Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka turned down opportunities for a COVID-19 vaccination before testing positive for the coronavirus, it has been revealed.

Coach Murat Yakin and Swiss Football Federation (SFV) communications chief Adrian Arnold declared Xhaka, who was forced out of the World Cup qualifier against Greece on Wednesday, exercised his right not to receive the vaccine.

Xhaka has faced stiff criticism in the Swiss media for snubbing the opportunity to bolster his body's defences as the pandemic continues to surge.

Yakin said: "We can simply give recommendations to the players. It is his decision not to be vaccinated and we must respect it. He's the captain, but he's also a man. It is his own rights."

According to Arnold, Xhaka was the only member of the Switzerland squad not to have had the jab or have already recovered from the virus.

The Arsenal player's case comes in the week that the SFV has written to its 1,400 clubs and 300,000 members urging them to be vaccinated. It also follows Xhaka's red card for a dangerous tackle on Gunners duty in a 5-0 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday.

Arnold said, quoted by several Swiss media: "Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated. He's a player who isn't vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it's a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.

"All the other players in the team have been vaccinated or have recovered – so they are more or less safe, at least from a medical point of view. One is never quite sure.

"Now, unfortunately, Granit caught it. From a sporting point of view, it is a shame for us at this important moment."

Arnold said the Switzerland team were doing all they could to reduce contact within their ranks, with social distancing encouraged where possible and masks worn in meetings.

"I think it would have been irresponsible on our part not to know who in the team is not vaccinated," Arnold said.

"We had intensive discussions with the players already during the Euros. We have done everything to facilitate access to the vaccine, but each person is free to decide whether or not they want to be vaccinated."

It appears unlikely Xhaka will be able to play in Switzerland's next game, which comes against Euro 2020 winners Italy in Basle on Sunday.

However, Arnold, quoted in Blick, said: "We still have hope. On Thursday he will do another PCR test. It is the case that [on Monday] he had a negative PCR test, on Wednesday morning a negative rapid test, now unfortunately a positive one. So we still have the hope that the test on Thursday will be negative."

Arsenal sit bottom of the Premier League table heading into the clash with Norwich City following the international break, though regardless of Xhaka's health by then, the midfielder is facing a three-match suspension so will not be involved.

What does the future hold for Juventus post-Cristiano Ronaldo?

Moise Kean arrived following Ronaldo's return to Manchester United but it was a relatively quiet transfer window in terms of incomings.

Juve, though, are reportedly planning for 2022 already and they are targeting a pair of forward stars.

 

TOP STORY – DUO EYED BY JUVE

Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic or Paris Saint-Germain's Mauro Icardi are in Juventus' plans for 2022, according to the front page of Wednesday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Juve had a quiet end to the transfer window after Cristiano Ronaldo left Turin for Manchester United.

But Juve are reportedly set to target either Vlahovic – also linked with Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Inter – or Icardi at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Staying in Turin and Tuttosport says Juve will do everything to re-sign star Paulo Dybala. He has been linked with United, Tottenham and PSG previously.

 Lyon are expected to complete the signing of former Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng on a free transfer, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Sky Sport Italia reports free agent Franck Ribery is in negotiations with Hellas Verona. Ribery is without a club since leaving Fiorentina at the end of 2020-21.

 Lautaro Martinez will sign a new deal with Inter until 2025 worth €6million per year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Barcelona, City and Tottenham have been linked.

Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez were the big names to move late on deadline day, with Atletico Madrid having a busy night.

Griezmann's move to his former club completed a day of outgoings for Barcelona, who sold Emerson Royal and Ilaix Moriba, as well as loaning out Ray Minaj.

Ronald Koeman's Barca did get one player in, however, who will seemingly replace Griezmann in attack.

Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid did not manage to get a mega deal for Kylian Mbappe over the line, despite a reported bid of €200m having been lodged on Tuesday, though Los Blancos did sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

Cristiano Ronaldo's move back to Manchester United was confirmed early on, but there was plenty of late action in England, too.

 

Another returning king as Chelsea call on Saul

Romelu Lukaku back to Chelsea. Ronaldo back to United. Now, Griezmann has made a return to one of his former clubs, with the 30-year-old re-joining LaLiga champions Atleti on a season-long loan.

There is an option to make the deal permanent for €40million – just the €80million less than Barca paid for the France forward in 2019.

Replacing Griezmann at Barca is Luuk de Jong, with Koeman turning to his compatriot from Sevilla. Messi to De Jong... not quite the end to the window Barca fans would have had in mind.

