Eddie Nketiah says it was "almost impossible" to leave Arsenal after he was given a run of games in the Premier League towards the back end of last season.

The England U21 international's contract at the Emirates Stadium was due to expire following the end of the 2021-22 season, making him available for a free transfer, and the Gunners were unable to secure fresh terms with the striker prior to the end of the season.

Nketiah's future looked set to lie away from north London until his 90 minutes against Southampton in April, his first Premier League start of the season, and he struck a brace four days later in a 4-2 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mikel Arteta would stick with the Hale End academy graduate for the remainder of the season, as he started the final eight games of the Gunners' Premier League campaign and struck five goals – with only Tottenham's Son Heung-Min scoring more in the same timeframe.

While Nketiah's future was unresolved during this period, the young striker has made it clear that Arteta's faith in him gave him an easy decision to make.

"Everyone knows how much I love Arsenal. I have come through the academy, I have the attachment with the club," he told the Telegraph.

"The manager was very supportive and pushed a lot for me to stay. Once I had those kinds of assurances, and no doubts that I will get opportunities to play next season, it was almost impossible for me to leave.

"That run [of matches] really helped me. It gave me the feeling I always wanted, that I have craved. That feeling of playing well, doing well, scoring. It helped me with my decision and made it a lot clearer.

"Experiencing that with my family, we knew this is the place to be. There is nothing quite like doing well for the club you support and love."

Nketiah's new contract also sees him take Arsenal's famous number 14 shirt, previously worn by all-time record scorer Thierry Henry, but he does not believe it comes with additional pressure.

"We know it is a special shirt and Thierry has made it cool to wear this shirt, just like he did with long socks and gloves," he added.

"It is what we have grown up with. But I am just trying to be the best version of myself. I’m focused on creating my own memories in that shirt, leaving my own stamp on it.

"You still have to deliver. There is always going to be pressure, whether you are wearing number 30, or 14, or whatever, because that is what comes with playing for Arsenal."

Eddie Nketiah has penned a new long-term contract with Arsenal, while also moving to take the number 14 shirt at Emirates Stadium made iconic by Thierry Henry.

The Hale End academy graduate was due to be available as a free agent following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season but established himself as a core member of Mikel Arteta's side in the latter stages of the Premier League campaign.

Five goals in the final seven matches of the league campaign, during which Arsenal sealed a return to European competition with qualification for next season's Europa League campaign, proved his worth to the club.

"I’m delighted Eddie is staying with us. He represents what we are all about and all the values of the club," Arteta told the club's website.

"We are very happy that he has extended his contract, and now we have to get to work and continue to develop the great talent and person that we have in him."

The number 14 shirt taken by Nketiah was last worn by former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Theo Walcott the only other player to use the number since Henry left for Barcelona in 2007.

Technical director Edu also hailed the significance of the new deal penned by Nketiah, who is the all-time leading scorer for England Under-21s side with 16 goals in 17 caps.

"The foundations of this squad are built on young talent and in particular those who have come through our academy system," Edu said.

"Eddie was released by another club as a young man but has always shown he has the attitude as well as the ability to become a top player. 

"The fact he’s signed a new contract is an important part of our squad planning for next season, and we’re all delighted."

Arsenal begin the new season against Crystal Palace on August 5 in the curtain raiser for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign.

Arsenal remain in contract talks with striker Eddie Nketiah.

Nketiah's deal expires at the end of this month and the 23-year-old has been linked with London rivals Crystal Palace.

Arsenal released their retained list on Friday, revealing the Premier League club are in "ongoing discussions" with academy graduate Nketiah after offering him fresh terms.

Nketiah, who spent a loan spell with Leeds United in the 2019-20 season, has made it clear he wants regular first-team football.

He forced his way into the side towards the end of last season, scoring doubles against Chelsea and Leeds before finding the back of the net in a 5-1 final-day rout of Everton.

Fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette left the Gunners as a free agent and has rejoined Lyon.

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling if he becomes available in the upcoming transfer window.

Since arriving from Liverpool in 2015, Sterling has accumulated 130 goals and 70 assists from 336 appearances in all major club competitions, and has 19 goals from 74 senior caps for England.

