Xavi has his work cut out at Camp Nou following his appointment as Barcelona head coach.

Barca have struggled on the pitch amid off-field turmoil and financial problems.

But Xavi wants to make Barca great again and he reportedly has his eyes on some players across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE TRIO

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo and Manchester City pair Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling are transfer options for Barcelona, according to Thursday's Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi is now at the helm of Barca and the club great is tasked with restoring the fortunes of the embattled LaLiga giants.

The Barca head coach is keen to reinforce his squad in either January or at the end of the season.

Barca have also been linked with Chelsea forward Timo Werner and Manchester United veteran Edinson Cavani.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Paul Pogba is set to leave United and Juventus are trying to re-sign the Frenchman, though his salary is proving problematic. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Inter are pressing Marcelo Brozovic to sign a new contract by Christmas, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. The Croatia international is reportedly wanted by Barca, Liverpool, PSG and United.

Steven Gerrard is expected to join Aston Villa as their new manager, reports Fabrizio Romano. The Rangers boss is set to be joined by his backroom staff at Villa.

Fiorentina are trying to sign River Plate striker Julian Alvarez as Dusan Vlahovic prepares to leave but Juve are also interested, according to Corriere dello Sport. Vlahovic has no plans to renew in Florence and the Serbia international has been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Juve and Inter.

- The Mirror says United are confident of landing Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers as their new manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under mounting pressure at United and former Liverpool boss Rodgers has emerged as a target for the struggling Red Devils due to a release clause in his contract.

Aaron Ramsey has become an issue for Juventus, being on a bumper contract but having fallen out of favour.

Ramsey signed with Juve in 2019 on a four-year deal from Arsenal.

The 30-year-old has only made 70 appearances across almost two-and-a-half seasons, including only five this term.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE PAIR KEEN ON RAMSEY

Juventus are shopping around Aaron Ramsey with Premier League pair Everton and Newcastle United in the mix, claims Goal.

The Bianconeri are keen to find a buyer for the Wales international midfielder in January although his salary may be a stumbling block.

No formal offers have been tabled yet for the ex-Arsenal star.

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- The transfer saga involving Paul Pogba continues to twist and turn with The Star claiming Manchester United are willing to sell him in January, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus have been linked with the French midfielder.

- AS claims Manchester United are hoping to win the race for Sevilla's Jules Kounde , with Chelsea 's admiration long known.

- West Ham will turn down any approaches for England international Declan Rice , reports The Sun. The midfielder has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea .

- Newcastle are angling to land Ousmane Dembele as a free agent if he refuses to pen a new deal with Barcelona, reports Express.

- Internazionale could also seal a free transfer for Andre Onana from Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims a verbal agreement was reached months ago. Barcelona have also shown an interest in Onana.

- Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has interest from German club Monchengladbach for a January move according to The Sun.

- Goal claims that Liverpool legend and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is Aston Villa 's first choice to take their vacant managerial role following Dean Smith's dismissal.

Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe has revealed how kicking bad drinking and eating habits has helped his rapid rise following his maiden England call-up this week.

Smith Rowe earned his first-ever senior England call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse's withdrawal.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder burst onto the scene with Arsenal late last season and has scored in each of the Gunners' last three league games.

Smith Rowe told The Guardian that his recent rise came after abandoning bad habits around diet and hydration.

"I didn’t used to eat that well," Smith said. "I wasn’t drinking that well. Before games, I wasn’t really that hydrated. I’ve tried now to focus so much on it.

"Arsenal are strict but I didn’t really listen, to be honest. I think that’s where I went wrong. Now I’m listening all the time."

He added: "Chocolate … I like Nando’s a lot – maybe that’s killing me a little bit. I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can.

"The club have sorted me out with a chef. His name is Chris and he comes to my house every day. I live with my mum and she normally cooks but she doesn’t have to any more. Chris cooks for me and her.

"With hydration, there’s loads of stuff we should be taking before a game and, yeah, before I was a bit too lazy."

Smith Rowe has made 11 Premier League appearances this season, netting four goals and providing two assists. He also scored in the EFL Cup against AFC Wimbledon in September.

It is all change in the England squad, with two players dropping out, and Emile Smith Rowe earning a first senior call up from Gareth Southgate.

