Arsenal are set for a shake-up after missing out on European football for the first time in 26 years.

Mikel Arteta's side started the new Premier League campaign slowly.

But three wins in a row have offered hope and rumours are swirling about transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL PLOT SWAP FOR EN-NESYRI

Arsenal will offer Alexandre Lacazette as part of a deal to land Youssef En-Nesyri from Sevilla, according to La Razon.

Morocco international forward En-Nesyri has sparked Arsenal's interest after netting 24 goals in all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

Lacazette has only made one league appearance for the Gunners this term and was reportedly shipped around during the off-season.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano reports Lorenzo Pellegrini is set to sign a new long-term contract with Roma, which will remove his €30million release clause. Pellegrini was previously pursued by Liverpool and Tottenham.

– Liverpool scouts kept a close eye on Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma at Wednesday's Champions League game against Manchester United as they plan for Sadio Mane's successor, claims the Daily Mirror.

– Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio remains in Arsenal's sights, reports the Daily Star.

Inter are not considering signing Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, with Ajax's Andre Onana their preferred acquisition, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says there "is no clear reason" why he was dropped by Mikel Arteta in favour of Aaron Ramsdale.

Germany international Leno started Arsenal's opening three Premier League games of the campaign, conceding nine goals in defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Ramsdale, who was signed from Sheffield United last month for a fee that could reportedly rise to £30million, was brought into the side following the 5-0 loss against City.

The 23-year-old kept clean sheets in his first two games against Norwich City and Burnley before shipping one late on in Sunday's 3-1 win against Arsenal's bitter rivals Tottenham.

Not only does Ramsdale boast a better clean sheet record than Leno from the same number of league games this term, he also has a far higher save percentage (87.5 compared to 50).

That save percentage rises to 91.67 when taking all competitions into account, the second-best return of any keeper to have played at least three times for a team in Europe's top five leagues, behind only Paris Saint-Germain's Gianluigi Donnarumma (92.86).

Despite Ramsdale's steady presence between the sticks, though, Leno feels Arteta's decision to leave him out of the side was unjustified.

"There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance," he told Bild. "He is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it's difficult for me."

Leno is in his fourth season with Arsenal since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen but has been linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium next year.

Serie A champions Inter are reported to be keeping tabs on Leno's situation and the 29-year-old may consider a move away should his playing time not improve.

"London is very nice; Milan is not bad either and closer to my home Stuttgart," Leno said when asked about the rumoured interest from Inter.

"But I'm not seriously thinking about that yet. I feel comfortable at Arsenal and in London.

"Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue? 

"But I'm concentrating on my work in training; I can't commit to anything else at the moment."

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's response to their poor start and warned there must be no let-up as they travel to Burnley on Saturday.

Arsenal avoided an unwanted club record of four defeats in their first four Premier League games thanks to a 1-0 win over Norwich City last weekend, scoring their first top-flight goal of the season.

Arteta's side now look ahead to Burnley, who they are unbeaten against in their last nine away league games, their last defeat at Turf Moor coming in 1973.

The Gunners manager is full of confidence following the learning curve that he has experienced at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

"The boys were happy because we experienced a reaction of the fans towards the team and winning the first match, getting out of the blocks in the Premier League, it was a big part of our next moment," Arteta told a news conference.

"Now we have to put a run together and we know how much we need the results and the performances will lead to that.

"The way that everybody around me responded is the way that I responded and that's why it has been fine. It's tough because you want to see something different.

"But what you want is not always what happens. Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it is going to be really good for the club. Now we have to believe.

 

"I can really see the light. I'm telling you I'm very positive most of the time. I've seen the light and I can see bright lights. There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light."

Arsenal also opted to utilise new goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale against Norwich after signing him from Sheffield United in the transfer window, leaving Bernd Leno on the bench.

Indeed, Ramsdale has kept a clean sheet in both of his appearances so far in all competitions and he could become the first Arsenal goalkeeper since Wojciech Szczesny in 2010 to record a trio of shutouts in his first three starts.

Leno's demotion to the bench in recent weeks has led to reports that the Germany goalkeeper is unsettled, but Arteta assured that the competition is healthy.

