7.30am Arsenal news LIVE: Coutinho transfer UPDATE, Sanllehi contact with ‘other clubs’, Kluivert for Mkhitaryan swap – The Sun

ARSENAL are back in training as they prepare for the likely return of the Premier League next month.

And they could be about to complete a double Barcelona deal as they reportedly begin talks with Philippe Coutinho while the Catalans significantly drop their asking price for fellow Gunners target Ousmane Dembele.

Get the latest news, gossip and updates from the Emirates here…

  • GOOD MORNING, ARSENAL FANS 

    Arsenal are back in pole position for Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser – and still in the chase for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

    That's the verdict on the transfer speculation front overnight, with Spurs said to be keen on Scotland star Fraser and Manchester United interested in Frenchman Rabiot.

    The Gunners seemed overwhelming favourites to sign Fraser – until recent reports suggested the 26-year-old had a preference for linking up with Jose Mourinho.

    Now, though, the path once again seems clear for Mikel Arteta to make the pocket-sized dynamo one of his first signings.

    As for the enigmatic Rabiot, he has struggled to maintain a regular place for the Serie A kings this season.

    And the Gunners have been increasingly mentioned over a player who could cost around £27million.

    Spanish outlet  Mundo Deportivo suggest Arsenal are also keen on ex-Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho – if they could tempt Barcelona into an initial loan deal.

    Arteta might baulk at the  £71.5m fee – so he would first want to make sure the Bayern Munich loanee rediscovers the scintillating form he has lost since departing the Premier League in January 2018.

    Chelsea and even Liverpool are also reportedly monitoring the 27-year-old's situation.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Cesc Fabregas still feels angry over Wayne Rooney's “dive” during Arsenal's famous 'Pizzagate' clash in 2004 when Manchester United ended the Invincibles' 49-game unbeaten run.

    Fabregas told ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand on FIVE’s new Locker Room YouTube series: “The emotion was that we lost against a great team, which can happen, but we didn’t feel we should have lost.

    “We didn’t think it was the right time to lose our Invincible run.”

  • PLAY-DAY LOANS: EXPERT VIEW

    As SunSport revealed some Prem clubs might consider payday-style loans, a financial expert involved in this area explains why the sport has arrived at such a situation.

    The specialist said: “Football has lived way beyond its means for years and now they’ve run out of money.

    “It’s like any other market in a downturn, so when you’re desperate for money you go to the people who have it and they dictate the terms.

    “Firms are being asked for loans from clubs who don’t necessarily have the assets to command better rates.

    “Liquidity in football clubs is very low and most of those looking for cash are asking for tide-over money of £30m-50m over six months.

    “There’s no rule to say the lender can’t set whatever rate it likes if they know the client is desperate.”

  • PLAY-DAY LOANS

    Cash-strapped Premier League clubs are considering payday-style loans with huge interest rates to stay in business.

    City investors are looking to cash in on the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic by charging 25 PER CENT on borrowings up to £100million.

    At least four struggling Prem outfits are at the mercy of private equity or venture capitalist firms offering loans at rates massively above the Bank of England base rate of 0.1 per cent.

    Lack of match-day revenue and uncertainty over how and when football will return have created a black hole in revenue for clubs.

    And with games behind closed doors likely in the immediate future, clubs are unable to borrow cash against season ticket sales and normal game-day income.

    They are also discouraged from using potential earnings from broadcast deals as collateral for loans.

  • REVAMPED GUNNERS?

    Here is how the Arsenal team could be laid out in a 3-4-3 formation if they sign Icardi, Coutinho and Fofana.

    What a side this would be!

  • BUK TO THE FUTURE

    Bukayo Saka appears to have told Manchester United and Liverpool they must be kidding if they hope to sign him.

    Arsenal have reportedly been struggling to reach an agreement with speedster Saka, 18, over extending his contract beyond 2021.

    But the ex-Gunners schoolkid posted a cute picture of himself in his very earliest days with the Londoners – smiling serenely as he posed in a teamshot.

    Saka's Instagram snap soon attracted tens of thousands of likes – with, inevitably, many fans urging him to pen a new deal.

  • FIXTURES AND FITTING

    Most clubs are expected to back the Premier League proposals put forward in phase two – including for returning to action next month

    And Sky Sports claim the end of the week could see top flight bosses put forward draft plans as virtually the last step before the season resumes amid the coronavirus crisis.

    That could include a provisional fixture list, including the date when football will officially return.

    June 19 is one date commonly mentioned. But some Premier League clubs want a further week to prepare.