Despite his status as one of England's best players, Sterling has found himself on the fringes at times during the tail end of this season, playing just 28 minutes across City's two-legged Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS TO EXPLORE STERLING DEAL

The Telegraph reports Arsenal intend to test the availability of Sterling in the next transfer window, when he will have one year remaining on his contract.

With Erling Haaland expected to arrive at Manchester City on the biggest contract in the Premier League, players such as Riyad Mahrez have been floated as potential sales to balance the books and give the club some flexibility going forward.

Selling Sterling, at 27 years old, could help City fund further moves if they do not feel he is integral to their success next season – specifically in the Champions League.

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich are said to be planning a move for Liverpool's Sadio Mane in the next transfer window, according to Sky Germany.

– Should Arsenal fail to reach an agreement on a new deal for striker Eddie Nketiah, the Daily Mail claims West Ham are the front-runners to prise him away.

– The Athletic is reporting Paul Pogba has told Manchester City he does not intend to join them when his Manchester United contract expires at the end of this season, favouring the offer of an unnamed club instead. The report suggests the favourites to land his signature are Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid.

– According to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa have made an offer of £12million to purchase Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona – significantly less than the £33million option that was included in the initial loan deal.

– The Daily Mail is also reporting that Sunderland are hoping to sign the younger brother of English Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham – Jobe Bellingham – after he became the second-youngest debutant in the history of Birmingham City.

Manchester City edged closer to the Premier League title, while there was significant change at the bottom of the table on Sunday.

City were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid in midweek, but saw their domestic hopes boosted when Liverpool dropped points against Tottenham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side subsequently breezed past Newcastle United to move three points clear of the Reds with three games remaining, while West Ham hit relegated Norwich City for four.

Elsewhere, Arsenal continued their charge for Champions League qualification with a narrow victory over 10-man Leeds United, who ended the day in the relegation zone after Everton triumphed at Leicester City.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the Opta data from the day's top-flight fixtures.

Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United: Sterling provides as title charge continues 

Raheem Sterling was at the double as City strengthened their grasp on top spot with a 5-0 rout of Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling and Aymeric Laporte struck in the first half, with Joao Cancelo teeing up the England international's opener as the full-back became the fourth of Guardiola's players to reach 10 assists in all competitions this season (also Kevin de Bruyne with 13, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus - both 11).

City are the only team in Europe's big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this campaign, and Guardiola's men furthered their advantage after the interval.

Rodri then scored following a corner, as Laporte did in the first half, as City managed their 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this term in the league, excluding penalties. They have conceded just once from set-pieces themselves, with their plus-19 differential the best figure recorded in a single season in the Premier League since such records are available (2006-07 onwards).

Foden added a fourth before Sterling capped a fine victory with his 51st Premier League goal at the Etihad, becoming only the second player to pass 50 strikes for City at home in the competition after Sergio Aguero (106).

City have beaten Newcastle 28 times in the Premier League (D8 L8), more than they have any other side in the competition. In their league history, they have only beaten Everton (72 times) more often than the Magpies (68 times).

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with City – 10 of those against Guardiola – the worst 100 per cent losing record a manager has against a single opponent or against another boss in the competition.

Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Ill-tempered Whites fall into relegation zone

An Eddie Nketiah double kept Arsenal on course for Champions League qualification as they triumphed 2-1 against 10-man Leeds, who dropped into the bottom three for the first time since October 30.

Nketiah fired the Gunners into a 2-0 lead as he became just the second Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League game after Kanu (versus Sunderland in October 2002).

With Alexandre Lacazette out of favour, Nketiah has stepped up as Mikel Arteta's talisman, scoring four goals in his last four league games – just one fewer than he had managed in his first 52 top-flight appearances.

Luke Ayling was then dismissed for a mindless two-footed lunge on Gabriel Martinelli after 27 minutes, Leeds' earliest red card in the competition since April 1998 (when Lucas Radebe saw red after 17 minutes against Everton).

Tempers continued to flare before the interval as Leeds picked up their 95th and 96th yellow cards of the season, setting a new record for the most bookings for a club within a single Premier League campaign.

Diego Llorente offered Jesse Marsch's visitors brief hope as he poked home with Leeds' first shot on target, which marked the first home league goal Arsenal have conceded from a corner since February 2021 (also against Leeds).

However, Arsenal held on for victory to move four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who they face on Thursday knowing victory will secure Champions League football next campaign.