"Aaron [Ramsdale] has come here to try to make us better and I decided to play him on the day, that's all," Arteta said.

"It is the same in every position. We want them to make each other better. We are competing against our opponents, we are not competing against each other here.

"We are trying to raise the level of the team and the level of the club.

"Bernd [Leno] should be disappointed, and he should support his team-mates as they all have with him. That's exactly what he's done."

Bernd Leno's future at Emirates Stadium is up in the air.

Aaron Ramsdale's arrival, on a deal that could reach a reported £30million, put Leno's first-choice position in jeopardy.

The 29-year-old German joined Arsenal in 2018 and has been number one since.

TOP STORY - ARSENAL CONSIDERS LENO SALE

Arsenal are contemplating selling German goalkeeper Leno next year following Ramsdale's arrival, claims the Daily Mail.

Ramsdale was selected ahead of Leno in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday after the German had an indifferent start to the season

The report claims there is little chance Arsenal will sell Leno in January but that the Gunners signed Ramsdale believing he may usurp the German by the end of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP

- As Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid circle, Paul Pogba is leaning towards extending his stay with Manchester United claims The Athletic. The report cites Cristiano Ronaldo's impact at United on Pogba's thinking.

- West Ham United have placed a £100 million price tag on in-demand Declan Rice with  Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all jostling for his signature according to Football.London.

- French midfielder Thomas Lemar is expendable following Antoine Griezmann's arrival and could be sold by Spanish champions Atletico Madrid claims Todo Fichajes. Atletico wants to raise transfer funds to bolster their squad.

- Football Insider claims that Bayern Munich are already working on signing Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner next year, with a January move not ruled out.

- Chelsea will open talks with England international midfielder Mason Mount on a new long-term deal according to 90min.

- Arsenal target Houssem Aouar will not leave Olympique Lyon mid-season reports Todo Fichajes.

Mikel Arteta hinted Aaron Ramsdale may retain his place in Arsenal's starting XI over Bernd Leno after keeping a clean sheet on his Premier League debut for the Gunners.

Arsenal shelled out for a deal that could reach a reported £30million to prise goalkeeper Ramsdale from relegated Sheffield United during the last transfer window.

Leno had the jersey for the opening three league matches of the season, which saw Arsenal beaten by Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City without scoring a goal.

Ramsdale came into the fold for Saturday's 1-0 win over Norwich City and put in an assured display, albeit he was rarely tested by a Canaries side that managed a solitary shot on target.

Since Leno joined Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, the German has a slightly better save percentage than Ramsdale (70.87 to 68.59) and, as you would probably expect, has more clean sheets with 24 to 11.

Leno has made more errors leading to goals (eight to three), while per 90 minutes he makes fewer saves (3.17 to 3.64) – although again given Ramsdale was previously representing Bournemouth and the Blades this is perhaps to be expected.

Bigger tests lie in wait for Ramsdale than a shot-shy Norwich but Arsenal boss Arteta appeared to suggest the spot is his to lose.

"He was terrific, not only what he did on the technical side but what he transmits, his chemistry with the back line, his body language. It was top,' said Arteta.

"We have two fantastic keepers, I had to make a decision and it was the right one.

"I want to see how they perform, we need performances. Whoever is more reliable is going to play."

Mikel Arteta accepted a 2-1 defeat was the best outcome Arsenal could have hoped for after a performance of two vastly contrasting halves against Villarreal on Thursday.

The Spanish side will take a slender lead into the second leg of the Europa League semi-final next week, though the margin between the teams could have been far greater at the halfway stage of the contest.

Manu Trigueros and Raul Albiol scored as Unai Emery's side threatened to overrun his former employers in the first half, yet the Gunners came out a different side after the interval.

Despite the dismissal of Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka won a penalty that Nicolas Pepe converted to cut the deficit in the 73rd minute.

Villarreal then had Etienne Capoue dismissed before the returning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a chance to equalise in added time, only to be denied by home goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.

"We didn't want to come here and lose, but after the way the game developed, and being 2-0 down with 10 men, you have to take the result," Arteta told BT Sport.

"If you have to lose, this is the best result that we could have. But two different halves."

Asked what had led to the change in his team after the break, he replied: "We started to be us. In the first half, there were so many moments when we weren't us.

