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One winner and loser as Arsenal reportedly target Steven N’Zonzi

The World Cup winner is reportedly Unai Emery’s prime midfield target.

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Unai Emery has already added five new faces to his Arsenal squad ahead of his debut Premier League campaign but further recruits are being targeted.

With Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla having left on free transfers, and the future of Aaron Ramsey being far from certain, Emery is looking to bolster his midfield options – despite already landing Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira.

World Cup winner Steven N’Zonzi is Arsenal’s prime target, according to France Football, as the Gunners try to negotiate a deal for less than his £35 million (40 million euros) release clause as they do not want to pay such a high price for a player who is 29.

The way things are shaping up, this could be the defining Arsenal transfer saga in the final weeks of the window and his signature would provide a major impact on the squad.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Winner: Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil is currently in an incredibly turbulent situation after he quit Germany’s national side after becoming the scapegoat of his nation’s World Cup failure, citing racism as a major reason for his decision to move aside.

Having signed a lucrative new deal with Arsenal in January, Ozil is under pressure to perform for the Gunners and the situation in recent months will have only increased that – so having someone like N’Zonzi in the squad would be vital.

Sitting as a holding midfielder, likely alongside Uruguay international Torreira, that partnership would allow Ozil freedom in the final third, restricting the amount of work he has to do defensively – which is clearly something where Arsenal’s new number 10 struggles.

“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Ozil hits out on social media after intense criticism.

Loser: Mohamed Elneny

Mohamed Elneny only signed a long-term contract extension with Arsenal in March but the future of the Egypt international is already under intense speculation following Emery’s signings this summer – and landing N’Zonzi would surely oust him from the squad.

Elneny has had to fight with the likes of Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Wilshere for playing opportunities since his arrival from FC Basel in 2016 but the 26-year-old has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth for the Gunners.

His versatility is a tremendous asset for Arsenal but it may also be what is holding him back, as he is not first-choice in any midfield position and faces a stern task ahead of him if that is to change. However, that task would be impossible if N’Zonzi arrived at the Emirates Stadium.

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Arsenal

Arsenal fans want Emery to sell Granit Xhaka after Man City loss

Fans are demanding Arsenal sell Xhaka in the next two weeks.

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Arsenal fans have made it clear throughout the history of the internet they need someone to be angry at and Granit Xhaka has inherited the crown.

With Arsene Wenger finally out, the Switzerland international has followed the likes of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s weekly scapegoat, a title that is tough to shake, and his performance against Manchester City did not help matters.

Poor on the ball and struggling to cope with the Citizens’ quota of stars, fans on social media quickly flocked to criticism the midfielder and demand that Unai Emery sells the former Borussia Monchengladbach man ASAP.

With Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira amongst Emery’s summer acquisitions, Xhaka has plenty of competition for his role in midfield and many fans have made it clear they don’t want to see Xhaka wear the Arsenal shirt once again.

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen and, a few months down the line, another scapegoat may have been identified. For now, it’s best Xhaka avoids logging onto Twitter…

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Emery’s Arsenal conference: Left-back options, Ramsey & further exits

A new era under Emery dawns for Arsenal.

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Arsenal enter a Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades, with Unai Emery now at the helm in north London.

The new boss starts life in English football with a baptism of fire as Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City on Sunday, where Emery has five new signings to potentially include in his starting line-up.

Ahead of his Premier League debut, Emery spoke to the press and we picked up three key takeaways from his comments.

Maitland-Niles in defence

Arsenal begin the season with a major issue in defence, as Sead Kolasinac will miss around ten weeks through injury and Nacho Monreal is not back to full fitness after returning from the World Cup with a knee problem.

(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

That means that young Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be thrown into the deep end due to his versatility, featuring on the left-side of a defence against the Premier League champions. Fortunately, he has experience in this position and Emery is confident he can impress.

“We want to give him confidence and the possibility to play. I’m not sure because I am going to decide tomorrow or on Sunday on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.”

Ramsey update

Arsenal fans will have breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the transfer window closed yesterday, as it brought an end to speculation that Aaron Ramsey would be sold. However, it is far from the end of the saga concerning the Wales international.

(Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images for ICC)

With less than 12 months remaining on his contract, Arsenal are fearful that Ramsey could walk for nothing next summer and are working hard behind the scenes to secure the 27-year-old favourite to fresh terms. Unfortunately, Emery did not have a positive update to share.

“That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.”

Three could still leave

The transfer window has come to a close in the Premier League but the European window remains open until the end of the month, while Football League sides also have until the end of August to negotiate loan deals.

(Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Emery named three players that could leave by the end of the month in David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell – with goalkeeper Ospina currently the closest to an exit as Besiktas try to complete a deal for the stopper.

Interestingly, Danny Welbeck was omitted from the list despite speculation that a number of sides were keen on his services and that suggests he could still have a part to play this season.

“Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to leave or come with more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave.”

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One winner and loser from Arsenal’s pre-season campaign

Major changes took place in north London this summer

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Photo: Getty Images

A new era has dawned for Arsenal, we will enter the Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades.

Unai Emery has taken charge of the Emirates Stadium and swiftly rejuvenated the squad with five new signings, while also waving goodbye to established players like Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, both of whom left on free transfers.

Overall, Arsenal’s pre-season campaign was a positive one as the Gunners thrashed Paris Saint-Germain, edged Lazio in Sweden, beat Chelsea on penalties and held Atletico Madrid to a draw before losing on a shootout.

From those results we have identified one winner and one loser.

Winner: Emile Smith Rowe

Every pre-season there seems to be a young starlet who announces himself to Arsenal fans, catching the eye and providing a platform to build upon in the forthcoming campaign with the aim of fighting into the first-team squad.

(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

This year it was the turn of Emile Smith Rowe, who made headlines with a stunning goal against Atletico Madrid in Singapore and impressed in the other games where he featured, potentially opening the path for regular football under Unai Emery.

Still just 18, the starlet has now outlined his plans for the forthcoming season as he seeks to earn opportunities in cup competitions.

“My long-term goal is to get in the first team permanently. But this season it’s to try to get as many minutes as I can in the Europa League and cups, and hopefully make my Premier League debut.”

– Smith Rowe reveals his plans for 2018-19.

Loser: Danny Welbeck

It has been a very strange summer for Danny Welbeck. Only returning to training this week following an extended break after the World Cup, Welbeck featured for just 11 minutes of football for England in Russia and may wonder if his career would have been better off staying at home.

In his absence, Welbeck has seen Alex Iwobi and Reiss Nelson awarded new contracts as well as witnessing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette craft an exciting partnership in attack – which left the former Manchester United man on the fringes.

After failing to earn a permanent exit, Football.London states he will remain in the squad fighting for a place but it is clear the 27-year-old is now a spare part in north London.

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