Saul, meanwhile, is leaving LaLiga. He has joined Chelsea on a loan deal from Atleti, with an option to buy for a reported £30m.

 

No Madrid move for Mbappe... yet

A third Madrid bid for Mbappe was reportedly lodged, and ignored, on Tuesday, as Florentino Perez's obsessive hunt of the Paris Saint-Germain star proved fruitless.

However, Mbappe is out of contract next year, so he may well be a Galactico soon enough.

One player who will be playing in the famous all-white strip this season is teenage midfielder Camavinga, who has joined from Rennes.

As well as keeping Mbappe, PSG added to their squad, completing a stellar transfer window by signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes to fill what has proved a problem position. Pablo Sarabia went the other way.

In Italy, Milan marked a quiet end to the window overall by confirming the signings of Yacine Adli and Messias Junior.

Inter already had their business done, while Juventus confirmed Moise Kean's return on Tuesday morning. The Bianconeri also signed Mohamed Ihattaren, who was then loaned to Sampdoria.

Ronaldo headlines Premier League moves

The early confirmation of Ronaldo's move back to United being complete was the biggest story of the day in England's top flight. It also paved the way for the Red Devils to sell Daniel James, who moved to Leeds United.

Arsenal blocked Everton's attempts to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though Hector Bellerin did leave the Gunners to head to Real Betis on loan. Mikel Arteta's Gunners completed their record-breaking transfer window (in terms of overall spend) with the acquisition of Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna. Earlier in the day, Arsenal loaned out Reiss Nelson and Alex Runarsson.

Their north London rivals Tottenham completed the signing of Emerson from Barca, with Serge Aurier's time at Spurs subsequently being brought to an end by the mutual termination of his contract.

Everton's hunt for a right-back was to no avail. The Toffees did bring in Salomon Rondon on a free transfer, handing the forward a two-year deal with an option for a third. James Rodriguez was involved in a mooted part-exchange deal with Porto for Luis Diaz, but the Colombian star is staying put.

Manchester City rounded off their dealings by sending out seven players on loan. Among them was Patrick Roberts, who was one of three players to join Ligue 1 club Troyes.

Wolves were unable to complete deals for Kieffer Moore or Boubacar Kamara. A late offer from Spurs for Adama Traore was reportedly rejected.

Czech Republic midfielder Alex Kral joined West Ham on loan from Spartak Moscow. He was the Hammers' second signing of the day, with Croatia playmaker Nikola Vlasic having arrived early on.

There were two outgoings at Celtic. Scotland international Ryan Christie signed for Bournemouth, while Crystal Palace bought striker Odsonne Edouard for a reported £15m. The Hoops replaced him with Greece forward Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Arsenal have signed versatile defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna and allowed Hector Bellerin to join Real Betis on loan for the rest of the season.

The Gunners are reported to have paid Serie A side Bologna £17million (€19.8m) to land the Japan international on deadline day.

Tomiyasu, 22, had previously been linked with Tottenham but has instead joined their north London rivals on a long-term contract.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told the club's official website: "Takehiro is a strong defender with good experience in Serie A and at international level.

"He's a versatile defender with great defensive qualities, high technical ability and composure on the ball.

"He will be an important member of our squad. We look forward to Takehiro joining up with us when he returns from international duty."

Long-serving full-back Bellerin has left the bottom side in the Premier League to return to his homeland with Betis.

The 26-year-old, who joined the London club a decade ago, won the FA Cup three times during his time with the Gunners.

Goalkeeper Alex Runarsson and midfielder Reiss Nelson also departed on loan for the rest of the season before the window closed, though Ainsley Maitland-Niles has remained at the club.

Transfer deadline day has already been a busy one, even if the biggest move of all was one that was expected.

Manchester United, Juventus and West Ham have all made moves, while changes are expected at Arsenal and Tottenham before the window closes.

There is also a good chance of a young France star joining Real Madrid – but it's not Kylian Mbappe.

Here is a round-up of some of the deadline-day deals, and what could be coming...

Ronaldo in, Cavani out?

The biggest deal of the day was concluded early, as Manchester United completed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus for an initial £12.9million (€15m).

The Portugal star dedicated his return to Old Trafford to Alex Ferguson after his two-year contract was announced by the Red Devils.