  • PREM CLOSE TO AGREEING RETURN DATE

    THE Premier League's eagerly-awaited return date could be decided this week.

    And a blockbuster clash between Manchester United and Spurs could be the first game back after the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players are already preparing to step up training to include close-contact, with coaches reportedly being brought in to monitor contact.

    Stars and managers can discuss any remaining concerns over phase two of Project Restart when they hold separate video calls with the Premier League on Tuesday.

    On Wednesday, clubs can then vote on whether to move to the next stage of training, which could be brought in before the end of this week.

  • GUNNERS FLYIN' FOR RYAN

    Arsenal are heading Spurs in the race to sign Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser, reports suggest.

    The Scotland star is available for free when his contract runs out this summer.

    And despite recent talk that the 26-year-old favoured Tottenham, the Daily Mail now say the Gunners are “confident” of signing Fraser.

    He admitted he was flattered to be linked with an Emirates move last year, but also said it had affected his form.

    And before the coronavirus pandemic halted football this season, he had managed just one just one goal and four assists.

  • GAS FUMES AT ROONEY

    Cesc Fabregas still feels angry over Wayne Rooney's “dive” during Arsenal's famous 'Pizzagate' clash in 2004 when Manchester United ended the Invincibles' 49-game unbeaten run.

    The Gunners and Chelsea legend told ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand on FIVE’s new Locker Room YouTube series: “Every single time he had the ball. You know Wayne dived for the penalty against Sol [Campbell].

    “So we felt emotional. The emotion was that we lost against a great team, which can happen, but we didn’t feel we should have lost.

    “We didn’t think it was the right time to lose our Invincible run.

    “So yeah that was the main thing to be honest. Everyone was really, really upset.”

  • CLOSER ENCOUNTERS

    Premier League stars were cleared to kick off close-contact training on Sunday in a boost for the return of top-flight football.

    New Stage Two guidance lets elite athletes train in pairs and small groups and waives the two-metre social distancing rule.

    The news put a smile on the face of Wilfried Zaha as he began Crystal Palace training on Sunday.

    And the easing of restrictions came as just two new positive results returned from 996 Premier League tests last week. They were logged at different clubs and the figure is four fewer than the week before.

    More testing is due today and tomorrow before league bosses decide on Wednesday whether full-contact training will resume.

  • RAUL IN IT TOGETHER

    Gunners' head of football Raul Sanllehi has been holding talks with other club chiefs around Europe to test the waters ahead of the transfer window amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.

    Nobody knows how the market is going to settle when it does open, and how much player transfer fees will fall by.

    One thing is for certain, clubs will be tied into contracts and big-money transfers are simply less likely to happen than in the last few decades.

    Football.London has even speculated that the Gunners could lose £144million if there are no fans at the Emirates in 2020/21.

  • RACE TO GRAB RAB

    United have joined Arsenal in the race to land wantaway Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to reports.

    Rabiot, 25, has only managed 11 Serie A starts after struggling to cement his role in Juve's congested midfield.

    And now boss Maurizio Sarri will offload if he receives an offer in the region of £27million.

    According to Gazzetto dello Sport, United are looking to make their move and have already held talks with his mother Veronique who acts as his agent.

    Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to bolster his squad when the transfer window opens and sees Rabiot as a bargain buy.

    It is also suggested that United have sent scouts to watch him in action on several occasions over the campaign.

  • FO TO MEET FRIEND

    Arsenal could get William Saliba's time at Emirates Stadium off to the perfect start – by immediately reuniting him with Saint-Etienne centre-back partner Wesley Fofana.

    The 19-year-old duo were regulars at the back together in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign – being shown faith by former Leicester and Southampton manager Claude Puel.

    With the Ligue 1 season having been halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, Saliba's loan spell at Saint-Etienne appears to have come to a premature end.

    But that doesn't mean that he is necessarily finished playing with Fofana.

    According to French website But! Football Club, the Gunners have been put on alert by Fofana's breakthrough performances this season and are interested in bringing him to North London.

    Last season Arsenal fought off interest in Saliba from Tottenham Hotspur by allowing the French youth international to stay in France on a season-long loan following the £25million transfer.

  • BLIND DATE

    Clubs are set to find out if the Premier League will resume in mid-June.

    Manchester United and Tottenham are expected to be the clubs given the green light to play the Friday night game which was postponed back in March.

    June 19 is the date being proposed, after doubt was cast over whether June 12 would work.

    Either way it'll be a Friday night game to kick us off.

    According to ESPN, clubs are demanding three weeks of contact football before resuming matches.