Leicester City 1-2 Everton: Toffees move out of bottom three

Mason Holgate's second-half header proved the difference as Everton climbed out of the relegation zone with a battling 2-1 victory at Leicester.

Before this game, Leicester had won eight of their last nine top-flight matches against sides starting the day inside the relegation zone (D1), but the Foxes were caught cold by Vitalii Mykolenko's early volley.

That made Mykolenko the first Ukrainian to score a Premier League goal for Everton, the 39th different nationality to find the net in the competition for the Toffees, the sixth most of all clubs.

Patson Daka restored parity five minutes later, with all five of the striker's Premier League goals coming at the King Power Stadium – only Jamie Vardy (6) has netted more often at home for the club in the top-flight in 2021-22.

Holgate delivered the decisive finish in the 30th minute with his second league goal in his last five matches, one more than he had managed across his previous 109 top-flight appearances beforehand (one).

Brendan Rodgers will be left frustrated by the nature of Holgate's goal, given it was the 15th Premier League strike Leicester have conceded from a corner this campaign – the most by a side in a single campaign since Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017-18 (16).

Victory marked the first away league win in 15 games for Everton, ending a seven-game losing streak on the road as Frank Lampard's side moved a point clear of Leeds and Burnley having played one game fewer.

Norwich City 0-4 West Ham: Bowen and Benrahma on song to down Canaries

Said Benrahma scored twice as West Ham responded to Thursday's Europa League semi-final heartbreak by cruising past relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road.

Benrahma struck after 12 minutes before Michail Antonio ended his joint-longest goal drought in the top-flight with his fifth Premier League strike against the Canaries, only against Tottenham (six) has he scored more in the competition. 

Algeria international Benrahma doubled his tally before the interval, taking him to 21 direct goal contributions in the competition (nine goals, 12 assists). Since his debut in 2020, Jarrod Bowen (30) and Antonio (28) are the only other Hammers to register 20+ top-flight goal involvements.

Bowen assisted both of Benrahma's strikes as the former Hull City man became just the second player for West Ham to register at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a Premier League season, and the first since Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00 (16 goals, 13 assists).

Indeed, only Harry Kane (32) has been involved in more goals among English Premier League players in all competitions than Bowen this season (27 – 16 goals, 11 assists).

Manuel Lanzini's second-half penalty rounded off the victory as West Ham won a Premier League away game by at least a four-goal margin for just the third time, while it was the first time the Hammers have put at least four goals past a side in consecutive league visits since doing so against Tottenham in November 1966.

Meanwhile, Norwich have failed to score in 20 different league games this season, becoming the first side to do so in at least 20 matches in three different Premier League campaigns (also in 1994-95 and 2019-20).

Eddie Nketiah was non-committal over his future after his double consigned 10-man Leeds United to a 2-1 defeat and moved Arsenal a step closer to qualifying for the Champions League.

Nketiah pounced on a howler from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to open the scoring and added a second goal only 10 minutes into the Premier League encounter at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Luke Ayling was sent off for a reckless lunge on Gabriel Martinelli just 27 minutes in, and although Diego Llorente pulled one back in the second half, his close-range strike was in vain.

A fourth win in a row moved the Gunners four points clear of fierce rivals Tottenham with three games to play in the battle for a top-four finish ahead of a huge north London derby on Thursday.

Nketiah is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and the in-form striker, who has been linked with Crystal Palace, gave little away when asked about his future after plunging his former club Leeds into the relegation zone.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a great atmosphere throughout the whole season, it's been excellent.

"You really feel the connection between the players and the fans, it's amazing to be involved."

Nketiah's opportunities have been limited this season, but he has four goals in as many games after scoring twice in a recent victory at Chelsea.

The 22-year-old is relishing the chance to show what he is capable of as Mikel Arteta's side strive to seal a return to the premier club competition in Europe.

He said: "Any player just wants to be playing and get the opportunities. I've worked hard throughout the season to make sure that I was ready when I get my chance, and credit to my team-mates for helping me play and do well. I'm just happy in the team and helping."

Arsenal will be guaranteed a Champions League place if they beat Spurs in their own backyard, while Leeds are in the bottom three following Everton's 2-1 win at Leicester City.

Eddie Nketiah scored twice against his former club as Arsenal remained on course for the Champions League and plunged 10-man Leeds United into the relegation zone with a 2-1 win.

