Bruno Fernandes denied reports he had an argument with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the Premier League loss to Tottenham.

Fernandes was reportedly furious at half-time of the clash earlier this month, and the midfielder was substituted at the break with United trailing 4-1 before they suffered a 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford.

The Portugal international had opened the scoring from the penalty spot, but was said to have had a bust-up with Solskjaer at half-time.

However, Fernandes rubbished those claims after Portugal's 3-0 Nations League win over Sweden on Wednesday.

"There's been a lot of speculation about that," the midfielder told Sport TV, via A Bola.

"First it was a discussion with team-mates, as it did not stick, it was a discussion with only one team-mate [Victor Lindelof], as it did not stick now, it is the discussion with Solskjaer.

"I believe it is a way to destabilise the group. What was said is in no way true.

"I was replaced at half-time, it is true, by technical option. The coach told me that the game was almost over and that we would have a lot of games ahead of us. Got it. I was not satisfied but said nothing that could harm the group."

After just one win from the opening three games of the Premier League season, Solskjaer has been under increasing pressure at United.

But Fernandes insisted Manchester United were ready to respond against Newcastle United on Saturday, while warning the speculation needed to stop.

"Do not use my name, my colleagues or the coach to make trouble at Manchester United," he said.

"The atmosphere is good and the team is ready to give an answer in the next game."

Newcastle United have agreed new terms with star winger Allan Saint-Maximin, extending his contract by a further 12 months to keep him at St James' Park until 2026.

Saint-Maximin has quickly established himself as Newcastle's most exciting player since signing from Nice in a reported £20million transfer at the start of last season.

The 23-year-old signed a six-year deal upon his arrival at St James' Park and has made the same commitment again just over a year on, although reportedly now on wages in line with Newcastle's top earners.

"I've played for a lot of clubs - Monaco, Nice, in Germany - but Newcastle, I feel, is like my home," Saint-Maximin told the club's official website.

"The supporters give me a lot of love, the coach, too, and my partners on the pitch. Everybody gives me love and, when you have this, I feel it's my home and I hope this stays my home for a long time."

The former France youth international, who is in line to face Manchester United on Saturday, has been Newcastle's most productive performer since the start of the 2019-20 season.

He has been involved in nine league goals (four goals and five assists), the most of any Newcastle player, and created nine big chances - another club high.

In the Magpies' most recent game - a 3-1 win against Burnley prior to the international break - their number 10 scored and assisted in the same Premier League match for the first time.

It is Saint-Maximin's close control, trickery and ability to beat a man that has really caught the eye, though.

Of players to feature in 25 Premier League games and attempt at least 10 dribbles since Saint-Maximin debuted, he ranks second for both dribbles attempted per 90 minutes (9.0) and dribbles completed per 90 minutes (5.6).

Only Wolves' Adama Traore - 9.3 attempted and 6.5 completed - beats the Newcastle man in each category, with Wilfried Zaha third having completed 4.1 of 7.9 attempts on average.

Newcastle coach Steve Bruce added: "With Allan, the world is at his feet. He can go as far as he wants to go, because he's got the talent to do it."

Nathaniel Clyne has joined Crystal Palace on a short-term contract, returning for a second spell at Selhurst Park after eight years away. 

Clyne was released by Liverpool, who he joined from Southampton in 2015, earlier this year. 

The 29-year-old is reunited with Roy Hodgson, under whom he won 13 of his 14 England caps. 

"I'm a London boy, this is where I grew up. I'm back home and all my family and friends are here," Clyne told the club's website.

"It's surreal being back, enjoying it and hopefully I can just crack on and enjoy my football again."

Palace have six points from their opening four Premier League matches, with victories over Southampton and Manchester United followed by back-to-back losses against Everton and Chelsea. 

Clyne could make his second debut for the club against rivals Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

The Premier League has rejected the controversial Project Big Picture proposals to reform English football but has committed to a strategic review that will seek a "vibrant, competitive and sustainable" league structure".

Last weekend, The Telegraph reported Liverpool and Manchester United were at the forefront of plans that sought to divert significant funds towards the English Football League (EFL), while also ending the Premier League's one-club/one-vote system of rule and weighing voting rights in favour of the recognised "big six" and the three other longest-serving teams in the top flight.

