi had been with Porto since 2014. The left winger has 54 goals and 43 assists in 215 appearances over that time.

There are a lot of questions here, but the price tag of free-99 makes them all pretty palatable.


TalkSport claims that the many reports of Tanguy Ndombele’s eventual move to Tottenham Hotspur may have jumped the gun.

Or maybe Manchester United has jumped the line.

Last week saw reports that the 22-year-old Lyon man’s fee may go up soon if Spurs can’t sort the price for the midfielder.

And perhaps United will pay the $82 million fee and give Ndombele whatever he wants.

It would be a huge blow to Spurs, if only to Mauricio Pochettino who has publicly complained about how other clubs get to dictate terms on transfers while he just plays a role in Daniel Levy’s structure (He’s also given plenty of respect and credit to Levy over the years).

The same report mentions a potential breakthrough for United when it comes to its attacking ranks, and that’s in the form of Wissam Ben Yedder.

The $44 million price tag is not insignificant for the 28-year-old Frenchman, who scored eight goals in Europa League and 18 goals with nine goals in La Liga play at Sevilla.

That was his best season since his final four seasons with Toulouse, where Ben Yedder scored 15, 16, 14, and 17 league goals at Ligue 1.


O Jogo is linking Newcastle United with Dutch striker Bas Dost, but we wonder how much of that is based on long-term interest versus reality. Dost, 30, was linked with the Magpies in the past but is now well past the age mentioned as their transfer age limits. But it’s a rumor, so it makes the wrap, along with Sevilla interest.

Transfer rumor roundup: Zaha to Arsenal; Ndombele delay

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The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are kicking up a few notches between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


According to our partners at Sky Sports Wilfried Zaha has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave this summer for a fresh challenge.

The report states that he wants to sign for another club in London who play in Europe, which narrows it down to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. The latter have a transfer ban, so that’s not going to happen, so Zaha is eyeing north London.

He grew up as an Arsenal fan and per the report the Gunners have been sounded out about a deal and are going to be a bid in for Palace’s star who they value at $100 million. Zaha, 26, is currently away on international duty with the Ivory Coast but has started their two opening games on the bench, and would be a instant starter at either Arsenal or Spurs with his incredible pace and trickery out wide a nightmare to defend.

Zaha came through the ranks at Palace before being sold to Manchester United in 2013, but he then returned to Palace first on loan and then permanently in January 2015. It is believed United will receive 25 percent of any transfer fee Palace receive, as this is another huge blow for the Eagles who have already sold Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man United this summer and Zaha scored  10 Premier League goals last season.

Despite signing a huge new contract last summer, Zaha spoke to the Daily Mail towards the end of last season about wanting to move on.

“For me to be better, to achieve what I know I am capable of, I have to aim to play at the very highest level, to win trophies,” Zaha said. “I’m blessed to have come this far in my playing career. But I feel like there is so much more I have to offer. I have to experience the Champions League. I just need the opportunity, that’s it. And I’ll do the rest.”

Now it’s about Arsenal putting up the cash to sign Zaha, and they’ll likely have to offload a few players to bring him in as Unai Emery reportedly has just $60 million to spend this summer after the Gunners failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.


Tottenham may be in for Zaha in the long run, but someone they are much closer to signing is Lyon and France central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

But they better hurry up.

A deal for Ndombele, 22, was said to be close as Spurs closed in on a significant signing after going 18 months without a new addition to their squad over the last three transfer windows.

But Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon’s president, has revealed he will increase the price for Ndombele to $90 million unless Spurs crack on with negotiations.

“If I wait another eight days, it will be €80m. Tottenham made us an opening offer worth €45m. Then, we discussed more. Nothing is done, I can assure you. We are not in a hurry either. Tanguy has shown his qualities with the French national team. He is one of our best players. How much is he worth? I do not know, but not just €45m,” Aulas said.

“We had people speaking all night with Daniel Levy. He talks a lot and goes back on what we’ve agreed in writing. Agreements have not at all been respected. We had email exchanges which have been contradicted, so that’s made it very complicated. It’s difficult. The Tottenham board’s theory is to explain that the economic market is very hard and so we have to get used to renegotiating.

“It’s been very, very difficult. I’ve got 25 years of experience as a president of a club and it’s our 16th participation in a European competition in a row. But this is very rare in the football world. The negotiation with the Tottenham directors has been the hardest I have ever had to undergo in these 25 years.”

Now, Lyon’s president is known for being pretty outrageous with his public comments and this is no different. It also proves what everyone knows about Daniel Levy, that he is one of the top negotiators out there.

Spurs need someone to hold down central midfield, with Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier not really working out, while Moussa Sissoko has surprisingly been a revelation in a slightly different role in central midfield. Ndombele has been superb for Lyon over the past two seasons and has broken into the French national team in recent months. His distribution, reading of the game, dribbling and ability to intercept opponents have elevated him to the this level and he’s one of the best two-way central midfielders in the game right now.

This would be a massive coup in the transfer market for Tottenham.

With Christian Eriksen expected to move on this summer, Spurs will have some cash to spend and getting in Ndombele and perhaps improving their central defense with Toby Alderweireld also rumored to be leaving, has to be the priority.

Report: Tottenham lands $82M Ndombele from Lyon

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This could be a big one.

Tanguy Ndombele had one of the top seasons in Ligue 1, and Tottenham Hotspur will reportedly smash their transfer record to sign the Lyon midfielder according to Sky Sports.

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The fee will be above $82 million for the 22-year-old, who scored a goal with a career-best seven assists in league play this season, adding a pair of goals against Hoffenheim in the Champions League.

Ndombele is a center midfielder who will give plenty of options for Mauricio Pochettino in the midfield, and he joins a pair of similar-minded midfielders who moved from Ligue 1 to the Premier League on big money last season (Fulham’s Jean-Michael Seri and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa).

Lyon had Ndombele on loan for a year before spending around $10 million to buy him from Amiens, who retained a 20 percent stake in any profit Lyon would make on a future sale of the player.

Ndombele has six caps for France, and his last three were all starts.