Nketiah capitalised on an Illan Meslier error to put the Gunners in front and added a second just 10 minutes into the Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Leeds suffered another massive blow when captain Luke Ayling marked the 500th appearance of his career by getting sent off for a reckless first-half lunge on Gabriel Martinelli with only 27 minutes played.

Diego Llorente pulled a goal back in the second half, but Arsenal moved four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham and Jesse Marsch's side dropped into the bottom three after Everton won at Leicester City.

Meslier gifted Arsenal the lead in the fifth minute, taking a heavy touch from Ayling's back pass to present Nketiah with a tap-in.

Nketiah doubled the Gunners' advantage five minutes later, finishing clinically with his left foot from close to the penalty spot after the excellent Martinelli picked him out with a cutback from the byline.

A nightmare start for Leeds took another huge turn for the worse when Ayling was given his marching orders for a mindless challenge, referee Chris Kavanagh whipping out a red card following a VAR check after initially booking the defender.

Llorente cleared off the line late in the first half and Martinelli forced a save from Meslier following the restart before blazing over the crossbar, with Leeds on the ropes.

Arsenal were coasting, but Llorente gave Leeds a lifeline when Junior Firpo flicked on a corner from the left and Llorente was on hand to tuck home with his right foot at the back post.

Martin Odegaard spurned a chance to restore Arsenal's two-goal advantage when he cut inside and drilled a left-foot drive just wide, but Nketiah's double extended the Gunners' winning run to four games.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hailed the mentality of Bukayo Saka to bounce back from Euro 2020 final penalty shoot-out heartbreak, while he implored the Gunners to capitalise in the top-four race.

Saka missed the decisive spot-kick for England against Italy in early July, leading to a wave of online racial abuse towards him and international colleagues Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Arteta previously suggested the penalty failure would aid Saka's development and resilience, and the 20-year-old has supported his manager's comments with his best Premier League season to date.

Saka has scored 11 times in the league and assisted five more as Arsenal battle with Tottenham for the final Champions League qualification spot, while he has made amends from the penalty spot in recent weeks.

Indeed, he became the youngest player ever to score a penalty in consecutive Premier League appearances following spot-kicks against Chelsea and Manchester United in the last two games.

Arteta confirmed Saka will again be on penalty duties should the chance arise at West Ham on Sunday as the Spaniard heaped praise on the England international.

"Well, if someone has to take a penalty, he will take it," Arteta told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"Again, but it happened quite naturally in the Chelsea game, he took it and the next game we had another one and hopefully he can continue to put the ball in the back of the net.

"The first two conversations that I had [with him] it was straight after the incident [at Euro 2020], but Gareth Southgate was really helpful as well because he had Bukayo in his hands at that moment and they were really caring and really supportive of him, so by the time he joined us, he was in a really good place.

"Obviously, he got all this support and love and help in any way that he needed it to overcome that situation and then it's down to him and his family around him that were very helpful for him."

Arsenal have been inspired by their younger players this season, with Emile Smith Rowe just the second Gunner to score 10 or more Premier League goals in a season, after Nicolas Anelka in 1998-99 (17).

Fellow youngster Eddie Nketiah also netted twice to guide Arsenal past Chelsea earlier in the month, and Arteta believes club experience helps his youthful squad when they go on international duty.

"I think they're doing it at their clubs and that's really, really important so again, the step of demands is not that high, they are already key and important players in their own clubs," he added.

"So they're used to that pressure and at international level it's something very different, but I think they have the maturity and they have the capacity to sustain that level under pressure because they're doing it every week at their clubs."

Arteta will be hoping his young Gunners can deliver again when Arsenal visit fellow top-four chasers West Ham on Sunday, looking to improve on their two-point lead over fifth-placed Tottenham.

However, the Arsenal manager warned to expect more changes heading into the final weeks of the season as teams battle for European football next campaign.

Asked whether the fight for fourth place was a two-horse race, he responded: "I don't think so, there will still be some twists and turns, we all have difficult matches to play.

"We all know how difficult it is to win games in the Premier League and now we had two really good results that put us in a really good position. But it is about doing it again at West Ham.

"I think in the league when you are able to win consecutively away and at home, it gives you a huge platform and things quickly change.

"We have some momentum now and we want to make the most out of it."