Ronaldo's arrival has complicated things for Edinson Cavani, though. The striker was convinced to spend another year at the club by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after impressing last season, but his pre-season was disrupted due to personal reasons and he did not start any of United's first three league games of the season.

There are reports Barcelona are interested in signing Cavani as Ronald Koeman is desperate for another striker, but the Red Devils are expected to resist offers unless they are particularly lucrative. Of course, if Cavani does leave, it would free up the number seven shirt for Ronaldo.

United's business is mostly concluded but Dan James is expected to sign for Leeds United on deadline day for a reported £25m.

Real Madrid close to Camavinga

With Kylian Mbappe apparently not going to get his move in this window, Real Madrid have turned their attentions to Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who is expected to sign for Carlo Ancelotti's side before the deadline.

With Mbappe staying put at Paris Saint-Germain for now, any dramatic late offer for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland looks unlikely. BVB have in fact bolstered their squad, signing Marin Pongracic on loan from Wolfsburg.

Kean and Vlasic on the move

Juventus moved quickly to confirm Ronaldo's replacement, announcing a two-year loan with a potential obligation to buy for Everton striker Moise Kean. Kean returns to Turin for an initial €7m (£6m) after having left for the Toffees two years ago.

There was also video footage early on Tuesday of Junior Messias arriving for a medical at Milan, the 30-year-old apparently poised to sign on loan from Crotone.

Croatia international Nikola Vlasic has secured his move to West Ham from CSKA Moscow for a fee said to be worth £25m. His arrival would appear to cast doubt on any further bid from the Hammers for Jesse Lingard, who impressed on loan last season.

Brighton and Hove Albion have also been active, signing Getafe left-back Marc Cucurella – formerly of Barca – after the Seagulls matched his €18m (£15.5m) release clause.

Leicester City are said to be exploring the opportunity to bring in Ademola Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig, while Odsonne Eduoard is close to a move to Crystal Palace from Celtic.

Spurs and Arsenal still active – but will Chelsea spend again?

Tottenham are expected to complete a deal for Barca's Emerson Royal for around £25.8m (€30m). That sale could give Barca just a little leg room when it comes to pursuing the striker Koeman wants.

There are also likely to be changes at Arsenal. With Hector Bellerin tipped to sign for Real Betis on loan, the Gunners are said to be close to signing Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna.

Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson could be on the verge of a loan move to Feyenoord, who had agreed to sign Amad Diallo from Manchester United for the rest of the season until the winger suffered a thigh injury.

Chelsea have already spent huge money on Romelu Lukaku, but it remains to be seen whether a loan for Saul Niguez or a permanent deal for Jules Kounde could be concluded.

With Kylian Mbappe staying put, Real Madrid are looking elsewhere in France. 

Los Blancos have their sights set on an even younger talent. 

Teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga could be on the move from Rennes.

 

TOP STORY – CAVAMINGA TO REAL MADRID

In the final hours before the transfer window closes, Eduardo Camavinga appears poised for a long-rumoured departure from Rennes. 

The 18-year-old France international will join Real Madrid in a €31million deal, Fabrizio Romano reports, with Goal saying he will get a five-year deal.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United also were interested in the midfielder. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham have finalised a £26m (€30m) deal with Barcelona for Emerson Royal, who will sign a five-year deal according to Romano. 

- Emerson's departure will prompt Barca to bid for Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, Mundo Deportivo reports. 

- Sampdoria's Denmark international Mikkel Damsgaard is drawing late interest from Spurs, Liverpool and Milan, according to the Daily Star. 

- Leeds United have discussed a loan deal and a permanent move for Dan James with Manchester United, ESPN says. The Guardian says he is set for a £24m switch.

- Odsonne Edouard will sign with Crystal Palace after Celtic agreed a deal for around £16m, reports Romano.

- Real Sociedad and Getafe are bidding for Milan's Samu Castillejo, Calciomercato reports. 

- Steven N'Zonzi could be leaving Roma for Marseille or Lille, says Foot Mercato. 

Tottenham are top of the Premier League while Arsenal sit bottom for the first time in top-flight history.

Son Heung-min's free-kick sunk Watford 1-0 on Sunday and maintained Spurs' perfect record after three matches – the first time they have opened a campaign with three consecutive wins without conceding.

Son's strike on his 200th top-flight appearance also meant Nuno Espirito Santo's men became the second team in Premier League history to open a season with a trio of 1-0 wins.

Contrastingly, Arsenal are winless and goalless after three games for the first time ever, Manchester City crushing Mikel Arteta's side 5-0 on Saturday.