"We were disorganised, we started to chase, were not precise enough with the ball nor occupying the right spaces, we didn't have enough control.

"We didn't carry enough threat, or have the right desire to attack the opponents' box. In the second half it was completely different."

Arsenal were indebted to a fine save from goalkeeper Bernd Leno when the score was at 2-0, the German denying Gerard Moreno.

So, while Emery became the first ex-Arsenal boss to beat the Gunners since George Graham's Tottenham side won 2-1 at White Hart Lane in November 1999, the tie is firmly in the balance ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium.

Villarreal have progressed from 15 of their 16 two-legged ties in major European competitions when winning the first leg – the only exception coming in the 2015-16 Europa League semi-final, when they went out to Liverpool despite winning the first meeting.

On Leno's save from Moreno, Arteta said: "He was very good when we needed him at 2-0. The chance with Gerard is probably the biggest one they had.

"He saved us, but then at the end we had a big chance with Auba and we weren't able to get it in."

Mikel Arteta claimed fan protests against Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke did not play on the minds of his players during an 1-0 defeat to Everton on Friday.

Over a thousand Arsenal supporters gathered outside Emirates Stadium to voice their dissent at Kroenke's role in the failed European Super League breakaway project.

Arsenal were one of the 12 founding members of the competition before they withdrew on Tuesday, apologising in an open letter to fans.

Arteta revealed his team had arrived early to avoid the protests, but they produced a meek display on the pitch as Bernd Leno's calamitous own goal handed Everton the points.

It was Arsenal's first Premier League defeat at home to Everton since January 1996, ending a 24-game unbeaten run against the Toffees at the Emirates or Old Trafford.

"No, no," Arteta told a media conference when asked if the defeat could be put down to the protests.

"We knew that was happening and we knew our fans wanted to express our feelings. We made our preparations with that in mind and that's not an excuse

"We got inside the stadium [early]. Obviously, the players know what is happening, they are all connected to social media. We let them know the reasons why they [the fans] were outside.

"I am desperate to have [the fans] back because we really need them. We have a really young team who has to experience the emotion, security and trust when you feel your people really behind you."

Arteta urged Arsenal's board and fans to rebuild their relationship, but did not address questions related to calls for Kroenke to go.

"Well I think it's a relationship that has to come together from both parties," Arteta added.

"Some probably giving some opportunities and the other ones showing that they want to be closer to them. I talk about what my experience is and what my relationship is and how involved they are.

"Now the biggest challenge is to get them in the stadium as quick as possible, and show that passion, togetherness and unity with the team because the team is desperate for them to be closer to us."

The Gunners have now lost seven games on their own turf in the Premier League this season – their most home defeats in a league campaign since 1992-93 (also seven).

They have also failed to score in eight Premier League games at home this season, twice as many as in the previous four campaigns combined.

Arteta described Arsenal's home form as "terrible" and "unacceptable" but criticised a VAR decision to overrule the award of a penalty earlier in the game.

Arsenal were awarded a spot-kick when Dani Ceballos went down in the box after a slight touch from Richarlison, but VAR deemed Nicolas Pepe was in an offside position in the build-up.

"This has been building up. Enough is enough. Today I had enough," Arteta said of the decision.

"We've had many of them that no-one explains. It affects a lot of people, our job and most important our football club."

Arteta added in an interview with Sky Sports: "To disallow a penalty 15 seconds before eight or nine touches [after Nicolas Pepe was offside] – I saw it 10 times and I don't get it.

"It can be taken the way they want. Zero control. Somebody has to explain that.

"We were the better team. We lacked some clear-cut chances and the edge in the final third. They are very well organised but we conceded the goal in the wrong moment and when we had the penalty but it wasn't given."

Everton boosted their hopes of a top-four finish and a place in next season's Champions League as Bernd Leno's own goal gave them a 1-0 win at Arsenal.

In a low-key Premier League encounter, the result was settled by a mistake from goalkeeper Leno when he allowed Richarlison's cross through his legs and diverted it into the net.

Arsenal had earlier seen a penalty chalked off after a VAR check for offside while Dani Ceballos brought a good save out of Jordan Pickford.

