Arsenal news and transfers LIVE: Arteta expects activity, Zakaria boost, Aston Villa star wanted – Football.London

Welcome to football.london’s Arsenal live blog on Friday, December 31.

Arsenal’s proposed Premier League clash against Wolves on Monday didn’t go ahead after several members of Bruno Lage’s squad tested positive for Covid-19.

The postponement means that the Gunners’ last game was an emphatic 5-0 win against Norwich City on Boxing Day.

They face league leaders Manchester City in the early kick-off on New Year’s Day, but they’ll be without manager Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.

Off the pitch, Arsenal continue to be linked with a move for several top-quality players, with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Phillipe Coutinho named as potential targets.

With all that in mind, make sure to stay with us throughout the day as we bring you all the latest news, views and transfer rumours from the Emirates.

Bobby Vincent

Inside track on Arsenal vs Man City

The Inside Track brings you the best in betting tips with tipster Tom Phillips looking ahead to Arsenal’s match against Premier League leaders Manchester City.

READ MORE HERE

Arsenal host Man City at the Emirates Stadium (Image: Getty Images)

Bobby Vincent

Guimaraes talks underway

According to journalist Nicolo Schira, Arsenal have started talks with Lyon to sign Bruno Guimaraes next month.

He tweeted: “Arsenal are really interested in Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes. Edu loves him and has opened talks to try to sign him.”

Schira added: “Let’s see what happens. In the transfer market all the players have a price.

“It’s not a simple deal for Arsenal, but Edu is working and – if arrives an important bid – Aulas could sell Bruno Guimaraes.”

Bruno Guimaraes is a reported Arsenal target. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) (Image: Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Bobby Vincent

Arteta transcript

Mikel Arteta spoke to the media today ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Manchester City, with the Arsenal boss taking the press conference on Zoom from his own home.

READ WHAT HE HAD TO SAY HERE

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Bobby Vincent

Cancelo decision

Joao Cancelo has travelled with the Manchester City squad to play Arsenal on New Year’s Day.

Read more from the Manchester Evening News here.

Joao Cancelo looks set to face Arsenal on Saturday (Image: Getty Images)

Bobby Vincent

Kulusevski transfer boost

According to Calciomercato, Arsenal are leading the race to sign Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski in January.

The Sweden international continues to be linked with a move to the Gunners and reports in Italy are suggesting that he could indeed be on his way to the Emirates Stadium.

Dejan Kulusevski of Juventus during the Serie A match between Juventus and Cagliari Calcio at Allianz Stadium (Image: Filippo Alfero – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images)

Bobby Vincent

Saka transfer warning

Sol Campbell has warned Arsenal that they need to tie Bukayo Saka down to a new long-term contract amid reported interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Over the last couple of days, the Gunners star has been linked with a shock move to the Reds, and Campbell has now sent a stark warning to his former club.

He told talkSPORT: “When you get young players who just come out and do really, really well, you’ve got to protect them, you’ve got to secure them.

“They’re the lifeblood for the fans, for their country, England, and especially Arsenal. You can’t allow top, top players to run their contracts down and move on because you’re taking too long.”

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images) (Image: Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Bobby Vincent

Arteta opens up on Arsenal transfer plans

Mikel Arteta has admitted he is expecting some “activity” at Arsenal when the January transfer window opens.

“We are expecting some activity because there are some players and a few loans that hopefully we have to complete,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“But it depends. It’s – as we all know – a very complicated market, and it’s a short window, so we will see what happens.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the press from his home after having to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time.

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Fitness boosts

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Taylor-Hart loan?

football.london understands that Arsenal want to expose Kido Taylor-Hart to senior football to aid his development, and could send him out on loan in the January transfer window.

Taylor-Hart has impressed for Kevin Betsy’s Under-23 side this season.

Kido Taylor-Hart celebrates his goal for Arsenal under-23s against Tottenham under-23s during a Premier League 2 clash at London Colney. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Guardiola’s verdict

Manchester City boss has previously explained why reported Arsenal transfer target Douglas Luiz would be an excellent signing.

Read what he had to say HERE.

Douglas Luiz has been linked with a move to Arsenal. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) (Image: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Zakaria boost

According to reports from Germany, via Sport Witness, Arsenal have been the first team to contact Denis Zakaria, who is set to leave Borussia Monchengladbach for free next summer.

The Swiss international has previously been linked with a switch to north London and could be the perfect option for Mikel Arteta given his defensive nous and undeniable ability to read the game.

Denis Zakaria’s contract is due to run out at the end of the 2021/22 season

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Merson predicts Arsenal loss

Arsenal icon Paul Merson has predicted Manchester City to beat his old side tomorrow.

Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson said: “Arsenal are playing well at the moment but Manchester City are on another planet, so anything other than a win for the away side will come as a huge surprise to me.

“Arsenal always beat the so-called lesser teams and struggle badly against the big boys – this Premier League encounter looks like it could head in the same direction.”