EFL chairman Rick Parry - the former Liverpool chief executive and one of the architects of the Premier League's breakaway in 1992 - publicly backed the plans, which were said to include a £250million bail-out for clubs in the lower divisions stricken by the COVID-19 crisis and a commitment to divert 25 per cent of all future Premier League television deals to the other three professional divisions in England.

The Premier League and the UK government each came out against the proposals, with fears over the creation of a "closed shop" at the top of English football also widely flagged by fans and pundits over recent days.

Following an emergency meeting on Wednesday, the Premier League said all 20 of its clubs "unanimously agreed that Project Big Picture will not be endorsed or pursued by the Premier League of the FA (Football Association)".

The statement continued: "Further, Premier League shareholders agree to work together as a 20-club collective on a strategic plan for the future structures and financing of English football, consulting with all stakeholders to ensure a vibrant, competitive and sustainable football pyramid.

"Clubs will work collaboratively, in an open and transparent process, focusing on competition structure, calendar, governance and financial sustainability.

"This project has the full support of the FA and will include engagement with all relevant stakeholders including, fans, government and, of course, the EFL."

Having rejected the proposed generous package of financial reforms targeted towards the EFL, the Premier League announced a rescue package of £77.2m for clubs in League One and League Two.

Along with making the 2020-21 season solidarity payments of £27.2m available to third and fourth-tier clubs, the Premier League has also offered a £50m package made up of grants and interest-free loans.

League One and League Two clubs will have access to £20m in grants over the short term, while the remaining £30m will be set aside to ensure no team from those divisions goes out of business as a result of COVID-19.

There was no chance Bayern Munich would have allowed Kingsley Coman to join Manchester United during the transfer window, says Hasan Salihamidzic.

France international Coman was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the deadline last week.

United were reported to have set their sights on the former Juventus winger after failing to meet Borussia Dortmund's asking price for Jadon Sancho.

Coman scored the winning goal in the Bavarian giants' Champions League final victory over Paris Saint-Germain in August after returning from a muscle injury.

Bayern sporting director Salihamidzic revealed allowing Coman to depart was never considered.

"There was nothing, and we wouldn't have looked into it either," he told Sport Bild. 

"His goal in the Champions League final should explain enough why we are relying on him wholeheartedly."

Salihamidzic also revealed the 2019-20 treble winners were unable agree terms with Chelsea over a deal for winger Callum Hudson-Odoi

He added: "There are transfers that come to the point where you have to say: 'We have to leave this immediately.'

"It is all the more important that one thinks about alternatives or alternative paths right from the start. We negotiated with Chelsea but there was no agreement. That happens."

In his heyday, Arsene Wenger was widely praised for his trust in young players and eye for developing talent.

After all, Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie are just a few of the players he helped nurture into top-level international footballers.

But for every Henry is a superstar who got away… Or so Le Professeur would have us believe.

A football manager can't sign everyone, but as the joke goes, Wenger seems to have tried to buy all of them - all of the players. Or, all the really good ones anyway. Funny, that.

The Frenchman has been doing the media rounds of late and most recently floated the idea of Cristiano Ronaldo playing alongside Henry, Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord and Dennis Bergkamp in an interview with the BBC.

So, with that as the jumping-off point, we put together an XI made up entirely of players who supposedly came close to joining Wenger at Arsenal…

GIANLUIGI BUFFON

As the story goes, Wenger's pursuit of Buffon got to the point where the pair had dinner together during his days with Parma, but Juventus soon came along and made him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world at the time.

Everything suggests he would've been a remarkable signing in terms of ability and longevity. In 2017 he became the oldest player to captain a side in the Champions League final at 39 years and 126 days – and he's still going, three years on.

RAPHAEL VARANE

Granted, Wenger may not have explicitly said that he almost bought Varane during his formative years, but he was certainly frustrated to have missed out on him in 2013 when he queried why Arsenal hadn't been in for him two years earlier.

Varane has gone on to establish himself as one of the world's best centre-backs and in 2018 became just the third player to be on the winning team in the Champions League and World Cup finals in the same year, emulating Christian Karembeu (1998) and Roberto Carlos (2002).

VINCENT KOMPANY

It's arguable that Arsenal's biggest weakness in Wenger's final 10 years at the helm was their defence – a host of underwhelming options were signed and discarded.

Oh how different it might have been had they signed Vincent Kompany in 2006 when his agent claimed they were interested. He went on to captain Manchester City to two Premier League titles and played 265 times in the top-flight, more than any other Belgian.