Smith Rowe has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season, but was not initially included in Southgate's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

The midfielder, who was handed Arsenal's number 10 shirt for 2021-22, has appeared in every Premier League game for the Gunners this term.

His tally of 15 chances created ranks him second in Arsenal's squad, behind Bukayo Saka (19). He has provided two league assists and scored four goals, meaning he is the club's joint-top scorer in the top flight alongside captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After initially arriving at St George's Park to be part of the England Under-21 squad, Smith Rowe will instead join the senior side after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse dropped out.

Rashford has only just returned from a long injury lay off following shoulder surgery, and will remain at Manchester United in order to work his way back to fitness, while Southampton's Ward-Prowse is ill.

Southgate might also be without regulars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount. The United full-back is following concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury in Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester City and will continue to be assessed by the club before being released for international duty. 

Mount, meanwhile, has had his arrival pushed back by dental surgery and will be monitored over the coming days.

England host Albania on Friday, before taking on San Marino three days later. Four points from the two matches will guarantee their place in Qatar.

Vinicius Junior has been in dazzling form for Real Madrid.

Previously linked with Paris Saint-Germain as part of a possible deal to bring Kylian Mbappe to the Spanish capital, Vinicius has established himself under Carlo Ancelotti.

Now, a bumper contract is on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – VINICIUS SET FOR NEW DEAL

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior is set to hold contract talks with the LaLiga giants, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Vinicius is contracted to Madrid until 2025 but Los Blancos are determined to offer the Brazil international fresh terms.

The 21-year-old has been in red-hot form at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.

 

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- El Nacional reports Barcelona are targeting Beijing Guoan striker Cedric Bakambu as a short-term replacement for sidelined star Sergio Aguero, who is facing at least three months out due to a potential heart condition.

Luka Jovic is eager to leave Madrid in January, says Defensa Central. The Serbia international has been linked with former club Eintracht Frankfurt, Inter, Milan, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Manchester United have rejected the chance to sign struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard, claims the Daily Mail. Hazard has also been reportedly snubbed by Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United.

Kieran Tierney could be back for Arsenal's clash with Watford this weekend and Mikel Arteta is welcoming the selection dilemma that poses with the in-form Nuno Tavares.

Scotland full-back Tierney has not featured for the Gunners in their past three matches due to a bruised ankle and speaking after their 2-0 win over Leicester City last time out, boss Arteta did not sound confident of a return this weekend.

But Tierney has resumed training this week and may face the Hornets, though Arteta was reticent to confirm his availability for Scotland over the upcoming international break.

"Kieran has been training in the last two days. He's been feeling much better, so hopefully, he will be able to be available," Arteta said at a pre-match news conference.

On featuring for Scotland he added: "Let's see how he's feeling in the next few training sessions. 

"He's done bits with the team but hasn't fully trained yet, so in the next two days we will see where he is and how he's feeling."

In the absence of Tierney, Tavares – signed from Sporting CP for £8million in July – has excelled, and it is this sort of selection headache Arteta revels in.

"Hopefully we can have more of those dilemmas and we can have top players performing at the top level in many positions because that only raises the quality, the standards and the performance of the team," he said.

There were mixed emotions for Arsenal's English contingent this week, with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale joining Bukayo Saka in the squad amid an impressive run of displays.

But attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe and centre-back Ben White were both surprise omissions by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, despite a series of fine performances.

"Gareth has to make so many difficult choices and has got so many options. What I like is that our players are performing at a level that I'm sure they give problems to Gareth and the coaching staff," Arteta said.

"That's what pleased me. I know they have the level to do it and it will about the time or when the manager decides it is the right moment to select them.

"I think he [Smith Rowe] should be happy if people are gutted or if they're questioning the decision because it shows the level he's playing at. 

"Like anything in Emile's career, it will come in the right moment. We don't know if now is the right moment. Gareth knows much better than us how to judge what he thinks about the role he could have in that team. 

"If he's decided it wasn't the right moment, I'm sure it was a very thoughtful process and the right decision."

Ramsdale's form in particular has led to some suggestions he could usurp Jordan Pickford as England's first-choice goalie.

"Well, I'm really happy for him to see him back there. The rest are decisions that Gareth and the coaching team has to take," Arteta said.

