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Arsenal: Defender’s contract worry; Keown impressed by Spurs; no Kroenke payment

Five consecutive Premier League wins means the outlook for Arsenal has brightened considerably in recent weeks. There was plenty of rancour at the Emirates when Sadio Mane buried Liverpool’s fourth goal on the opening weekend of the season as Arsene Wenger’s side lost their first league game for the third time in four seasons. However, they have picked themselves up with victories against Watford, Southampton, Hull, Chelsea and Burnley as well as away draws at Leicester and PSG.

Nonetheless, there might be some bad news on the horizon with reports suggesting that Hector Bellerin might be tempted by a return to Barcelona or a move to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Bellerin has established himself as one of the best young full-backs in Europe and has only two years remaining on his contract. The Daily Telegraph’s gossip column today states:

“The Times claims that the Arsenal defender is weighing up his options at Arsenal and could reject a new deal with the club.

“Manchester City are thought to be keen on the Catalan full-back, while Barcelona, who lost Bellerin to Arsenal in 2011 on a free transfer, are also monitoring the situation.

“Arsenal have offered Bellerin a new five-year deal thought to be worth £100,000 per week, but Pep Guardiola wants to recruit a new, young full-back to address the problem that his current players in the position are all over 30.”

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There are shades of the Cesc Fabregas saga about this situation. Arsenal took Bellerin from Barcelona on a free 2011 and they are still looking for a long-term replacement for Dani Alves who left in the summer. Man City’s weakest area is at full-back, with Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta all over the age of 30.

Bellerin seems perfectly happy at Arsenal, and has been in fettle in recent weeks; the Spaniard was particularly impressive against Eden Hazard at the Emirates last month.

Elsewhere, Arsenal legend Martin Keown has admitted he has been impressed by North London rivals Tottenham at the start of this season. There was plenty of attention on the two Manchester clubs at the start of the season, all of whom had unveiled new managers and had spent plenty of money. City have more than lived up to their billing, but United and Chelsea have had their troubles and the likes of Spurs and Arsenal have manoeuvred themselves into a strong position at this early stage. Keown said:

“Their defence is very solid and playing a high line works well. The wingers bomb forwards. Son Heung-min has come on really well and is taking his opportunity. It shows there has been good work in training.

“Their strength is their balance. The shape of their team gives them a really good platform from which to attack. They have pace in wide positions, their full backs push on and the two central defenders are really comfortable in possession. And they’re doing this without Kane!”

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Spurs really were superb in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over City, and are just a point from the Premier League summit. It is an exciting time for north London football, with both clubs looking strong. The first north London derby is at the Emirates is on November 6th, and it should be one of the game’s of the season.

Finally, following the release of Arsenal’s financial figures it has been revealed that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has not taken a £3 million ‘consultancy fee’ as he has done in previous years. The fee paid to KSE (Kroenke Sports and Entertainment) has been a major bone of contention among the fanbase, and was very much on the agenda at Arsenal’s last AGM. No explanation has been given as to why this change has been made.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal

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