Arteta negotiates for improved Arsenal deal

Emery is worried that Tottenham are also interested in taking the England midfielder to north London and if he impresses at the Euro 2024 his value could rise.

In Summary

•The Arsenal maestro has one year left on his current deal and the 42-year-old is set to become Arsenal’s highest paid manager in history.

• Arsenal are still in contention to buy RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko and despite denials, officials are putting pressure on the German Bundesliga club.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Image: FILE

Mikel Arteta is to start negotiating a new contract and he is holding all the ace cards.

The Arsenal maestro has one year left on his current deal and the 42-year-old is set to become Arsenal’s highest-paid manager in history.

Arsenal are still in contention to buy RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko and despite denials, officials are putting pressure on the German Bundesliga club.

Ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger earned around £8m (Sh1.3) per season and Arteta’s current deal is about the same. His new salary will rise to around £12m (Sh1.9bn).

I can confirm that Aaron Ramsdale, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson could be on their way out of the club if the right offers come. Bayern Munich are interested in Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey has only one year left on his contract. Arsenal are taking a long hard look at Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz.

Villa desperate to sign Chelsea’s Gallagher

Aston Villa are in discussions which could take Chelsea captain Conor Gallagher away from Stamford Bridge. Villa coach Unai Emery is desperate to sign the 24-year-old and I believe £50m (Sh8.3bn) is the figure set by the Blues’ management.

Emery is worried that Tottenham are also interested in taking the England midfielder to north London and if he impresses at the Euro 2024 his value could rise.

I know Gallagher is not keen on moving from his boyhood club but negotiations for a new deal are not going well and Chelsea are aware they might lose him on a free transfer at the end of next season.

Villa know they must strengthen now after qualifying for the Champions League but there is some doubt they can afford £50m (Sh8.3bn). One way around the large fee is to include Villa’s Columbian striker Jhon Duran as Chelsea have sent scouts to watch the 20-year-old several times since January.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in a pasta ction
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in a pasta ction
Image: FILE

De Bruyne considers a huge Saudi offer

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne said he might leave because of the “incredible money” being offered by Saudi Arabia. After joining City in 2015, the midfielder has become one of the club’s all-time greats but he is aware that at the age of 33, he must consider all options.

He said: “I still have one year left on my contract so I have to think about what would happen. My eldest child is now eight years old and he knows nothing about England. He also asks how long I will play for City.”

De Bruyne earns £400k (Sh) a week — Premier League’s highest-paid player. He concluded: “At my age, you have to be open to everything. You’re talking about incredible amounts of money in what may be the end of my career.

Sometimes you have to think about that. If I play there for two years, I will be able to earn an incredible amount of money. Before that, I had to play football for 15 years and I might not even have reached that amount of money yet.”

Fernandes wants improved pay

Bruno Fernandes wants a new contract from Manchester United that would put him on par with top earners Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and Jadon Sancho.

United’s 27 per cent shareholder, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, thinks Fernandes is United’s best player but if a large offer came in for his services, it would be considered so that further investment could be made in strengthening the team without breaking the financial rules which dominate football these days.

Fernandes’ agent, Miguel Pinho, has talked with Bayern Munich and Barcelona but I doubt this will lead to an offer. Fernandes currently earns £220k (Sh36.6m) a week and his contract runs until 2026 with the option for a further one year.

Rashford earns £365k (Sh60.7m) a week which is more than Casemiro’s at £260k (Sh43m) and Sancho earns £300k (Sh49.9m) a week.

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Virgil van Dijk
Image: FILE

Liverpool’s Kelleher wants to be a No 1

When you are in the first team squad and desperate to play regularly but your competition is considered by many to be the best in the world, how do you become No. 1? That is Liverpool goalkeeper Caolmhin Kelleher’s problem.

Kelleher got his chance when Alisson Becker was injured and out of action for a lengthy period. He performed well and won a lot of admirers. Allison’s return, however, saw Kelleher back on the substitute’s bench.

Liverpool rejected offers from Nottingham Forest last summer and again in January for their No2 stopper. I have learned he will, in a few weeks, discuss his future with new coach Arne Slot and the Liverpool management. He will make it clear he wants to be No.1.

The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper said: “I got a taste for it and I want to do it all the time. My main ambition is to be considered as No.1 and it would be great if that happened at Liverpool."

"But I am not silly and I know that Ali has been the best goalkeeper in the world for years. Whether it’s here at Liverpool or somewhere else, I do feel the next step for me is to be a No.1. I’ve loved being at Liverpool and hopefully, there is more to come.”