"What Aaron needs to do is keep performing and be humble. The decisions are done by someone else."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta welcomed another elite coach to England, as Antonio Conte joined rivals Tottenham, and declared this "the most competitive season the Premier League has ever had".

After Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked just 10 games into the Premier League season, with Spurs struggling in ninth, Conte was appointed this week.

The Italian has had title-winning success with Juventus, Chelsea and Inter, and his arrival would appear to change Tottenham's outlook for the season.

Conte has a 67 per cent win rate in the Premier League, trailing only Pep Guardiola (73 per cent) among those to take charge of at least 20 matches. Only Jose Mourinho (63) and Guardiola (69) took fewer games to reach 50 wins in the competition than Conte's 73.

Arteta, who has Arsenal unbeaten in nine in all competitions and sixth in the league table, was asked how Spurs' move for Conte might affect the Gunners' top-four ambitions.

"I think it's going to be for any team that is fighting for the top positions," he said. "There is still so many games to go and a lot of things are going to happen.

"You see games, performances and how things vary from one half to the other or moments in the game. That tells you the quality that there is in terms of players and managers as well."

Asked to comment on the "incredible" quality in the Premier League, Arteta replied: "It is [incredible], yeah. I can think of many, many more who are at top clubs who are world-leading managers.

"But I think it's really positive for our league because it raises the level, because he has new ideas and because it makes the competition even harder."

Indeed, the Spaniard believes the standard of England's top flight has never been better.

"I'm really happy to be where I am, enjoying this incredible league, the set-up, the atmosphere, the passion and everybody back to normality," he said.

"It's probably the most competitive season the Premier League has ever had."

 

Arteta will oversee his 100th match as Arsenal manager against Watford on Sunday, recording 53 wins in his first 99 games. His win percentage of 54 per cent just trails predecessors Unai Emery (55 per cent) and Arsene Wenger (57 per cent).

"[It has been] an incredible and quick journey where a lot has happened," Arteta said. "Not only in the football club but around the world that has a huge impact in everything that we've lived in the last two years.

"But I'm so privileged to be where I am and really enjoying the opportunity and challenge that we have ahead.

"I think we all update every year like every computer. With everything that has happened to us, even more so. I am different [from his first game], I see things different, you are involved in certain things. You keep evolving."

After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

Nuno Espirito Santo's replacement at Tottenham will be no surprise.

Antonio Conte had been rumoured as the top choice.

The ex-Inter man looks set to make it official on Tuesday, barring any late hitches.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE SET FOR SPURS MOVE

With Nuno Espirito Santo officially out, Antonio Conte is set to step in at Tottenham.

According to widespread reports, Conte has agreed a contract through June 2023 and the move will be finalised on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old left Inter by mutual consent after last season.

The Sun claims Spurs will give Conte £150million to spend on new players.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Paul Pogba prefers Paris Saint-Germain over Real Madrid or Juventus once he makes his expected departure from Manchester United, Fichajes reports.

- PSG are eyeing Karim Adeyemi as a potential replacement should Kylian Mbappe leave, Sky Sport in Germany reports. The 19-year-old Red Bull Salzburg striker also has drawn interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

- Real Madrid's Marco Asensio will be in demand in January, with El Nacional reporting Liverpool, Arsenal, Juventus, Milan and Dortmund all have offers ready.

- Arsenal are eyeing Torino striker Andrea Belotti, says Calciomercato.

- Villarreal's Unai Emery is the new favourite to take over as Newcastle United manager, says the Mirror.

West Ham have been handed an EFL Cup quarter-final trip to Tottenham after dumping long-time holders Manchester City out of the competition.

David Moyes' men beat City on penalties on Wednesday to ensure the Premier League champions will not win the trophy for a fifth year in a row, and now a London derby awaits them for a place in the last four. Tottenham reached this stage by eliminating Burnley.

Three of the four ties will be played in the capital, with Arsenal drawn to face League One outfit Sunderland, the only EFL team left in the competition, and Brentford given a home game against Chelsea.

Sunderland knocked out QPR in a penalty shoot-out to reach the last eight, while Arsenal saw off Leeds United. Brentford were victorious at Stoke City, and Chelsea edged past Southampton on spot-kicks.

Liverpool's 2-0 win at Preston North End sets up Jurgen Klopp's team for a shot at Leicester City, with the Reds drawn at home for the tussle with Brendan Rodgers' team.

