Mikel Arteta has told captain Alexandre Lacazette to focus on finishing the season with Arsenal after the Frenchman revealed that he is talking to other clubs.
Earlier this week Lacazette gave an interview to French outlet Canal+ where he revealed he is in pre-contract talks with several clubs, including his former club Lyon, with the 30-year-old striker’s contract in north London expiring on June 30.
Arteta reiterated that Arsenal have a plan to discuss Lacazette’s future at the end of the season and told his captain that he has a duty to the football club to perform at his highest level.
“His contract situation allows him to make a decision about his future,” Arteta said. “We have expressed clearly what our intention is: to speak in the summer once we know what we do in the future together.
“For the rest, I want him fully focused on his future which is to defend Arsenal all the time like he always does and that’s why he’s wearing the armband.”
In the interview, Lacazette also revealed his intentions to play in the Champions League, with Arsenal currently locked in a battle with Tottenham and Manchester United for the Premier League’s coveted fourth spot that allows a seat at European football’s top table.
Lyon – who Lacazette played for before joining Arsenal for a then-club record fee in 2017 – are no closer to Champions League football than Arsenal, with the French club sitting in eighth place in Ligue 1, 17 points behind third spot which is the lowest position needed to qualify for the competition.
“I am in discussion with a lot of clubs,” the striker announced. “I have never cut ties with Lyon since I left. I try to return to the club once or twice a year to see the medical staff again because we are really close. They know that I am free [in the summer], they made enquiries.
“I want to play in Europe, it’s been a long time since I played in the Champions League too, so I miss it. Nothing is impossible in life but it’s a little more complicated [for Lyon without Europe].”
Arteta admitted he did not know that Lacazette was speaking to other clubs but said the striker was entitled to do what he wants with his future.
“He doesn’t need to tell me what he does in his own life,” Arteta added. “He’s entitled to do that and he has a duty to do his best here. It’s an agreement we made with him. Our position remains the same. It’s not about us or him, it’s about both parties.
“It’s not about me, it’s about me as a club. It’s the decision we made about the club, we had that decision to understand better of what we want to do in the summer. That’s what we decided. I cannot go into many details but there are a few things there.”
Arteta: Nketiah deserves more game time
The Gunners boss also addressed the future of Lacazette’s striker rival Eddie Nketiah, whose contract also expires at the end of June.
Nketiah told The Beautiful Game Podcast this week that he is frustrated about his game time at the Emirates Stadium. The 22-year-old has made 14 top-flight appearances this term, though only one of them – which came in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton – was a start.
Arteta says Nketiah deserves to have more opportunities but says he is under no pressure to play him in order to try and keep him at the club.
“He is right to be upset and that is we want from players who don’t play,” Arteta said. “If there is a player who deserves more chances, then it’s Eddie.
“It’s not about a pressure to play him, it’s about putting the team there that can win football matches and the best possible chance to win it.
“We could have played him even less, we have to treat every player with a duty that we have, we want to get the best out of them.
“With Eddie, I’ve said how much I rate him and how we have big plans for him for the future.”
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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms
His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.
The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.
After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.
Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.
“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.
That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.
In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.
There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.
However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.
While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.
Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.
With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.
Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News
Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.
The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.
The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.
There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.
What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.
I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.
Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.
Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.
Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.
The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.
It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.
In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm
February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm
February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm
March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm
March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm
Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter
It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?
As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.
And because OF COURSE:
Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.
Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:
So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.
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