Here are the Arsenal evening headlines for Friday, February 19.
Pires opens up on Arsenal decision
“Arsene already wanted me when I was playing for FC Metz when he was coach of AS Monaco. What you need to know is that at that point I had the choice between Real Madrid, Juventus and Arsenal. But Arsene convinced me [to choose Arsenal],” Pires told 90min France.
“With him I knew I was going to play and for me that was the most important.”
Pires went on to rack up more than 200 appearances for the Gunners, becoming one of the Invincibles.
Guardiola offers injury update ahead of Arsenal clash
Pep Guardiola has provided an injury update on Nathan Ake and Ilkay Gundogan ahead of his side’s clash with Arsenal.
Manchester City will attempt to continue their fine form and dominance in the Premier League against the Gunners on Sunday, and ahead of the game, they could welcome back key midfielder Gundogan, though Ake is unlikely to feature.
“Nathan is back training on the pitch alone, but he’s closer to coming back with us,” said Guardiola in his press conference on Friday.
“Ilkay trained part of the training session today, we’ll see tomorrow how he feels. The rest are fit.”
Gundogan missed Man City’s win over Everton during the week, while Ake has been out since December.
Arsenal learn Real Madrid stance on duo
Real Madrid have a firm stance on Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard amid Arsenal’s potential bid to land the pair on permanent deals.
Arteta is clearly a fan of Ceballos, bringing the midfielder back for a second season on loan, and there is already talk the Gunners could attempt to sign him permanently.
Ceballos could well be available, too, with Sport reporting Real Madrid are willing to ‘listen to offers’ for the midfielder this summer, opening the door for a permanent move to Arsenal.
So, what about Odegaard? The 22-year-old might be early in his time at the Emirates Stadium, but fans will already be keen to see the Gunners make a move to sign him permanently from what they saw on Thursday night.
But a deal is not on the cards, according to Sport, who say Real Madrid are not willing to allow a permanent deal, keen for Odegaard to return ahead of next season, as he did following his impressive spell with Real Sociedad last term.