Arsenal will be in Europa League action this week and Hector Bellerin insists that the club are in the competition to win it. They start their campaign against Cologne on Thursday and it will be a tough game against a good German team. Their right-back spoke about how the club want to do what Manchester United did last term and lift the trophy. The Mirror reports the following quotes:
“The Europa League is a very important competition for us.
“We know that if we have the possibility of winning it, we will return to the Champions League next year, which is one of our targets.”
There has been a lot of debate about whether they would take the competition seriously and it looks like they will. That is the correct decision as it offers them a route back into the Champions League and with only four places on offer in the Premier League, this could be their best chance of returning. English clubs will begin to target the Europa League as six doesn’t go into four.
Jack Wilshere could make his Arsenal return against Cologne, but he was close to leaving the club during the summer. The Evening Standard report quotes from the Trabzonspor president, Muharrem Usta, who stated that they had discussions with the midfielder.
“I held direct talks with Jack Wilshere. We wanted him on loan and were close to a deal but the move stalled at the last moment.”
It is difficult to judge whether this would have been a good move for the midfielder. His career has gone backwards in England and he is a million miles away from the national team. Injuries have had an effect, but his attitude hasn’t been helpful in moving his career forwards. Wilshere will be given an opportunity on Thursday, but he needs a big performance if he is even to get close to a Premier League return.
Kieran Gibbs did leave Arsenal during the summer transfer window as he joined West Brom. The Baggies had initially pulled out of a move, but the Gunners reduced their asking price. Tony Pulis revealed further details of the move to the Express and Star:
“I just thought Gibbs was too expensive. The £12m that Arsenal were talking about at the beginning of the season was too much.
“To get him for £5m over a period of time now is a good deal for us.”
This highlights how desperate Arsenal were to get rid of players. It is remarkable that they reduced their asking price by over half just to sell the left-back, but it indicates the cost of keeping Alexis Sanchez for the final year of his contract. They can’t afford to pay any other unnecessary costs and as Gibbs was in the final year of his deal, they had to sell during the summer.