Mikel Arteta expressed his delight for Eddie Nketiah after the striker's first Premier League double saw Arsenal respond to a poor run of form with victory at Chelsea on Wednesday.

A frantic first half at Stamford Bridge saw Arsenal twice pegged back by Chelsea, after Timo Werner cancelled out Eddie Nketiah's opener, and Cesar Azpilicueta restored parity following Emile Smith Rowe's goal.

Nketiah delivered again after the interval before Bukayo Saka's penalty sealed a 4-2 victory as Arsenal moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham in the battle for Champions League qualification.

In Nketiah, Smith Rowe and Saka, Arsenal also saw three English players score in the same Premier League match versus Chelsea for the first time since September 1996.

Arteta reserved much of his praise for Nketiah, who proved his worth to the Gunners by scoring his first top-flight goals in over a year – since an injury-time equaliser versus Fulham in April 2021.

"What I've been saying all the time about Eddie, when you look at him in training and how humble he is all the time, good things happen," Arteta said of the forward.

"Good things happen to good people. He has proven that all season and he hasn't given any signs of anything different. If I'm happy for anyone it's him, because I know what he's been through. 

"The same with Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding."

Manager Arteta also hailed the adaptability of his side, who ended a three-game losing streak with the success over Thomas Tuchel's European champions.

"The way they started the game was tactically really demanding, they kept changing their shape and we had to adapt," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.

"We managed to grab a little bit of the game, we looked dangerous on the counter-attack, we scored four goals and conceded twice.

"After two difficult weeks it's a great day. What I love is the spirit of these players. When you lose matches you get punished and criticised but with these players I don't care because they're growing.

"For us to win a London derby away the way we did it I'm really happy as well."

Arteta then added to reporters: “I said to them if you want to play Champions League football you have to come to places like this and win.”

Arsenal will be hoping to carry the impetus from the win over Chelsea when they on Saturday host fellow top-four chasers Manchester United, who have played a game more and are three points behind the Gunners.

Eddie Nketiah scored his first Premier League double as Arsenal got their top-four hopes back on track with an entertaining 4-2 victory over Chelsea. 

Mikel Arteta's faith in Nketiah was rewarded as the 22-year-old ended a wait for a league goal that stretched back to April 2021 with the opener at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. 

Timo Werner scored in consecutive Premier League games for just the second time in his Chelsea career to restore parity, before Emile Smith Rowe put Arsenal back in front. 

Cesar Azpilicueta got another equaliser for Chelsea, but he was at fault for Nketiah's second and a stoppage-time penalty from Bukayo Saka as Arsenal ended run of three straight defeats and went level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham. 

Andreas Christensen's bungled back pass was pounced upon by Nketiah and the attacker slotted a cool finish past Edouard Mendy to give Arsenal the lead in the 13th minute. 

Chelsea hit back four minutes later when Ruben Loftus-Cheek won possession high up the pitch and Werner unleashed a shot that deflected in off Granit Xhaka. 

Arsenal narrowly avoided gifting Chelsea a chance to take the lead and transitioned into a rapid counter-attack that finished with Smith Rowe placing a curling shot into the bottom-right corner. 

The Blues drew level before the break, though, with Mason Mount's excellent delivery steered home by Azpilicueta. 

Christensen made way for Thiago Silva at half-time, but Arsenal were back in front 13 minutes after the restart. Azpilicueta gave the ball away and Nketiah made the most of a couple of fortunate ricochets to double his tally. 

Azpilicueta then hauled Saka to ground in the box and the England winger fired the spot-kick home in the 92nd minute as Chelsea succumbed to a defeat that left them in danger of being dragged into an unexpected top-four battle.
 

What does it mean? Shoddy defending costs Chelsea 

Chelsea have lost three straight home games in all competitions for the first time in almost 30 years, and some sloppy errors brought on their latest defeat. 

They gifted Nketiah a pair of goals and were caught short when their high press was beaten ahead of Smith Rowe's strike. 

The Gunners were by no means in good form at the back, but some crucial blocks from Gabriel helped them secure a huge three points. 

Sublime Saka 

Marcos Alonso struggled to cope with Saka's dribbling ability as he proved extremely dangerous when Arsenal counter-attacked. He capped an all-action display with a deserved goal at the death.

