Gunners return to training next week
Inter Milan have emerged as frontrunners to sign Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and only need to overcome one obstacle, reports Express.co.uk. The Gunners are ready to listen to offers for the £56 million star after pulling out of contract talks with him late last week.
And they have decided it could be better to sell the 30-year-old rather than lose him for nothing when his contract runs out in 12 months.
Inter boss Antonio Conte is keen on taking the Gabon international to Italy this summer and Aubameyang is ready to listen to what he has got to say. But competition is high with Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid lurking in the wings and ready to enter the race.
Inter believe that they have got a chance of landing Aubameyang who is second to Jamie Vardy in the Premier League scoring charts with 17 to his name.
The one major sticking point remains his £200,000-a-week wages, especially as he was looking for an increase until the Gunners pulled the plug.
Inter believe that they can reach a compromise for a player who Conte badly wants in his squad next season.
Aubameyang was tagged in an Instagram story by an account named ‘About Arsenal’, with a picture of the Arsenal striker, his two brothers and his father sat at a table as he signed a contract to move to London on Saturday.
And Pierre-Francois, the striker’s father, reposted the picture, which had the caption ‘You know what you have to do bro @aubameyang97’ to his own story.
One man who has been linked with replacing Aubameyang is Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic but Rio Ferdinand is not convinced.
He has advised Arsenal against pursuing Jovic and recommends they focus on making signings at the opposite end of the pitch.
He said in an Instagram Q&A: “[Jovic] is someone who could add something to Arsenal but I don’t think Arsenal need a player in that position.
“Arsenal need centre-halves. They need centre-halves who can defend and play as well.
“I played against Arsenal teams with the likes of Sol Campbell and Tony Adams. I don’t see that now. They have many good footballers but you need a blend.
“Why are they going for Jovic when they need to be looking at centre-halves?
“Arsenal is a fantastic club, what a club. But they need to get it right in other areas of the pitch.”
Meanwhile, the Gunners will return to training on Monday, but will also continue to observe social distancing rules amid the coronavirus outbreak, they said on Saturday.
Soccer in England was suspended indefinitely last month due to the virus and no clubs have been in training.
“Players will be permitted access to the Colney grounds next week,” Arsenal said in a statement.
“Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed.
“Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home,” the club added.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on March 12, which led to the Premier League postponing the next round of matches and none have been played since.
Arsenal spoke to all their players after Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka were pictured allegedly breaking social distancing guidelines.
Premier League clubs have been working on the basis that the earliest they may be allowed to resume training would be in early May. The British government is expected to review current lockdown restrictions on May 7.
Should teams be allowed to train, it is expected they would need two to three weeks to get prepared to play competitive matches, making the earliest possible return in June.
But with the ban on mass public gatherings likely to be one of the last restrictions to be lifted, rescheduled games will almost certainly be held behind closed doors.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has been liaising with a number of sports bodies, led by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on how things might work should the green light be given by the medical experts for sport to resume safely.
The Football League (EFL) which organises the three divisions below the Premier League, on Saturday highlighted testing of players and others involved in games as the key issue.
“Clearly, before any return to football can take place, suitable testing arrangements for participants must be in place and this is core to our current planning, as is ensuring there is absolutely no negative impact on the country’s front-line workers, the Emergency services, League and Club staff members,” the league said in a statement.
Gunners return to training next week