2pm Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Mustafi joins Schalke, Maitland Niles and Willock loans, Diego Costa mystery bid
ARSENAL were busy on transfer deadline day as three first teamers left the club.
Shkodran Mustafi joined Schalke on a permanent deal while Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock have left on loan.
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Follow all the latest from the Emirates below…
- Josh Graham
FED TO THE WOLVES
Last time Arsenal played Wolves at Molineux, Alexandre Lacazette did the business.
- Josh Graham
LEFT IN THE LURCH
Arsenal have promoted Spanish academy left-back Joel Lopez to the first team ahead of tonight's clash with Wolves.
The Gunners are short of options in the position with Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka struggling with injuries.
- Josh Graham
MORE ON ARSENAL EUROPA LEAGUE CHAOS
If Arsenal cannot do that – the Gunners are responsible for covering all the costs of the rescheduled game – they would “be held responsible” and forfeit the game 3-0.
But with similar border restrictions facing the Gunners after the away leg, Uefa also make the same demands on Benfica for the second part of the tie.
Germany has already been proposed as a potential venue after the knock-out phase of last season’s Europa League was played there last summer.
Uefa would prefer the chosen venue to be a “Uefa-approved” stadium being used in this season’s competition.
Euro chiefs can overrule the clubs’ choice of stadium and could, if necessary, order the tie to be played as a one-off game in a neutral venue of their choosing.
- Josh Graham
Uefa have confirmed that Arsenal and Benfica must agree on neutral venues for both legs of their Europa League last 16 clash – unless the Government lifts its “red list” of countries by next Monday, REPORTS MARTIN LIPTON.
European chiefs have now issued specific regulations covering the knock-out phases of their two competitions, which begin later this month.
But with the border restrictions for the 33 red list nations – which include Portugal – having no exemptions for elite sports, Benfica’s travelling party would have to begin their ten-day hotel quarantine in the UK by Sunday.
That is infeasible, while Arsenal would also have to go into Government-approved accommodation for ten days from February 25 after the away leg of the tie.
But while Uefa state that “as a rule, matches are played at the UEFA approved venue of the home club” there is dispensation for change where “restrictions imposed by the national/local authorities could result in the match not taking place as scheduled”.
The deadline for confirming whether Arsenal can host the tie is 11pm next Monday.
Uefa ruled that Arsenal are under obligation to “propose a suitable alternative venue which may be in a neutral country” within Uefa where the match can “take place without any restrictions for both clubs”.
- Josh Graham
Arsenal have managed to save a staggering £32.8MILLION per year by offloading a handful of big-earning flops in January.
During last month's transfer window, Mikel Arteta focused primarily on trimming the fat on his mega-rich squad.
- Josh Graham
Check out Arsenal's last training session before tonight's clash with Wolves.
- Josh Graham
Mikel Arteta revealed it is 'really difficult' for Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka to face Wolves tonight.
Both the young Gunners are struggling with injury problems and despite Saka being spotted in training yesterday, tonight's game looks to have come too soon with Tierney officially ruled out.
Arteta said yesterday: "We don’t know yet [if they’ll return]. Today we’ve got a training session and they haven’t been able to train with us yet, so I think it will be really difficult for them.
“But I don’t know, we’re going to try to last-minute see how they are feeling.”
- Josh Graham
GUNNING FOR THE TOP FOUR
Mikel Arteta has set his sights firmly on a top four place for his revived Arsenal side.
The Gunners boss believes it is 'too early' to rule out his side making it into the Champions League qualification places despite sitting in tenth place.
- Josh Graham
Arsenal broke their promise to unhappy on-loan midfielder Lucas Torreira by failing to get him a new club.
The Gunners' technical director Edu vowed to fix his situation at Atletico Madrid where he has made just three starts – two of which he was hooked at half-time.
Midfielder Torreira had eyed up a return to Italy but Diego Simeone's title-chasing side blocked a move as they did not want to weaken their squad.