That loss extended the Gunners' top-flight losing run to nine against City, their outright longest-ever run of consecutive defeats against an opponent in their league history.

Indeed, Arsenal are just the second team after Wolves in 2003-04 to lose their first three games and have a goal difference of -9 – a season in which Wolves finished bottom of the table.

Arteta remains in search of a much-needed first win after the international break against Norwich City, while Spurs travel to Crystal Palace as they look to maintain their perfect start.

Kylian Mbappe is dominating headlines amid Real Madrid's pursuit.

Madrid are keen to prise Mbappe to the LaLiga club, though Paris Saint-Germain are in no hurry to part with the soon-to-be free agent.

Due to PSG's tough stance, Madrid could back out of negotiations.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID GIVE PSG ULTIMATUM

Real Madrid could walk away from their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Le Parisien.

While Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season, Madrid have been attempting to prise the Frenchman from PSG before the transfer window shuts.

The report claims Madrid will walk away from negotiations if a deal is not completed by Sunday.

There has been talk that PSG could target Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland as a replacement for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez has agreed to sign a new contract with Inter, per Gianluca Di Marzio. Out of contract in 2023, the Argentina international – linked with the likes of Barcelona, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United – will re-sign for four to five years at €6million per season.

Willian will join Corinthians on a free transfer after Arsenal granted his release, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also claims Feyenoord are close to bringing United sensation Amad Diallo to the Eredivisie club on loan.

- Widespread reports say Moise Kean is set to undergo a medical at Juventus as he gears up to join from Everton. It comes as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to return to United. Juve are also eyeing PSG forward Mauro Icardi.

Dortmund are working on a loan deal for Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi, according to Sky Germany. Hudson-Odoi has long been coveted by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Dortmund are also looking to bring in United full-back Diogo Dalot.

Chelsea are nearing a transfer that will see Jules Kounde arrive from Sevilla after Kurt Zouma departed for West Ham, reports Goal. Chelsea are also reportedly still targeting Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who is wanted by United.

Dusan Vlahovic confirmed he is staying at Serie A outfit Fiorentina, despite "top proposals" from clubs across Europe.

Vlahovic enjoyed a breakout season in 2020-21, scoring 21 Serie A goals, and his exploits have sparked reported interest from Premier League champions Manchester City and LaLiga holders Atletico Madrid as well as Arsenal, Tottenham and Inter.

Contracted to Fiorentina until 2023 with a value around €70-80million (£59-68m), Vlahovic opened his Serie A account for 2021-22 with a fine header in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Torino.

Afterwards, the 21-year-old Serbia international pledged his commitment to Fiorentina for at least one more campaign.

"I've received top proposals this summer, really big also for the club but I was never pushing to leave," Vlahovic told Sky Sport.

"I wanted to stay at Fiorentina… and I'm staying, yes."

"The whole stadium was signing my name, I’ve been dreaming something like this since I was a child, I am so thrilled," Vlahovic told DAZN.

"I think I am on the right path, but I need to work hard with humility and determination. I am focused and I can’' think to have already achieved something big, it would be a mistake. There will be highs and lows, but I will give my all for myself, the club, the city and the coach."

Vlahovic is one of only five players to score 18-plus goals in the top five European leagues in 2021, alongside Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (29), Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi (23), RB Leipzig forward Andre Silva (20) and Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland (20).

"I don't like comparisons," Vlahovic said amid Haaland comparisons. "Haaland has been scoring 10 Champions League goals for three seasons.

"I hope I can meet him one day, but I must only work on my capabilities for now. Surely, I am watching the best strikers out there."

Paris Saint-Germain have lined up several options to replace Kylian Mbappe.

A deal with Real Madrid could create a domino effect. 

Who might be on the move to PSG?

 

TOP STORY – PSG LINE UP MBAPPE REPLACEMENTS

Paris Saint-Germain do not plan to let Kylian Mbappe go to Real Madrid this transfer window without replacing him. 

The French giants have their eyes on multiple players should Los Blancos' reported €180million bid for the striker succeed. 

Two Brazilians currently in the Premier League top the list, as Globo Esporte says PSG want Gabriel Jesus – though Pep Guardiola said he does not expect any more departures from Manchester City. 

PSG also reportedly are weighing up a bid for Everton's Richarlison, says ESPN Brasil. 