Everton's victory was their first in 25 league attempts (lost 20, drawn four) at Arsenal since a 2-1 win at the north London giants' former home Highbury in January 1996.

Arsenal fans protested outside Emirates Stadium against owner Stan Kroenke's role in the failed European Super League, and the first half lacked intensity.

The Gunners had the first meaningful attempt on goal when Bukayo Saka latched on to the ball in the box but saw his low effort comfortably saved by Pickford.

It was Everton who enjoyed the better of the remainder of the first half and Richarlison went close on the half hour after he shrugged off Pablo Mari, and Leno dived to beat away his shot across goal.

Gylfi Sigurdsson rattled the crossbar with a spectacular curling free-kick moments before half-time, and only a last-ditch block from home defender Rob Holding denied the Iceland international just after the break.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty when Dani Ceballos went down in the box after a kick from Richarlison, but VAR deemed Nicolas Pepe was in an offside position in the build-up and the spot-kick was overruled.

Mason Holgate's miscued clearance from Calum Chambers' low cross caused Pickford minor alarm, before Ceballos stung the palms of the Everton goalkeeper with a long-range effort.

The key moment came with 14 minutes left when Leno kneeled down to scoop up Richarlison's low cross, but he instead allowed the ball to squirm through his legs and directed it into the net.

Everton were indebted to Pickford for the points after a fine low diving stop in injury time to deny Arsenal substitute Gabriel Martinelli.

Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun is "very close" to signing a new contract, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

The 19-year-old England youth international had looked likely to leave the Gunners at the end of the season on a free transfer after struggling to break into the senior squad on a regular basis.

However, talks over a new deal appear to have progressed well and Arteta believes the player will commit his future to the north London club.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: "We are going to make it official when it is official and everything is done, but as I said before, I have always been very positive that he wants to stay at the club. We want him to stay at the club. We are very close."

Balogun has scored 55 goals in 78 appearances for Arsenal in youth-league competition and netted for the senior side in Europa League group-stage wins over Molde and Dundalk.

Arteta now wants to explore why he was considering pursuing his career elsewhere.

"First of all, I have just been trying to understand why he got to the point that he was really thinking about leaving the football club after being raised here and the feelings that he has got towards the club," he said.

"Once you understand the position of him, then [you] try to explain what you want to do, how involved he is going to be in the project and how. Then get the full commitment and support from the club, and [technical director] Edu, who I think has done an incredible job as well."

On the pitch, Arsenal's focus is now on Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague, who scored an injury-time equaliser to force a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.

Given they are ninth in the Premier League table, their best hope of returning to Europe next season would appear to be through winning the Europa League this term.

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno admits it is difficult to conceive of a club of Arsenal's size missing out on continental competition entirely.

"You could see after the game how disappointed we've been. But it's still half-time. You could see how big this game was for us, and tomorrow even more," he said.

"When you think about the future without Arsenal in European competition, it doesn't feel right. Our job is to make sure it doesn't come true. Arsenal belong to Europe, and that's our target.

"It's never easy when you change the defence all the time, but it's not an excuse. We have so many games, we have to rotate, we had some injuries. The other teams also changed their defensive line.

"Everybody knows what to do. We have a big squad, good quality. It's not only the defence and the relationship with the goalkeeper; it's the whole team that defends the goal."

Mikel Arteta saw Arsenal scrape through to the Europa League quarter-finals and warned the demise of Tottenham shows there are no formalities in knockout football.

Arsenal took charge of their last-16 tie with Olympiacos in Greece last week by opening up a 3-1 advantage, but a 1-0 defeat at Emirates Stadium on Thursday made for a rockier than expected route through to the final eight.

Gunners manager Arteta said Arsenal were "nowhere near" the required level and did not hide behind the fact his team avoided the same fate as their north London rivals, with Tottenham given a shock 3-0 hiding by Dinamo Zagreb to perish 3-2 on aggregate.

Speaking about Tottenham's miserable fate in the competition, Arteta – whose side lost three consecutive home matches in European competition for the first time in their history – said: "It shows as well the level of opposition, that people take for granted that you play against an opponent and you will go through, because of the name of the club that they represent.