GERARD PIQUE

It seems a long time ago that Pique was at Manchester United, struggling to earn a place in the starting XI, but even before then he could have ended up at Arsenal – and, stylistically, one has to wonder whether that would have been the better move for him.

Wenger has previously admitted they tried to get Pique but they were unable to beat United to his signature. He returned to Barcelona in 2008 and has since won three Champions League crowns, just one of three players to play every minute of those finals.

ROBERTO CARLOS

OK, to be fair to Wenger, this isn't one he has specifically claimed – rather Roberto Carlos himself hinted at the move in 2003 as his Real Madrid career appeared to be winding down.

As it was, he ended up staying in Madrid until 2007 before moving on to Fenerbahce, Corinthians, Anzhi Makhachkala (remember them?) and Delhi Dynamos.

N'GOLO KANTE

The one who got away… Twice. That's right, Wenger says he tried to sign the industrious Kante when he was at Caen and Leicester City.

He played a starring role as the Foxes remarkably claimed the Premier League title in 2015-16, before then joining Chelsea and becoming the only player to win the Premier League in successive seasons with different clubs.

PAUL POGBA

When Pogba left United in 2012, a whole host of fellow European heavyweights were linked with him, including Arsenal, but Juventus swiftly struck a deal and the Gunners' attempts fell flat.

He of course left Juve again in 2016, though the then world-record fee United paid was never likely to be matched by Arsenal, and in 2018-19 Pogba became the first United player to appear in the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) Team of the Year since Robin van Persie six years earlier.

YAYA TOURE

In hindsight, this one looks a particularly odd miss from Arsenal. Yaya Toure had a trial with the Gunners in 2003, a year after his brother Kolo signed for them, but wasn't particularly outstanding in a trial game and work permit difficulties made it tricky for him to join permanently.

That didn't stop him from enjoying a fine career, however, and he eventually made it to the Premier League in 2010 when joining Manchester City, with whom he became just the second African player to score in both an EFL Cup and FA Cup final.

LIONEL MESSI

That's right, the one you've been waiting for. In an alternate universe, Fabregas, Pique and Messi could have spent the best years of their careers in north London – Wenger attempted to prise all three away.

But six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi had already gotten "too big" reputation-wise when Arsenal made their move. In Barcelona he stayed and he has since become LaLiga's all-time leading scorer with 445 goals in 488 games – a truly remarkable feat, though not as impressive as playing well against Stoke City on a cold Tuesday night, some might have you believe.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

In fairness to Wenger, he insists he has no regrets about not signing Ibrahimovic when he was a 17-year-old on trial. Whether he says as much privately is another matter.

Regardless, Ibrahimovic can console himself with the fact he has gone on to enjoy an incredibly successful career and scored Champions League goals for six different clubs, more than any other player in the competition's history. Unfortunately for him, however, he has never won European football's top prize.

CRISTIANO RONALDO

And finally, the other one you've been waiting for. Arguably the quintessential Wenger "nearly signed" claim relates to Ronaldo, whom he says almost joined Arsenal before United made their move in 2003. Like Buffon, Ronaldo also had discussions with Wenger over food, but he says the Gunners were pipped at the last.

Wenger apparently regards this as his biggest regret, and understandably so – Ronaldo has gone on to win everything in the game, including five Ballons d'Or, and is the Champions League's top scorer with 130 goals in 170 games.

Thomas Partey moved to Arsenal to give himself a fresh challenge as the former Atletico Madrid star aims to help the Gunners return to the top.

Partey signed for Arsenal on deadline day after the Premier League club decided to trigger the £45million (€50m) release clause in the 27-year-old's Atleti contract.

The Ghana midfielder was a long-term target for Arsenal and is now aiming to push the club onto the next level in Mikel Arteta's first full season.

"Yes, of course," Partey told a news conference when asked if he can win trophies at Arsenal.

"It's something that is difficult and we all know that it's difficult, but we're working towards it and I think we are ready. We have to go all out and try to achieve all of that ourselves.

"I've seen that everyone has been excited and everyone is willing to win something and all the trophies that come their way. I think that's the goal and objective for everyone here and that's my goal also.

"This is our new objective. That's the objective of the club, of myself, and I think that we have to get back to where we belong.

"I think it was a new challenge for me. I've always wanted to play in the top leagues and the Premier League is one of the top leagues, so I'm happy to be here.