Lacklustre Lukaku 

Thomas Tuchel handed Romelu Lukaku his first start in over a month, but the Belgian failed to impress. His 22 touches were the fewest of any Chelsea starter and he missed the target with his only attempt on goal. 

What's next? 

Arsenal entertain Manchester United in a game that could be key to their top-four hopes on Saturday, while Chelsea have another London derby against West Ham the following day. 

Mikel Arteta urged Alexandre Lacazette to focus on the task at hand with Arsenal amid speculation the striker could leave the Gunners.

Frenchman Lacazette desires European football next season, and is eyeing a move to a Champions League side after failing to make a single appearance in the competition for Arsenal.

The 30-year-old suggested, in an interview with Canal Plus, that former club Lyon are among several interested in signing him when his contract expires at the end of the season.

While Arteta understands it is up to Lacazette to decide his future, the Spaniard implored him to concentrate on the current challenge with Arsenal as they fight for a place in England's top four.

Arsenal head to Chelsea on Wednesday in the Premier League sitting three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who have played a game more.

"He doesn't need to tell me what he does in his own life but he has and we've discussed that and he's entitled to do that," he said of captain Lacazette at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"His contract situation allows him to make the decision about the future. We have expressed clearly what our intention is, to speak in the summer when we know where we are and what we're going to do in the future together. 

"For the rest, I just want him fully focused on his duty, which is now defending Arsenal in the best possible way like he's done all the time when he's been with us, and that's why he's been wearing the armband of this football club, so that's a big risk.

"The contracts start and end with the expiry date that you have agreed on the day that you put the pen down, and then you have to live with the consequences of that.

"That's the reality of the contract that he has and the commitment and the duty he has with the football club.

"That is the agreement that we made with him. That was our position, and our position remains the same - that this is what we are going to do.

"Then it's up to him because it's not about us or him, it's about both parties."

Lacazette missed training and was absent with COVID-19 against Southampton on Saturday; the Gunners suffering three successive losses in the league for the third time during Arteta's reign.

As Arsenal aim to avoid four consecutive league defeats for the first since March 1995 under Stewart Houston, Arteta was unsure whether Lacazette would return in time.

"With Laca we are assessing him today to see if he is available with the team, obviously as you all know he had Covid so he’s been away for a few days," he added.

"So we're trying to get [how] he's feeling and where he's at if he can contribute somehow with the team."

Should Lacazette leave in the close season, that may make room for fellow striker Eddie Nketiah, who is becoming increasingly frustrated with a lack of minutes.

"He is right to be upset," Arteta added. "This is what we want from the players that haven't had the minutes.

"Especially Eddie, because if there is a player in the dressing room that deserves more chances, that is for sure Eddie.

"It's not about pressure to play him, it's about trying to put a team there that can win football matches, and you believe that has the best possible chance to win it.

"Then just pick the players, regardless of the situation. We could have gone for a completely different approach and played him even less or don't give him any opportunities, or don't put him in the squad.

"We have to treat every player with the duty that we have. They are our players, we want to get the best out of them. With Eddie I said many times as well how much I rate him.

"We have big plans for him at this club for the future, and this is where we are today and we have to accept that reality."

When the next transfer window opens, Erling Haaland's future will be a hot topic.

The 21-year-old striker has two years remaining on his Borussia Dortmund contract.

But there is a £65million (€75m) release clause that enables him to talk to clubs who can meet that valuation from this off-season.

 

TOP STORY - CITY READY TO RAMP UP HAALAND ADVANCES

El Chiringuito claim that Real Madrid's interest in signing Haaland has waned as they focus on landing Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have been heavily linked with Haaland once his release clause becomes active, along with Barcelona, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

City "will do what they can" to persuade Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to join them in the off-season despite believing they are not front-runners, reports The Athletic.

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- ESPN claims that Manchester United have asked Paul Pogba to delay a decision on his future until they have appointed a permanent manager. Pogba's contract is up in June and he has been linked with PSG and Juventus.

- Chelsea have shortlisted West Ham United's Declan Rice, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni as off-season targets, claims The Athletic.

- Newcastle United plan to re-ignite their interest in Lille's 22-year-old defender Sven Botman, who is worth £35m (€42m) according to The Mirror.

