In today’s news roundup, we have injury updates from both teams ahead of the derby between Arsenal and Chelsea, along with the latest transfer rumours.
Also in the news, discussions about whether Santi Cazorla is looking to leave the Emirates and an analysis of his impact from his teammates. All this and more in today’s roundup.
Arsenal v Chelsea: Injury updates ahead of crucial derby
Chelsea may be facing something of a crisis when they head to the Emirates this weekend, with Didier Drogba joining Loic Remy and Diego Costa as doubts for the game.
Costa has suffered badly with injuries in the second half of the season, and was thought to be a doubt for the game. Remy is also likely to be watching from the sidelines, with the Frenchman still recovering from a calf injury. Drogba has been leading the line for the Blues in recent weeks, but after suffering an ankle injury he too looks likely to miss out.
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But Costa may yet make some impact on the game. ESPN report that he is back in training, and claim he could still make an appearance. The former Atletico Madrid hit-man will surely not be fully fit and at his sharpest however, so hopefully we can take advantage and end Arsene Wenger’s poor run against Jose Mourinho.
As for Arsenal, Per Mertesacker looks set to miss our Premier League clash with Chelsea, according to The Telegraph. The 30-year-old was withdrawn during our 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Reading, with a previously unidentified injury. He was later diagnosed with a minor ankle sprain, despite earlier fears that it may have been more serious.
He will surely be replaced by January signing Gabriel Paulista, and while the Brazilian has looked decent during his sparse appearances so far, he definitely doesn’t have the aerial presence of his colleague, and does appear to have a mistake or two in his locker. On the plus side, Gabriel has excellent pace, and his recovery speed will be useful against the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian.
Arsenal transfer rumours: German midfielder and Italian striker on the cards?
We have recently been linked with a move for promising young striker Paulo Dybala, and have officially lodged a bid for the 21-year-old, according to the Express.
Palermo club president Zamparini had this to say:
Dybala is not Sergio Aguero but the new [Lionel] Messi.
He’s not an out-and-out striker, but operates in every area of the field, like Messi.
Will he stay? No, because the player and his agent aspire to a big club, and they’re right to do so. I’ve already received at least four offers.
Two were from Italian clubs, and two were from abroad, and they include Arsenal and Juventus.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are also said to have entered ‘serious’ discussions with Borussia Dortmund regarding their midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, according to German publication SportBild.
Bild are known to be a reliable outlet and were one of the first to break the news that manager Jurgen Klopp was set to step down. In fact, it was those reports which hastened Dortmund’s announcement as they called an unexpected press conference.
Inevitably, the imminent departure of Klopp has led to talk of a mass exodus at the Westfalenstadion, but in the case of Gundogan, his situation is slightly more delicate. The midfielder’s contract ends in 2016 and with no sign of an extension, Dortmund could be forced to sell due to fear of losing him on a free transfer.
Cazorla: Indispensable or set to leave?
La Liga expert Guillem Balague insists that there is a strong possibility that Santi Cazorla could leave the Emirates this summer, and claims Arsenal must convince him that next season we can win the league. Cazorla has been superb once again this season, and has been one of the more consistent players in the team. He has often been outshone by the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, and Olivier Giroud, but he has been hugely important to our campaign.
Balague believes he will want to be assured that we will be challenging for the title next season, or he may look for opportunities elsewhere:
I believe Santi has got a year remaining on his current contract.
It’s down to Arsenal to convince him they can win the league because they really have improved this season.
If they sign another two or three top players then you’re talking about a team who can challenge for the title next season.
He would be welcomed with open arms at any time by Atletico Madrid.
But it’s Arsenal’s job to convince him that they can challenge for the title.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s Chilean sensation Alexis Sanchez has heaped praise upon the Spanish playmaker, praising his quality and contributions to the team:
When I arrived at the club I didn’t know the players that well, but I was really surprised by everyone’s quality.
I am not saying this just because it’s my obligation to do it as a club player. Every Arsenal footballer has amazing quality. Being part of a team like this makes me very proud. I am willing to win many titles here.
Santi Cazorla is a spectacular player. You never know whether he will kick the ball with his right or left foot. Also, he moves with short but quick strides, which is a remarkable trademark too.
Although I knew about his quality, playing alongside him makes me very happy.
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