And though all indications have been that Erling Haaland will stay put with Borussia Dortmund, the Star says PSG could make another bid if Mbappe departs. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Jules Kounde is ready to move from Sevilla to Chelsea, says Sky Sports News, but the Blues are balking at the Spanish club's €80m asking price and are prepared to offer only about €50m.

- Everton are closing in on a swap deal that would send James Rodriguez to Porto with Luis Diaz joining the Toffees, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles could also be on the move to Everton, reports Sky Sports News, who say the Premier League side have also asked Celtic about Odsonne Edouard

- Meanwhile, Juventus are in talks with Everton about a deal for Moise Kean, who has become their top priority with Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, says Romano.

- Roma could make a move for Atletico Madrid's Hector Herrera, according to Calciomercato. 

- Aston Villa are weighing a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel, reports Tuttosport. 

- Atalanta have their eyes on AZ Alkmaar's Teun Koopmeiners, says Calciomercato. 

Mikel Arteta has been delighted with the attitude shown by his Arsenal players despite a tough start to the new season.

Arsenal are without a point or even a goal in the Premier League, the first time they have lost their first two league matches without scoring in their history.

But a trip to West Brom in the EFL Cup on Wednesday boosted confidence as Arsenal ran out 6-0 winners, led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick.

Aubameyang also created a goal for Nicolas Pepe, who in turn assisted Alexandre Lacazette, while Bukayo Saka was also on target.

It was the biggest win of Arteta's coaching career, with Arsenal not previously scoring six in a game since 2017.

Asked by Sky Sports what pleased him most, Arteta – whose side host AFC Wimbledon in round three – replied: "The attitude that the team had, right from the beginning, right from the warm-up, the way that they've been working, the togetherness that there is around the team.

"We're all disappointed that we haven't won any of the two games in the Premier League, but [I am happy with] the attitude of the players and how together they are.

"When you lose, the most important thing is to win the next match.

"As quick as possible, win, get some confidence, get a clean sheet, score some good goals – players that needed goals, as well, players that needed minutes. In general, it was a very positive night."

Aubameyang was perhaps one of those who needed goals, netting his third hat-trick for the Gunners having had his start to the season disrupted by coronavirus.

Back in the XI and back on form, Aubameyang also praised Arsenal's attitude, saying: "It's a great feeling. I'm just happy that today we won this game.

"This is good to build the confidence of the team. We know we had a tough start to the season, but the only thing I can say is the commitment of the players is always there 100 per cent.

"We will try to give our best, to give the fans what they want, winning games and that's it."

Aaron Ramsdale debuted for Arsenal, making four saves, while there was a second bow for Martin Odegaard, who assisted Saka's strike.

The idea of further signings was put to Arteta, who said: "I don't know what will happen. There's still a few days to go – we have some exits, as well, planned – so we will see."

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham will all face fellow Premier League sides in the third round of the EFL Cup.

Those top sides in European action will enter the competition in the next stage, including holders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's men will face Wycombe Wanderers at home, but several of their top-flight title rivals have more testing tasks on paper.

Neighbours United will host West Ham, while Chelsea welcome Aston Villa following their 6-0 win at Barrow.

Liverpool are on the road at Norwich City, where they have already won 3-0 this season.

Tottenham head to Wolves – a fixture they have played in the league, too – as Nuno Espirito Santo again goes back to his former club.

Having missed out on Europe, Arsenal entered in the second round but thrashed West Brom 6-0 and were rewarded with a home tie against AFC Wimbledon.

EFL Cup third round draw in full:

QPR v Everton
Preston North End v Cheltenham Town
Manchester United v West Ham
Fulham v Leeds United
Brentford v Oldham Athletic
Watford v Stoke City
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Wigan Athletic v Sunderland
Norwich City v Liverpool
Burnley v Rochdale
Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon
Sheffield United v Southampton
Manchester City v Wycombe Wanderers
Millwall v Leicester City
Wolves v Tottenham
Brighton and Hove Albion v Swansea City

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick led Arsenal to their first win of the new season as West Brom were thrashed 6-0 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

The Gunners have endured a difficult start to the Premier League campaign, losing to Brentford and Chelsea in succession and increasing pressure on Mikel Arteta.

But the Arsenal manager was rewarded for naming a strong XI at the Hawthorns, where West Brom changed their entire line-up.

Aubameyang scored twice and created a third for Nicolas Pepe in the first half, then completed his treble in style either side of strikes from Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette after the restart.