All ties are due to be played in the week commencing December 20.

Liverpool are looking to win the competition for a fourth time in the 21st century, and for a record ninth time in all. The Reds and Manchester City currently have the most titles in this competition, with eight apiece.

Leicester have won the EFL Cup on three previous occasions, most recently in 2000 when they beat another Merseyside club, Tranmere Rovers, in the last EFL Cup final to be played at the old Wembley Stadium, prior to its demolition.


EFL Cup quarter-final draw:

Tottenham v West Ham

Arsenal v Sunderland

Brentford v Chelsea

Liverpool v Leicester City

Mikel Arteta hailed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for leading from the front as the Arsenal captain adapts to a changing role from previous seasons.

Arsenal endured a tough start to the new Premier League term, losing their opening three games before responding with six wins from eight unbeaten games across all competitions.

Aubameyang has been key to their upturn in form, having been involved in five goals in his last six top-flight appearances (four goals, one assist) with the Gunners climbing into 10th.

The forward has operated in a more central role this campaign, as opposed to cutting in from the left flank, and has led the line effectively so far.

Indeed, Aubameyang (four) ranks second at the club for possession won in the final third, only behind Emile Smith-Rowe (nine), while also sitting fifth among club charts for chances created (eight).

Utilised as Arsenal's spearhead who leads the press, Arteta credited Aubameyang's willingness to adapt to his new role and praised the 32-year-old's leadership qualities.

"We had various conversations and obviously where you have a season where as a team we haven’t fulfilled our expectations, and individually we haven’t, we have to find the right reasons why," Arteta said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"How we can change that, how we can improve them, how we can help him to improve certain things that are going to have a huge impact on the team.

"And he’s been so willing to do that from the start. I am so pleased because again, his role is different to one that he had two or three years ago, and now he needs to lead in every sense – and he’s doing that and I’m really happy with him."

Aubameyang's finishing seems to have improved as well, given he has outscored his expected goals (3.08) in the Premier League after eight appearances with four strikes to his name.

Arteta also believes his experienced striker is enjoying his new role, which is producing results on and off the pitch.

"I think he is, and I think you can see it on the pitch," the Arsenal manager responded when asked if Aubameyang was enjoying himself.

"He’s playing with a smile on his face, he’s transmitting energy, passion, willingness – and not only that but outside the pitch as well.

"That’s what I want – a happy Auba leads with his character, and that’s what he’s able to transmit to everybody, and that energy is always positive."

Dusan Vlahovic has already made it clear he will not re-sign with Fiorentina.

The in-demand Serbia international is wanted by a host of European clubs.

Juventus are reportedly ready to make their move.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC TO TURIN IN JANUARY?

Juventus are eyeing a January swoop for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Tuttosport.

Vlahovic has no plans to re-sign with Fiorentina and the Serbia forward has been linked to Juve, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.

But Juve are believed to be desperate to prise Vlahovic from Florence amid their struggles, while Gazzetta dello Sport claims contact has already been made.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Star reports Manchester United have cooled their interest in Antonio Conte as a possible replacement for under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to his expensive demands. Zinedine Zidane, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked.

Real Madrid and Liverpool are considering moves for United midfielder Paul Pogba, says Ekrem Konur. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Barcelona, PSG and Juventus also.

- ESPN claims Chelsea and Newcastle United have been sounded out over their possible interest in struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard.

- Serie A rivals Inter and Juve are set to battle it out to sign Borussia Monchengladbach star Matthias Ginter, per Sport Bild.

Nicolo Barella will sign his new Inter deal next week, according to Fabrizio Romano. Barella had been linked with the likes of PSG, Atletico and Liverpool.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique is among those to have shown his support to A-League player Josh Cavallo, who has come out as the first openly gay top-flight footballer in the world.

Adelaide United defender Cavallo made the announcement in a video and open letter on social media on Wednesday.

The news is a historic moment for sporting community and one Cavallo hopes will help others find the courage to follow in his steps.

"I want to help change this," he said. "I want to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.

"It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. 

"Hopefully this will change in the near future."

Cavallo's announcement was met with widespread supporting, with Pique praising the 21-year-old for making the public announcement.