Edu had said previously: "For us, Lucas and his happiness is the most important thing.
"If everyone is happy, we will continue like this, if Lucas is not well, we will seek a change because there are many teams that are calling me to ask about the player’s situation.”
- Josh Graham
WHERE THERE'S A WILL
Joe Willock has joined Newcastle on loan until the end of the season to get some game time after slipping down Mikel Arteta's pecking order.
He joins Ainsley Maitland-Niles in heading out the door as the versatile England star joined relegation-threatened West Brom on deadline day.
Gunners technical director Edu explained Willock's move and said: "Joe is a talented young player and an important member of our first-team squad.
"This can be seen in the number of appearances he has made for us in recent seasons.
"At this stage of his career, we have decided together with Joe, that it will benefit his development greatly to enjoy a loan period playing regular first-team football.
"We thank our counterparts at Newcastle United for their collaboration and we wish Joe all the best with his loan move."
COMETH THE AOUAR
It was a barren transfer window for Arsenal in terms of incomings.
However the crucial sales of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi may just free up funds for key targets in the summer.
Houssem Aouar and Emi Buendia are believed to be top of the list as Mikel Arteta sets about restructuring the midfield.
And here is how we think the Gunners could line up next season.
Mikel Arteta thanked Shkodran Mustafi for his service to the club as the Arsenal defender left for Schalke.
The Gunners boss said: "Musti has been a key player for us for a long period of time.
"He played a very important part in my first season as manager and I'd like to thank him for his professionalism and for always being ready when called upon.
"Everybody at Arsenal wishes Musti well at Schalke."
OD ONE OUT?
Arsenal face a big game at Wolves tonight and here's our predicted starting XI.
We expect Martin Odegaard to have to remain patient following his loan move from Real Madrid as Emile Smith Rowe continues to flourish.
And there are no signs yet that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return from tending to his ill mother, so it could be another start for Alexandre Lacazette.
Joe Willock is heading North after agreeing a deadline day loan move to Newcastle United.
The midfielder, who has scored three goals this season, finds himself down the pecking order following the signing of Martin Odegaard and the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was also linked to Newcastle before agreeing a switch to West Brom.
BAGS OF EXPERIENCE
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has left Arsenal on loan to join West Bromwich Albion.
The Gunners utility man had been chased by four clubs – Southampton, Leicester, West Brom and Newcastle – with the Saints believed to be leading the chase.
However, the player was reported by The Athletic to have preferred a move to Leicester City.
On their part, West Brom were believed to have been firmly in last place in the race to sign Maitland-Niles.
However, once the player refused to join the Saints, as Arsenal wanted him to do, Sam Allardyce made his move.
SHKOD ONE OUT
It was a transfer window with no incomings for Arsenal, but crucially they did get high earner Shkodran Mustafi off their books.
The £30m signing was released by the Gunners in order to join Schalke 04 on a free transfer.
With Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac also shipped out in the January window, the Gunners will hope to be on a much stronger financial footing to conduct their business in the summer.
GOOD MORNING ARSENAL FANS
How are we feeling about January transfer business this morning, Gunners?
It’s been a pretty busy window in north London with most of the action being players leaving the Emirates.
Arteta has trimmed his squad significantly as he looks to turn Arsenal around.
There have been a few arrivals – with Odegaard joining on loan from Real Madrid the highlight.
They’ve also brought in Rekik from Hertha Berlin and goalkeeper Ryan on loan from Brighton.
But in terms of departures, yesterday we saw Mustafi leave for Schalke as well as Maitland-Niles (West Brom) and Willock (Newcastle) go out on loan.
It comes after the likes of Ozil, Kolasinac, Sokratis and Saliba were all shipped off earlier in the window – so it’s been quite the January clear out for Arteta’s men.
Among the deadline day frenzy it’s easy to forget that it’s a matchday. No rest for these Prem stars as another full midweek bill of action starts tonight.
For the Gunners, it’s a tricky looking clash with Wolves that kicks off at 6pm UK time at Molineux.
