Here are your Arsenal evening headlines for Thursday, March 4.
Arteta makes Spurs admission
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that Spurs will have a slight boost ahead of the North London derby due to Uefa’s decision to reverse the date of their Europa League home and away ties against Dinamo Zagreb.
The decision means that Spurs will have the added bonus of not having to make a 4,000 mile round trip during midweek before the derby against Arsenal, and Arteta says it does give Jose Mourinho’s side an advantage.
“It does,” he said when asked if it gives Spurs an edge.
“But unfortunately we’re not going to change that. We can raise our voices and we should do that, because we want to have at least two teams that are in equal conditions.
“But the decision has been made and that’s it. I don’t want to use one bit of an excuse going towards that game saying ‘ah they have an advantage’.
“So, no probably I will use that to take it into our hands.”
Ibrahima Konate transfer hint
Arsenal have already been given a boost in their attempts to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. The Gunners are one of several clubs across Europe interested in signing the 21-year-old ahead of the summer transfer window.
Having offloaded Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis in January, the report states that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta could lose several more central defenders in the summer amid talk of David Luiz, Calum Chambers, and Dinos Mavropanos all leaving.
Therefore, it would appear he wants to sign Konate in order to increase his options that could include Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, and William Saliba at the start of next season.
And the chances of Konate leaving RB Leipzig in the summer seem pretty high after the club’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff revealed in January that their future transfer business hinges on further player sales.
Arsenal are understood to be eyeing an exit for Alexandre Lacazette this summer while they can still recoup a fee for the French striker.
One replacement that has been linked is Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard, but there is already an option at the Gunners who could save them millions should they decide not to go for the 21-year-old.
Folarin Balogun is still going through contract negotiations with the club, but a new deal for the young striker would be far cheaper than splashing out the reported £21.5million Celtic are searching for to part ways with Edouard.
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There are reports that Balogun’s wage demands are in the region of £40,000 per week, which is very high for a player who is still yet to start a senior game in his career.
There is little to suggest any validity to these exorbitant claims football.london understands, but if Arsenal were seen to be offering these sorts of wages to young players then future Hale End graduates would be within their rights to demand similar salaries in contract negotiations going forward.
But Arteta admits that keeping young stars is something the club need to be doing to keep traditions alive.
“[Edu has] been spending a lot of time and energy to try and make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house,” he said.