"I don't have the pleasure to know you personally, but I want to thank you for this step that you take," Pique posted on Twitter. 

"The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward."

Pique's former Barca team-mate and current Atletico Madrid loanee Antoine Griezmann said: "Proud of you @JoshuaCavallo".

Barca were one of a number of teams to commend Cavallo, posting: "THANK YOU, @JoshuaCavallo for taking a huge step forward! 

"Your courage contributes to normalizing diversity in the world of sports."

Premier League side Arsenal tweeted: "Thank you @JoshuaCavallo for your strength and bravery...

"You are an inspiration to millions. Everyone deserves the right to be themselves."

Several other top-flight players have previously come out as gay once their professional playing careers were over, including former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan came out while playing in a lower tier and is now plying his trade for semi-professional side Hume City.

Any hopes of Paul Pogba remaining at Old Trafford appear to be fading. 

The Manchester United stalwart has halted contract talks with the club. 

Multiple European clubs are said to be interested in the 28-year-old. 

 

TOP STORY – POGBA ENDS MAN UTD TALKS

Paul Pogba has ended talks over a potential new contract at Manchester United amid an apparent row with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, The Sun reports. 

The France international will be out of contract in June and appears likely to move on. 

The Sun reports he apologised to his team-mates but did not speak to Solskjaer after being sent off 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool. 

His former club Juventus could be an option, while Paris Saint-GermainReal Madrid and Barcelona are also said to have shown interest. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona would prefer to have Jurgen Klopp take over whenever they sack Ronald Koeman, says Sport. Klopp is under contract with Liverpool through 2024. 

- Newcastle United are prepared to offer Alex Ten Hag £6million a year after taxes if he leaves Ajax for St. James' Park, reports the Mail. 

- Arsenal and Manchester City are interested in Barcelona's Spain international Sergi Roberto, says Fichajes. 

- Inter have had talks with Sampdoria midfielder Morten Thorsby's agent over a potential move, claims Calciomercato. 

- River Plate forward Julian Alvarez is drawing interest from Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Aston Villa, says Calciomercato. 

Eddie Nketiah said he will continue to knuckle down at Arsenal to force his way into Mikel Arteta's Premier League plans.

The 22-year-old striker scored Arsenal's second in a 2-0 win over Leeds United in the EFL Cup fourth round on Tuesday, which took his tally to seven goals in eight appearances in the competition.

Nketiah, who had three shots with two on target in the match, has yet to feature in the league this season for the Gunners and is eager to press his claims with head coach Arteta.

"It is always nice to play, it’s obviously been a while," he told Sky Sports.

"I’ve been working hard, waiting for this opportunity. I was confident and ready and it’s always nice to score and help your team.

"We’re on a good run at the moment and it’s about continuing to work hard. We push each other every day in training and the results come in the match.

"I'm happy for the boys and it’s nice to get involved and contribute."

Nketiah said all of Arsenal's fringe players have to take their chance whenever they get them, especially given their recent upturn in form, which has seen them go eight games unbeaten in all competitions.

"That’s what we’re trying to do," Nketiah added.

"The manager picks the starting line-up but we have to work our hardest in training, and when we get the opportunities, we perform like we did today. I think everyone should be proud of themselves."

Arsenal's opening goal was scored by Calum Chambers who headed home just 24 seconds after he had come on as a substitute following an injury to Ben White.

The defender sprinted to celebrate with the Arsenal bench and one person in Arteta's backroom staff in particular after the ball was deemed to have crossed the line by goal-line technology.

"Our set piece coach Nico told me, 'you’re going to score from your first touch', so that’s why I went running over to him. It was a nice moment," Chambers said.

"I was pretty confident it went over, I saw the ball over the line so I was just waiting for the referee to give it. Luckily he did.

"It's always going to be tough against Leeds. They're a very unique team in the way that they play so you have to be on it, you have to be at it and we knew that going into the game. 

"We stood up to the test and came out with a win."

Chambers claimed Arsenal's players are determined to go as far as they can in the EFL Cup, which they last won in 1993, even though it is down the list of priorities for other clubs.

"Every competition is very important for Arsenal," he said, with the draw for the quarter-finals on Saturday.

"We want to be competing for silverware, so as I said it's good for players like us who want to prove a point and get back in the team and when we do, we need to take it. Every competition is important to us."

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