"I think it's a great challenge, I want to experience new challenges and also in a great family like Arsenal. I am ready to give it my all and try to help this great club come back to where they belong.

"I think there is no pressure on me. I like to challenge myself. I like new challenges as I said and it's all about learning fast, learning quickly how it goes and you just get used to it and everything works."

Partey could be in line to make his debut on Saturday when Arsenal take on Manchester City, who they beat in the FA Cup semi-finals in July.

"For me it's a great feeling. I like to play in the big matches, but it all depends on the coach and whether he wants me to play on Saturday or not," Partey said of possibly facing Pep Guardiola's side.

"It depends on him. I need to get used to the squad and then train with them before we can see what we will happen.

"I still have much to develop, I still have more to learn with this new family. I will have to learn more things to achieve all my goals, and to achieve the goals of the club as well.

"I think I have to be quick, make sure that I learn everything as fast as I can. In football, I have to make sure I do everything on the training ground and make sure Mikel sees that I am ready to play for him."

Marcus Rashford would consider a different approach to his work in helping vulnerable children if he felt his football performance was affected in a negative way.

Rashford, who has been made an MBE for his campaigning, is optimistic he can continue to balance the off-field mission with his England and Manchester United duties.

The 22-year-old has won widespread praise for speaking up for British youngsters facing food poverty during the coronavirus pandemic, persuading the United Kingdom government to provide free school meal vouchers to underprivileged children through the summer months.

Asked about his efforts in an England news conference on Tuesday, Rashford made it clear the campaign was not all on his shoulders.

"I have a team that work behind me and make sure we're on the same page. A lot of the work is done months in advance. I think it's important for me to keep doing that," he said.

"At the moment, I feel in a good headspace. I'm comfortable with doing the two things and I feel ready to train every day and play the games.

"If it was taking a toll, I'd have to look at a different way of doing things and find a way to support the kids and keep my career going in the right direction."

England face Denmark on Wednesday at Wembley in the Nations League, having beaten Belgium in the same competition on Sunday, after a friendly victory over Wales.

Two wins with England, plus recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours, has made it "a good few days" for Rashford, who was frustrated to miss September's games against Iceland and Denmark with an ankle problem.

He could be battling with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling for a starting place in attack at Euro 2020, which has been delayed until next year, and says the competition in England's squad is healthy.

"We all understand that we're all together as one. Especially in tournament football," Rashford said.

"At the World Cup I realised it the most - you need the squad to do great things. Looking forward, it's a big strength of ours to have so many players that can make differences on the pitch."

England manager Gareth Southgate was left confused by stories claiming he was on a collision course with Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho regarding the fitness of Harry Kane.

Before the international break, Mourinho urged Southgate to use Kane sparingly across England's triple-header.

Spurs had endured a particularly gruelling schedule prior to Kane joining up with England, and the striker missed the friendly win over Wales due to a thigh issue.

But he featured for the final 24 minutes of Sunday's win over Belgium and Southgate indicated on Monday that the Tottenham talisman will start against Denmark this Wednesday.

A host of British media outlets subsequently suggested Southgate would incur the wrath of Mourinho with such a decision.

But Southgate is baffled by such thoughts, adamant that at no point has Kane been suffering from an injury, rather he was struggling with muscle fatigue.

"I don't really understand the story," Southgate told reporters. "He's been fully fit since the end of last week.

"He would've started the last game but didn't have enough training time. He's fit, available. I didn't really understand the stories that have been run.

"That's certainly not the conversation we've been having with Spurs medically, and not the conversation we've been having in camp.

"He hasn't had an injury. He was feeling muscle soreness, which often can happen, but no injury at any point.

"We don't risk players, we've never risked a player. Injuries during matches are unavoidable. We pride ourselves on looking after the players. We want them fit, as sharp as possible."

Kane is expected to be in Premier League action again with Spurs on Sunday as West Ham visit.

With three goals and six assists, Kane has more goal involvements than anyone else in the Premier League this term, two ahead of team-mate Son Heung-min.

Similarly, only Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah (both 14), Son (13) and James Rodriguez (12) have created more chances than Kane (11) in 2020-21, with the England striker beginning the campaign in electrifying form.

Paul Scholes appears to have changed his tune about Anthony Martial, accusing the Manchester United striker of "misleading" fans over his goalscoring prowess.

Martial enjoyed his best season in 2019-20, putting early injury problems behind him to score 23 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions.

