Granit Xhaka‘s agent has admitted that the midfielder wants to leave Arsenal in January.
Jose Noguera told Swiss publication BLICK that Xhaka has agreed personal terms with Hertha Berlin and that Arsenal have been informed of his desire to leave when the transfer window opens next month.
The Swiss international’s future has been in doubt ever since he swore at Arsenal’s supporters after being substituted against Crystal Palace at the end of September. Xhaka was subsequently stripped of the captaincy and dropped by then manager Unai Emery.
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“Look, I will say it frankly and honestly: we are in agreement with Hertha BSC and would like to go to Berlin,” Noguera said.
“That’s what we said Arsenal’s club boss Raul Sanllehi and sports director Edu Gaspar – as well as the new coach Mikel Arteta.”
The news comes just hours after Mikel Arteta claimed Xhaka still had a future at Arsenal and revealed Manchester City had considered signing the player in July 2016.
“When I was going from Arsenal to City to start coaching and we were looking in that position, he was one of the players on my list,” Arteta said. “This is how much I liked him. I was happy when Arsenal signed him because I thought he was going to be a terrific player.
“He has done some really good things and now he has got stuck in a very difficult situation that, I think, was growing and growing and growing and one day it exploded. But I have been amazed as well by how this relationship is starting to come back a little bit and I think the fans have been very, very positive about him. Obviously it is difficult to change completely the scenario from where he was to a magnificent one. But I think we are in the right direction with him.”
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Manchester United are interested in signing his fellow Norwegian Erling Braut Haaland.
The Red Bull Salzburg forward, 19, has been in prolific goalscoring form this season, scoring 24 goals in 20 games in all competitions including eight in the Champions League.
That has led to him being linked with several clubs across Europe, but United are always said to have had an advantage due to Solskjaer’s knowledge of the teenager from their time together at Molde.
Haaland has also been linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund as well as staying within the Red Bull framework at RB Leipzig, but Solskjaer appeared hopeful of signing the teenager when he spoke after United’s 3-0 win over Colchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
“Erling has had a good development, so he has to develop further wherever he decides.
“I don’t need to talk so much about him, but we as a team always look for players who can complement the others we have, and then we see what we end up with.”
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Solskjaer has previously stated that he believes Haaland has already made his mind up about where his future will lie, and says that the crucial thing is that the forward goes to the club that is best for him.
“It’s the most important thing with all the players, after all, wherever they go, that they thrive where you are.” he said.
United will face Manchester City in the two-legged semi-finals of the Carabao Cup in the New Year, with Aston Villa taking on Leicester in the other last four tie.
Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool do not need to use the January transfer window to avert a defensive injury crisis.
Dejan Lovren caused concern over a mounting injury list when he pulled up midway through Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, with Joel Matip also sidelined.
Matip, normally Klopp’s first choice to partner Virgil van Dijk in the centre of defence, will be out for at least two weeks with a knee injury.
Midfielder Fabinho – who played at centre-half on occasion last season when other players were unavailable – is sidelined until at least the new year with ankle ligament damage.
An injury to Lovren would have left Van Dijk and Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s only fit centre-halves – but Klopp has confirmed that the Croatian will be fit for Tuesday’s final Champions League group game against Red Bull Salzburg.
Asked whether Liverpool’s injury list would force him into the January transfer market, Klopp said: “How can you be short of centre halves when you have four centre halves plus Fabinho?
“Only Fabinho is injured, Matip is injured and Dejan Lovren had a problem, yes.
“We will not sign a centre half because of injuries – that is the world outside who thinks we are short and we have to do it – but afterwards we would have six centre halves and that wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
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“And you need quality. You can’t have just somebody [for the sake of it] – I am somebody, I am tall, not quick, but I look like a centre half at least.
“Yes I am absolutely concerned [about injuries], but Lovren is not injured. It was a little bit of cramp, and the right moment to take him off, but it is cool, everybody is fine.”
Liverpool need a draw away to Salzburg to be sure of qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League, while Napoli host Genk in the other game in Group E.
Welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE build-up to Arsenal vs Southampton.
There has been a big change in north London over the international break… but it came at Tottenham, with Spurs sensationally sacking Mauricio Pochettino and replacing him with Jose Mourinho this week.
The Special One is back in the Premier League, and the pressure will be on Unai Emery to hold off a festive charge from Spurs – but the Arsenal coach have problems of his own.
The Gunners sit sixth in the table, eight points off fourth place – and that spot is currently occupied by champions Manchester City, showing how difficult a task Champions League qualification could prove to be.
Arsenal need a result on Saturday, and welcome a struggling Southampton side to Emirates Stadium – but the Saints have put in a couple of spirited displays since their 9-0 horror show at home to Leicester City, and very nearly beat Man City in Manchester before the international break.
It may not necessarily be fair, but Tottenham’s decision to sack Pochettino and hire Mourinho will put more pressure on Emery.
James Olley reported before the international break that the Spaniard has six games to prove himself to the Arsenal hierarchy, but Spurs’ bold decision to shake things up has both ensured the Gunners can’t go and hire Mourinho, and could ensure more pressure from the fans to act if results don’t improve.