Paul Merson after Arsenal’s win over Sunderland (Image: Sky Sports)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Stuivenburg profiled

Arsenal will be without manager Mikel Arteta for tomorrow’s clash against Manchester City after the Spaniard tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.

Assistant coach Albert Stuivenburg may take Arteta’s place in the managerial dugout as the Spaniard continues to isolate at home.

Read everything you need to know about Stuivenburg HERE.

Albert Stuivenburg during a training session at London Colney. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Lamptey interest

Transfer guru Duncan Castles has claimed on The Transfer Window Podcast that Tariq Lamptey is a target for Arsenal.

Castles said: “What you have here is Arsenal, who has an interest in Lamptey when he burst onto the scene before that difficult injury.

“They are looking again to sign him and are exploring the parameters of the deal.”

Tariq Lamptey of Brighton during their Premier League match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

City prediction

BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted Manchester City to beat Arsenal this weekend.

“As much as Arsenal have improved, and as good as their home record is – only Manchester City’s is better this season – there is still a huge gulf between these two sides,” he wrote for BBC Sport.

“The difference is not going to be as big as it was when City beat the Gunners 5-0 at Etihad Stadium in August, but taking on the leaders is a heck of an ask for Arsenal’s young side.

“When I look at how City have been playing during their run of 10 straight league wins, I can only think this is going to be victory number 11.”

Pep Guardiola’s side endured a frustrating start to the season (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Luiz interest

According to ESPN, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.

The Gunners may need reinforcements in the middle of the mark given Ainsley Maitland-Niles appears to be on his way out in the coming days.

Douglas Luiz during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City (Image: Daniel Chesterton/Offside)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Saka tipped for captaincy

BBC pundit Garth Crooks has tipped Bukayo Saka to be named Arsenal captain one day.

“The Arsenal star has been consistently outstanding throughout the year and has easily been the Gunners’ best player,” Crooks said. “He’s still only 20 and sadly too young to take the captain’s armband, but it’s only a matter of time.”

Bukayo Saka had surpassed his Premier League goal contributions from last season. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) (Image: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Dest decision

Reported Arsenal target Sergino Dest is ‘very flattered’ by the amount of interest emerging for his services, according to Mundo Deportivo.

However, the report claims that the Barcelona defender is happy at the Camp Nou and has no intentions to leave the club.

Sergino Dest of FC Barcelona reacts during the match against CA Osasuna (Image: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Kulusevski boost

According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, Arsenal have moved ahead of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski.

The Swedish international has been fiercely linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium ahead of the January transfer window after falling out of favour at the Turin-based club.

Dejan Kulusevski of Juventus. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Image: Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Conte claim

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has had his say on Spurs’ chances to finish in the top-four this season.

I don’t know which is the favourite. For sure, on paper there are four very strong teams with good squads, important squads. City, United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

I think these are the four top teams that have to fail [for us] to find a place in Champions League.

You have to be very, very good because there’s also Arsenal, West Ham, Leicester and Everton – many, many good teams. You have to hope the others fail and you’re good and over-perform 200 percent.

Antonio Conte has called on Tottenham to make new signings in the January transfer window

Aaron Catterson-Reid

Maitland-Niles latest

Arsenal have been overwhelmed with enquiries from Premier League clubs for wantaway star Ainsley Maitland-Niles, according to 90min.

Maitland-Niles has struggled for game time this term and has been in talks with Italian side AS Roma over a potential loan deal ahead of the January transfer window.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be on his way to Roma. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Image: Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Lewis Pangratiou

Dembele contact

According to Foot Mercato, Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in signing Ousmane Dembele and have already made contact.

Dembele sees his contract at the Nou Camp expire at the end of the season and he is reportedly keen on leaving the La Liga outfit.

Ousmane Dembele is being linked with a move to Arsenal (Image: Getty Images)

Lewis Pangratiou

Maitland-Niles deal close

Correire Dello Sport claims that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has agreed personal terms ahead of a January move to Roma.

football.london understands that the 24-year-old is keen on leaving Arsenal next month and Roma are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the Gunners.

Arsenal are expected to negotiate an obligation clause – likely to be in the region of £10million – which would be linked to the amount of appearances Maitland-Niles makes.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be on his way to Roma. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Image: Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Lewis Pangratiou

Liverpool eye shock Saka move

We start with a few bits you may have missed from yesterday, including this news regarding Arsenal star, Bukayo Saka.

Speaking on The Transfer Window podcast, Ian McGarry has claimed Liverpool are eyeing a move for the talented young Englishman.

McGarry says that Saka is one player who Liverpool are considering in a “priority area”.

McGarry said: “Liverpool are looking to the future with regards to the fact that they expect to sell at least two of their attacking players. Saka is someone who suits Liverpool’s style.

“Obviously he’s dynamic in terms of the way that he converts chances and also someone who can play in different positions as well.”

Jurgen Klopp and Bukayo Saka (Image: Getty Images)

Lewis Pangratiou

Good morning!

Hello and welcome along to today’s live Arsenal blog.

We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the latest ongoings from the Emirates so make sure to stay tuned throughout the day.

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