The France international was named United's Players' Player of the Year as he repaid the faith shown by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, spearheading the attack to help the Red Devils finish third in the Premier League and reach three cup semi-finals.

In August, Scholes said Martial had finally convinced him he was capable of playing as a central striker, telling BT Sport: "I thought, 'Was he a number nine, or is he a wide player?'

"He's turned himself into a number nine with every game I watch, more and more, so it's great to see. When he's square on to a player and runs at them, I think he's unstoppable."

However, with Martial having failed to score or set up a goal in 2020-21, former United star Scholes feels "almost conned" by the forward's past performances.

"These forwards are exceptionally talented lads. We all know that," he told Stadium Astro. "The problem with United’s forwards is that none of them is an actual centre-forward.

"Martial almost conned us into thinking he was one at the end of last season because he scored so many goals and was quite good.

"He's started this season quite poorly again, which makes you think he isn't. It's misleading. That's why I've kept saying we need a top-class number nine."

Since Scholes' positive comments two months ago, Martial has played just 207 minutes of Premier League football.

While he has failed to score, he has also not been presented with a certified big chance and has only attempted two shots, highlighting the wider problems within the United side.

Solskjaer's men lost to Crystal Palace on the opening day and, after a fortunate win at Brighton and Hove Albion, they were thrashed 6-1 at home by Tottenham.

Martial was sent off in that match, meaning he will be suspended for Saturday's visit to Newcastle United.

Manchester United have confirmed Edinson Cavani will not be available to face Newcastle United on Saturday due to self-isolation protocols following his arrival from France.

Cavani signed for United on a free transfer on deadline day, but coronavirus-prevention guidelines in the United Kingdom require people to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival from certain foreign territories.

The Uruguayan striker came directly from France, one of the countries on the list, meaning he has had to train in isolation ever since joining the club.

It was reported United were seeking clarification regarding Cavani's quarantine period and they have now confirmed Cavani, 33, will not be able to make the trip to Newcastle on Saturday.

A statement on the United website read: "Cavani is being forced to self-isolate due to the COVID-19 guidelines, following his arrival into the country from France, which means he is unable to make his debut at St James' Park."

Therefore, Cavani's debut will likely come against his former club Paris Saint-Germain, where he spent seven years and became the club's all-time leading scorer.

Cavani's absence for the weekend match comes as an added blow given Anthony Martial – sent off in the 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham – is starting a three-match domestic ban.

United have not confirmed whether fellow deadline day arrivals Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri are in contention.

England will be without Ben Chilwell and Kieran Trippier for Wednesday's Nations League clash with Denmark.

The pair withdrew from the squad on Tuesday, reducing Gareth Southgate's pool of available players to 28.

Chelsea full-back Chilwell, who was absent for the opening two fixtures of the international break after breaching COVID-19 restrictions, is thought to be suffering from a foot injury.

Atletico Madrid defender Trippier's reason for withdrawing is reportedly personal.

England recorded an impressive 2-1 win over Belgium at Wembley on Sunday, when Trippier played the full match.

Roberto Firmino lavished high praise on Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho, claiming he has "magical powers" that help him see passes and moves that other players could not imagine.

Coutinho and Firmino have been team-mates since 2014 when the latter broke into the Brazil setup, four years after the Barcelona attacker.

But in 2015 they became Liverpool colleagues as well when Firmino joined from Hoffenheim, as the foundations for Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering Reds began to take shape.

Coutinho ultimately left for Barcelona in 2018 before Liverpool realised their full potential, and ever since little has gone right for the Vasco da Gama youth product, who struggled at Camp Nou before failing to earn a permanent move to Bayern Munich.

But Firmino remains convinced of the talent still held by Coutinho, who has been given a fresh chance at Barca under new head coach Ronald Koeman.

"He's phenomenal," Firmino told FIFA. "You simply can't say that he's not a magician. He has magical powers.

"He produces plays that don't exist, that you couldn't make up. You always have to watch replays of his plays to understand what he's done. He's an unbelievable player.

"It was a pleasure to play with him at Liverpool, and it's a pleasure to play with him for the Selecao. I'm a huge fan of his. He's one of the very best players in the world."

Like Coutinho, Firmino scored in Brazil's most recent match – the 5-0 demolition of Bolivia in Sao Paulo.

Firmino was the leading the line for Brazil, a role he has become accustomed to both at club level and with the Selecao, and he hopes to be a long-term option in a position the team has arguably been short in since the days of Ronaldo.