"It is not like that, every team in Europe is difficult to beat."

Arteta only found solace in the fact Arsenal – who reached the quarter-finals of the competition for the fourth time in their last five campaigns – avoided Europa League elimination.

"If I have to evaluate the performance with what we've done today, with the ball in particular, then it's nowhere near the standards we have set for ourselves," Arteta said.

"We made it really difficult because we didn't have any stability when you give the amount of balls away that we have in the game.

"When that happens, you don't have the control to manage the tie in the way that we should have done and that's related to the amount of chances we missed again."

Tricky opposition will await Arsenal in the quarter-finals, with this competition particularly important given that winning it represents their only realistic path into next season's Champions League.

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Roma, Villarreal and Ajax are among the sides to have made the last eight.

Arsenal's dressing room was a quiet place after the game, goalkeeper Bernd Leno said.

Leno told Arsenal Media: "Everybody knows that it was not a good performance from us. We cannot change it anymore but the positive thing is that it was a warning. We need to be 100 per cent every game. If we play like today then we won't reach anything this season.

"This is probably the closest way to go to the Champions League and also to win a big European trophy so we need to step up."

Arteta, meanwhile, said Arsenal would not rush to pull Bukayo Saka out of the England squad for the World Cup qualifying games at the end of the month.

The young winger missed Thursday's fixture with a muscle injury but may have a chance of facing West Ham on Sunday, and if he misses out then Arsenal will consult with the England camp.

Mikel Arteta questioned the decision to send off David Luiz after the defender was one of two Arsenal players to be dismissed in a 2-1 defeat at Wolves.

Arsenal appeared set to go in at half-time deservedly ahead following Nicolas Pepe's opener, only for David Luiz to concede a penalty following a challenge on Willian Jose.

The Brazilian centre-back was shown a red card by referee Craig Pawson following a VAR check, though Arteta insisted he could not see any contact after studying replays of the incident.

Ruben Neves converted from the spot before Joao Moutinho's long-range strike put the hosts ahead shortly after the break, with any hopes of a fightback disappearing for Arsenal when goalkeeper Bernd Leno was given his marching orders for handling the ball outside the area.

For Arteta, though, it was the David Luiz call that left him frustrated, particularly after his side had played so well up until that crucial moment in the contest.

"First of all, I have to say that I'm proud of my team, the way we played and the way we dominated the first half," Arteta told the media.

"We should have been 3-0 or 4-0 up. We didn't do that, though, and we put ourselves in a really difficult position by conceding the goal and going a man down. 

"I have seen the replay 10 times from five different angles and I cannot see any contact. I would like to see if VAR has a different angle. I'm expecting to see something and I'm not seeing anything. 

"We were really animated at half-time because we really wanted to win the game. The boys were so convinced to go out there and have a real go. 

"We didn't concede any chances but Moutinho scores a worldie and it's 2-1. Then, when Bernd comes out and hits the ball with his hand, we're down to nine men and almost impossible to win the game."

Since making his league debut for Arsenal in August 2019, David Luiz has picked up three red cards and conceded six penalties, more than any other player in the competition in both categories.

Arteta - who has seen his team shown nine Premier League red cards since taking charge, six more than any other top-flight team - admitted the result was tough to take.

"The way we lost the game really hurts. It's painful," he said. 

"I have to take the positives as well, which is the way we played against this team that is very difficult to attack, the amount of chances we created. But we leave the ground and have zero points and have lost two important players. 

"It's hard enough to win football games in this league. There's nothing we can change. It was a big decision, if they got it right and can justify they got it right, I'll put my hand up and apologise. 

"The only thing I'm saying is that I’m sitting here and I cannot see any contact. That's really, really frustrating, because it's a big, big moment in the game."

Asked if Arsenal may issue an appeal against the red card for David Luiz, Arteta replied: "Where I’m standing now, I'd say yes – let's go straight away. But I don't know, we will have to speak to the legal team at the club and decide if it is the best thing."

Runar Alex Runarsson came on to take over from Leno in goal, with recent recruit Mat Ryan ruled out with a muscle issue. Arteta revealed he is hopeful the Australia international can be fit in time for Saturday's trip to Aston Villa.

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