  • SHKOD GOALS

    Mustafi wants you to know… he's good (and don't forget the sunscreen).

  • CONCEPT'S A WINNER

    One Arsenal fan has re-imagined the 2002 Double-winning side's kit in a modern iteration.

    It's very impressive indeed.

  • NOT SO SUPER

    The Women’s Super League and Championship seasons have been ended, according to the FA.

    Promotion and relegation are yet to be decided.

  • HOW GUNNERS COULD LINE UP

    Here is how the Arsenal team could be laid out in a 3-4-3 formation if they sign Icardi, Coutinho and Fofana.

    What a side this would be!

  • HANGING ON THE COUT TAILS

    Barcelona are hoping to draw Arsenal into the race to sign Philippe Coutinho, to jack up the sales figure on his proposed £71.5million value.

    Chelsea are known to be interested in the Brazilian’s signature, while he recovers from an operation had during his loan spell at Bayern Munich.

    The German giants do not want to keep Coutinho and that brings Chelsea into the picture.

    But, according to Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal would prefer a loan with a view to a permanent move.

    The claim Raul Sanllehi is “expected to initiate contact” with Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian.

  • JUSTIN TIME

    Arsenal could attempt to force a swap deal with Roma for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Justin Kluivert.

    The Armenian failed to impress in North London, as was the case during his two-and-a-half year stint at Manchester United.

    The former Dortmund man has impressed this term, with six goals and four assists in 17 appearances for Roma.

    The Gunners are understood to want £10million for Mkhitaryan.

    But including Kluivert, 21, would certainly smooth things over, with the Dutchman scoring seven and providing two assists this term.

  • SHOT IN THE FOOT

    Gary Neville revealed he and brother Phil missed England’s ‘dentist’s chair’ night out before Euro 96 – on the advice of David Platt.

    Boss Terry Venables and his squad were slammed after photos from their trip to the Far East emerged of stars such as Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham glugging down alcoholic cocktails poured into their mouths as they laid back on a dentist’s chair in one of the city’s rowdy bars.

    Former Manchester United defender Neville said: “We were going to go out to be fair, but David Platt came over to me, Phil, Nick Barmby and Jason Wilcox and said ‘Lads, I’ve been around England squads a long time, I know these lads and tonight is one to miss.

    “So me, Phil, Barmby, Wilcox, Platt and Sol Campbell ended up sitting on our own in this room in the hotel.

    “It was only the day after when the story broke that we realised what David Platt meant.

    “Me and Phil were only 19 and 20 at the time and we weren’t going to go against what David Platt said.”

  • NOT SO FA FETCHED

    Arsenal could get William Saliba's time at Emirates Stadium off to the perfect start – by immediately reuniting him with Saint-Etienne centre-back partner Wesley Fofana.

    The 19-year-old duo were regulars at the back together in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign – being shown faith by former Leicester and Southampton manager Claude Puel.

    With the Ligue 1 season having been halted because of the coronavirus pandemic, Saliba's loan spell at Saint-Etienne appears to have come to a premature end.

    But that doesn't mean that he is necessarily finished playing with Fofana.

    According to French website But! Football Club, the Gunners have been put on alert by Fofana's breakthrough performances this season and are interested in bringing him to North London.

    Last season Arsenal fought off interest in Saliba from Tottenham Hotspur by allowing the French youth international to stay in France on a season-long loan following the £25million transfer.

  • KEN YOU HELP?

    Kenny Sansom’s family have called on his former clubs to support the England legend as he fights for his life.

    The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace defender has been in hospital for five weeks after a violent assault last month.

    His brother and three children have been at Sansom’s bedside virtually ever since as he tries to recover.

    But yesterday a source close to footballer said he was likely to need a lot of support if he was to overcome this battle.

    They said: “With all the money flying around the game, Kenny’s family are hoping that the sport will support him and help him to get back on his feet.

    “They know that nobody owes Kenny anything but he really is going to need all the help he can get.”

  • BRING AND 'BI

    United have joined Arsenal in the race to land wantaway Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to reports.

    Rabiot, 25, has only managed 11 Serie A starts after struggling to cement his role in Juve's congested midfield.

    And now boss Maurizio Sarri will offload if he receives an offer in the region of £27million.

    According to Gazzetto dello Sport, United are looking to make their move and have already held talks with his mother Veronique who acts as his agent.

    Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to bolster his squad when the transfer window opens and sees Rabiot as a bargain buy.

    It is also suggested that United have sent scouts to watch him in action on several occasions over the campaign.

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