"Yes, definitely, I love playing in this position, I want to be the player Brazil can rely on in this position," he said, before outlining how coach Tite has asked him to play the role.

"It's not that he asked me not to help out, but he wants me to always be in the area. I still have to get back to mark, but he wants me to chase back less after the ball, be in the box more.

"I have a natural urge to help out, get back – I do this for Liverpool – so I have put this aside and do what Tite has asked of me.

"I enjoy being involved in play, creating goals, but I also enjoy being in the box, scoring goals."

Arsene Wenger regrets missing out on the chance to pair Cristiano Ronaldo with Thierry Henry at Arsenal and jokingly suggested his Gunners side may have scored 200 goals if he had.

Legendary ex-Arsenal boss Wenger has spoken on several occasions of how close he came to bringing Ronaldo to north London and this week claimed the Portugal great "had the shirt" after a deal was struck with Sporting CP.

Of course, a teenage Ronaldo instead joined Manchester United and became a global name, winning eight major trophies including the Premier League three times and the Champions League.

A move to Real Madrid in 2009 saw Ronaldo scaling even greater heights, becoming Los Blancos' record goalscorer and winning another four Champions League medals before joining in Juventus in 2018.

Ronaldo is also a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, a number surpassed only by his long-time rival Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and Wenger cannot help but imagine what life had been like if Ronaldo had played with the likes of Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp under his stewardship.

"Of course I think what if, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo played with Thierry Henry, Pires, [Sylvain] Wiltord and Dennis. Maybe we score 200 goals in a season!" He told BBC Sport.

"You regret sometimes, you think it's your fault that you didn't decide quickly enough or sometimes financially you couldn't agree quickly enough, but overall I must say you go to Chelsea, you go to Manchester United, you go to Liverpool...every club is full of stories like this."

There is a sort of long-running joke regarding Wenger and the players he missed out on signing during his 22-years with Arsenal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, like Ronaldo, is another of the greats that slipped the net at Arsenal, with the Swedish star having had a trial at the club as a teenager.

But Wenger says the circumstances were markedly different to those involved in his pursuit of Ronaldo.

Asked if he wished he signed Ibrahimovic instead of inviting him for a trial, Wenger replied: "Not really, because he was a 17-year-old boy playing at Malmo in the second league in Sweden. 

"And nobody knew him. We gave trials to many players at 17 – it was absolutely normal before you make a decision."

Mesut Ozil has been frozen out at Arsenal and former manager Arsene Wenger described the situation as "a waste" for the midfielder and the club.

The German playmaker, now 31, joined in a then club-record deal from Real Madrid seven years ago, with Wenger saying Ozil possessed "all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player".

But his reputation has nosedived since that reported £42.5million move and Ozil was left out of Mikel Arteta's Europa League squad last week, underlining how isolated he now is at the Gunners.

Wenger, whose 22-year time at the helm ended in 2018, lamented the position Ozil finds himself in and urged the club to reconsider their approach.

"I feel it is a waste for him," Wenger told BBC Sport of Ozil, who is reportedly earning £350,000 a week but has not played this season.

"Firstly because he's in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it's a waste for the club as well because he's a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.

"The way football is going at the moment it's quick counter-pressing, quick transitions and everybody plays the same. It's kicked out players like Ozil. Although let's not forget who this guy is: a world champion who has played at Real Madrid.

"He's been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again."

Ozil's decline has been evident in the data behind his Arsenal career, which peaked in the 2015-16 season when he laid on 19 assists and created 28 big chances in 35 Premier League outings.

Only Thierry Henry and Kevin De Bruyne have had more assists in a Premier League season, with 20 each in 2002-03 and 2019-20 respectively.

But the numbers have gone the wrong way since then for Ozil, with dips to nine and then eight assists in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and big chances created sliding to nine and 13 across those same seasons.

Worse was to follow in the 2018-19 campaign, when he had two assists to his name in 24 top-flight appearances, a tally he matched last season from 18 outings.

Although Wenger may not like seeing his one-time star signing slide into obscurity, the Frenchman does rate Arteta.

"He has the ingredients to be a very good manager, a top manager, but many of my former players had these ingredients," he said.

"We have to give them time, let them do their job in the way they want to do it.

"He's intelligent, he has big passion and a strong character. And I believe he's surrounding himself with the right people."

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