West Brom enjoyed flurries early in either half but were largely on the back foot and trailed when Saka's shot was spilled at the feet of Aubameyang.

Martin Odegaard then hit the post from a tight angle, but Aubameyang was on hand again when Arsenal next hit the woodwork, profiting on the rebound from Pepe's attempt.

Aubameyang turned provider for Pepe when Alex Palmer blocked his route to goal, before Saka added a popular fourth from Odegaard's flick.

A glorious curling effort from Aubameyang found the top-right corner to cap a fine individual outing, and Arteta introduced Lacazette to get in on the act, arrowing in a cutback from Pepe, who had moments earlier chipped against the crossbar.

 

What does it mean? Some Arsenal respite at last

For the first time in their history, Arsenal have started a league season with back-to-back defeats without scoring. With Manchester City up next, they badly needed a positive result and a positive performance.

Arteta got both, with the Gunners certainly not lacking a goal threat, scoring six in a match for the first time since 2017 against BATE Borisov.

Captain proves his class

Aubameyang endured his most difficult season in an Arsenal shirt last time out, scoring 15 goals across 39 games – just shy of half his tally from the previous campaign.

But there is no doubt the striker has been missed in the early stages of this season after contracting coronavirus, the Gunners having had 22 attempts without scoring against Brentford.

There were no such issues on Wednesday as Aubameyang scored with three of his four shots and provided an assist following the fourth.

Ramsdale still worked

Debutant Aaron Ramsdale would have enjoyed his first Arsenal outing, keeping a clean sheet while still making four saves.

He required treatment for an apparent shoulder injury in the second half but was passed fit to see out a triumphant bow.

What's next?

Arsenal will face a far tougher test when they go to Manchester City on Saturday, while West Brom head to Peterborough United later the same day.

Granit Xhaka is happy to be staying at 'home' after confirming he has signed a new contract with Arsenal.

Xhaka's previous deal was due to expire in 2023 but he has reportedly agreed to remain at the Premier League club for an extra year, with the option of a further extension until 2025.

The Gunners captain, who was heavily linked with a move to Roma during the offseason, admitted his delight in a post on Instagram.

"Home is where the heart is - really proud to extend my stay at Arsenal," Xhaka wrote to accompany a picture of him signing the contract.

Mikel Arteta's side are yet to announce the news officially, though the club's website has referenced the extension and Arsenal owners Stan and Josh Kroenke also revealed the news in the programme notes before the home game against Chelsea on Sunday.

Xhaka was a regular last term, with only Bukayo Saka (46) appearing more times among Arsenal midfielders.

The 28-year-old started 42 times, provided two assists and created 20 chances in total, while also adding a goal of his own with a free-kick against Chelsea.

Xhaka recorded a passing accuracy of 89.89 per cent, with only Mohamed Elneny (92.08) and Martin Odegaard (90.38) bettering his success rate.

The Switzerland international led the way in terms of recoveries, regaining possession 281 times and making 74 tackles – ranking him first for both aspects among midfield team-mates.

Could the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga be nearing a conclusion?

Long linked with Real Madrid, Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain's attempts to re-sign Mbappe have been fruitless up until this point and the Ligue 1 giants are reportedly willing to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE NEARING MADRID?

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to accept an offer for Kylian Mbappe should one arrive from Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window, according to RMC.

PSG have been fighting to re-sign Mbappe, who is in the final year of his current deal in the French capital.

However, PSG have reportedly accepted defeat in their efforts to retain Mbappe beyond the 2021-22 season as Madrid look to lure the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Premier League pair Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror writes United are prepared to offer cash plus a player-swap – believed to be Jesse Lingard – to sign West Ham's Declan Rice.

- Atletico Madrid are closing in on a deal to sign Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, says Fabrizio Romano. LaLiga champions Atletico had been linked with Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic – also wanted by the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Inter and Arsenal – but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Tottenham are preparing a £40million bid to reunite Nuno Espirito Santo with Wolves star Adama Traore.

Napoli are eyeing unwanted Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic, per Correire dello Sport. Pjanic had looked set to return to Juventus.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira will move to Fiorentina after turning down Eintracht Frankfurt, according to Romano.

Chelsea are continuing to eye Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, claims Romano. The Frenchman is ready to swap Seville for London after agreeing personal terms on a deal until June 2026.

- Inter are monitoring Torino star Andrea Belotti as they seek to replace Romelu Lukaku, says Calciomercato. The Serie A champions have also been linked to Lazio forward Joaquin Correa.

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