Spence to leave Tottenham for Italy

Tottenham defender Djed Spence is lining up a move to Italian club Genoa, where he has been on loan. The 23-year-old has enjoyed his six-month stay after failing at Leeds United.

Spurs’ coach Ange Postecoglou arrived at Tottenham and decided that Djed did not fit the bill and excluded him from pre-season training last year. Spence played 16 Serie A games and the club were impressed enough to make it clear they wanted to sign him.

Spence does not know why Postecoglou rejected him. He said: “I don’t know what went wrong but when you don’t play, it’s difficult to demonstrate your value. There’s no point in asking too many questions.”

Injury-prone Ryan Sessegnon has also been released after five years at the club, where he managed only 57 appearances. Tottenham also confirmed that Eric Dier, Ivan Perisic and Japhet Tanganga have moved on.

Timo Werner has returned, on loan from RB Leipzig, after impressing last season.

Chelsea find Silva’s successor

Chelsea are confident of signing Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer.

The 26-year-old’s contract expires in three weeks and he has received interest from other leading clubs. Newcastle are still in the hunt for his signature but Adarabioyo underwent a medical at Chelsea on Wednesday.

Chelsea want to replace central defender Thiago Silva, who has left Stamford Bridge for former club, Fluminense.

Blues’ defender, 24-year-old Trevoh Chalobah, is up for sale and will be sold if the right offer comes since he is an academy player and therefore represents pure profit for the club, which helps them to keep within the Profitability and Sustainability Rules.

Four top Ipswich players back to parent clubs

Ipswich Town have some serious recruiting to do following their promotion to the Premier League. Four of their big stars last season have for their parent clubs.

Omari Hutchinson, voted Town’s Player of the Season, Jeremy Sarmiento, Kieffer Moore and Brandon Williams played a big part in last season’s success but have now left.

Kayden Jackson and Dominic Ball have not been retained upon the expiry of their contracts.

Defender Janoi Donacien, a regular in the starting line-up until suffering injury, is continuing his rehabilitation despite being out of contract. He hopes to be fit for the new season and will play a part in coach Kieran McKenna’s plans going forward.

Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe with Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge
Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe with Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge
Image: FILE

INEOS partly blame injuries on United’s failures

Sir Jim Ratcliffe thinks Manchester United’s poor injury record is one of the reasons the club failed to live up to expectations last season. Erik Ten Hag’s squad suffered 60 injuries.

Ratcliffe and his deputy, Sir Dave Brailsford, intend to strengthen the team but emphasise they do not want players who are regularly injured. As he put it, bringing in quality players who are regularly unavailable is useless.

Ten Hag showed in the FA Cup final that he can put together a game strategy capable of beating the best. He was, however, forced to use 15 different combinations in central defence. His first-choice left-back, Luke Shaw, managed just 15 games.

Brailsford is leading in improving the medical department’s performance. Head of Sports (Medicine) Gary O’Driscoll, who joined in September, has put forward a number of changes to make the department more efficient. He was responsible for nursing Raphael Verane and Lisandro Martinez back to fitness in time for the FA Cup final.

United want to sign Everton’s Jarrad Braithwaite to partner Martinez. The Toffees want £65m (Sh10.8m).

Chelsea’s Broja for sale

Chelsea have said they are open to offers for Armando Broja. The 22-year-old forward had a miserable season after injuring his knee but insisted he was not given enough chances to make an impact.

Circumstances have worked against him and after joining Fulham on loan in January, he neither started nor scored. Rodrigo Muniz’s form kept him out.

Chelsea have to sell a number of players before June 30 to comply with the financial rules after posting a loss of £90.1m (Sh14.9bn) last season. Broja is a homegrown player and therefore represents pure profit.

He is protected because he was given a contract in 2022 which runs until 2028. He was part of the Ted Boehly, Clearlake Capital strategy of providing young players with long contracts.

Chelsea coach Maresca to play Man City and Real Madrid

Chelsea finally got their wish and appointed Leicester’s Enzo Maresca on a five-year contract which will prove to be expensive if the Italian fails to excite the management based on their lack of patience with Mauricio Pochettino.

The 44-year-old will have only a couple of weeks to work with some of his players at Chelsea’s Cobham training headquarters before they jet off for a pre-season tour to face Hollywood celebrity-backed Wrexham, who have come to prominence because of their new shareholders Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

But in reality, they are a League One club who do not offer much competition to the Chelsea superstars. The Blues will also play Celtic, Club America, Manchester City and Real Madrid, who will field their new signing from PSG, Kylian Mbappe.

Maresca plays entertaining attacking football and treats matches like a game of chess. Every player must be aware of where they are on the pitch, and where their teammates are and should be forward thinking — which Maresca calls positional awareness.