Stay tuned for all the build-up you need to that game this evening, and all the fallout from the January transfer window.
ARSENAL JANUARY MOVES
Here's the Gunners' final report from the January window:
Omar Rekik (Hertha Berlin), Mat Ryan (Brighton) loan, Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid) loan
Sead Kolasinac (Schalke) loan, William Saliba (Nice) loan, Daniel Ballard (Blackpool) loan extension, Matt Macey (Hibernian), Sokratis (Released), Mesut Ozil (Fenerbahce), Matt Smith (Charlton) loan, Joseph Olowu, (Wealdstone) loan, Zech Medley (Kilmarnock) loan, Shkodran Mustafi (Schalke 04), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (West Brom) loan, Joe Willock (Newcastle) loan.
KING OF CALF
Arsenal fans are going wild for Martin Odegaard's calves after training photos emerged showing his whopping muscles.
And it will surely not take long for the comparisons to be made with Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, famous for never skipping leg day.
Odegaard, 22, arrived on loan at the Emirates from Real Madrid last week.
He came on for his debut in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Saturday evening.
Arsenal face massive financial losses with executive season-ticket holders reluctant to renew their VIP deals, according to reports.
The prawn-sandwich brigade have been unable to enjoy the Emirates entertainment – and hospitality – for almost a year with matches played behind closed doors.
And with around a third of executive deals expiring, the Mail report many are opting against stumping up the cash with so much Covid-19 uncertainty ongoing.
Some income was secured by taking in payments for this season which can be used as credits in the future – although these would be refunded if fans decide against extending their tickets.
Executive seats – the posh seats in the boxes at the Emirates – make up around 15 per cent of the stadium's capacity.
However, revenue from those ticket sales account for 40 per cent of match-day income.
NICE ONE, MAIT
Arsenal loaned out-of-favour Ainsley Maitland-Niles to Premier League strugglers West Brom.
The 23-year-old has started just five top-flight games this season and is desperate for first-team football.
He agreed a loan switch until the end of the season with West Brom just before the transfer window slammed shut as he helps plot their great escape.
For the early risers out there… it's a Gunners game day.
Mikel Arteta's men face a tricky tie away at Molineux this evening at 6pm UK time.
Plenty at stake for both teams.
DEADLINE DAY RECAP
A bit quiet out there so time for a quick recap – here's the pick of the storylines from deadline day…
- Liverpool signed two centre-backs – Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies
- Dele Alli stayed at Tottenham despite interest from PSG
- Joe Willock (Newcastle) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (West Brom) both left Arsenal on loan
- No movement at Chelsea or Manchester United
- Bournemouth's Josh King joined Everton in a deal announced at 1am
- Southampton signed Takumi Minamino on loan from Liverpool in a late swoop
Premier League Covid positives have finally dropped back to pre-Christmas levels in a further boost to football chiefs.
Last week’s 2,957 tests across the 20 Prem clubs brought just seven new positive cases.
That is slightly down from the eight recorded in the seven days up to January 24, although this time there were positive cases in both sampling rounds.
Four of the positives came in the first batch of tests, of 1,713 players and staff, between Monday and Thursday.
There were then three positives out of 1,244 samples between Friday and Sunday.
The seven positives is the lowest total since the week of December 20, when the same number was recorded from only 1,569 tests.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has insisted that footballers cannot be allowed to jump the Covid-19 jabs queue.
There have been calls for elite athletes to be moved up the priority list to ensure they can play inside secure bubbles.
But Infantino, speaking at an appearance at the World Health Organisation, dismissed that idea – but also pledged he expected full houses at the 2022 World Cup Finals.
Infantino said: "The priority for the vaccine is of course for the people at risk and health workers.
"That is very sure in our minds and we don't consider football players as a priority in this respect.
"Of course, in the months to come and in the context of international competition and travel, vaccination might be recommended at some point.
"The Olympic Games are only in the summer but this will happen respecting established order of distribution. The people at risk should have priority."
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