- Arsenal turned down approaches from Newcastle and Crystal Palace for Eddie Nketiah in the closing days of the January transfer window reports Fabrizio Romano. Nketiah has six months remaining on his Gunners deal and could sign a pre-contract elsewhere.

Ousmane Dembele's future at Barcelona has been uncertain for months.

The 24-year-old has stalled on a new deal with the Catalans.

Dembele has attracted interest from several top clubs, meaning his signature looms for deadline day.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO HIJACK PSG'S DEMBELE MOVE

Manchester United are set to make a deadline-day move for Barcelona's Dembele, according to Footmercato.

The Red Devils could hijack Paris Saint-Germain's plans, with the Ligue 1 club having already verbally agreed to a deal with the French winger.

United are ready to move, with Anthony Martial loaned out and Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard also set to exit.

 

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has agreed to a deal to join Barcelona, according to Sport, but Dembele must exit the Catalans to enable the move to be completed.

- Real Madrid have opted against a January move for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, claims Diario Sport, due to their €80m asking price.

- Talksport claims that Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso will join Spanish club Villarreal on loan for the rest of the season. Lyon were also interested in the Argentina international.

- Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches has opted against a €25 million move from Lille to Milan, according to Calciomercato.

- Newcastle United's January spending is not over as the club eyes deadline-day deals for Aston Villa's Matt Targett and Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, reports The Telegraph.

- Newcastle are set to land Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan, claims Talksport.

- Struggling Spanish club Getafe are interested in free agent Diego Costa, according to Marca.

- Dele Alli could join Milan on loan from Tottenham, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future is unclear having become frozen out.

The Gabon striker was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy last month and dropped by the club for disciplinary reasons and has not played since.

Aubameyang's future is a hot topic as the January transfer window opens.

TOP STORY - NEWCASTLE IN FOR JANUARY AUBA MOVE

Big-spending Newcastle have got in touch with Arsenal about a loan deal for outcast striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claims The Mirror.

The Magpies want to sign 32-year-old Aubameyang on loan for the remainder of the season.

Newcastle would also look to sign Aubameyang, who is away at the African Cup of Nations, on a £20million off-season permanent deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Teenage US international Ricardo Pepi is on the verge of joining Bundesliga club Augsburg claims Fabrizio Di Romano. The 18-year-old netted 13 goals for Dallas in the 2021 MLS season and is set for a medical on Sunday.

- Eddie Nketiah is being pursued by Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer from Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports The Sun.

- Sport reports that Brazilian giants Palmeiras are not interested in signing forward Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona try to shop him around in January.

- Axel Tuanzebe will join Napoli on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, claims the Manchester Evening News. Tuanzebe is currently on loan at Aston Villa.

- The Sun claims that Manchester United's pursuit of Declan Rice has been boosted by West Ham's recent slide outside the Premier League top four.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists he wants Tuesday's EFL Cup hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah to stay with the club amid his contract stand-off.

Nketiah is believed to be frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Arsenal, with Tuesday's cup quarter-final appearance in Arsenal's 5-1 win over Sunderland marking only his sixth this season in all competitions.

The 22-year-old's current deal expires at the end of this season and he may leave on a free transfer after turning down a new contract offer earlier this month.

"I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie," Arteta said at the post-game news conference. "We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session.

"I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded."

He added: "We are trying [to re-sign him]. It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants gametime, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, 'Can I do it here?' That’s the question. We all want him to stay."

Arteta has only used Nketiah three times in the Premier League this season, off the bench on all three occasions.

"The way we planned the squad and the way his situation looked in the window, he had a lot of options to go and we thought that was probably the best way to go," Arteta added.

"But the way we assembled the squad the situation changed and he decided to stay and it was hard to found minutes for him. But he’s finding the space right now and is using his minutes really well."

The Gunners boss admitted Nketiah's treble on Tuesday would boost his case for more minutes in the league.

"Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes," the Spaniard said.

Arteta also labelled Charlie Patino's debut goal as a "beautiful moment" and heaped praise on Nicolas Pepe after a bright display against the Black Cats, having only been used 11 times this season.

Pepe scored Arsenal's second goal and set up their last two, including producing some wizardry down the right flank to tee up Nketiah's classy backheel finish.

"It is hard for everyone who doesn’t play," Arteta said about Pepe. "What they have to do is when they have the minutes, show on the pitch that they can do it and they are ready when the team needs him."

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