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.

    Joel Lopez in Arsenal's first-team trainingCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Other alternatives Sead Kolasianc and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were shipped out on loan.

    Cedric Soares has been deputising but with the fixture pile-up continuing, Mikel Arteta could use the former Barca star Lopez, 18, who has impressed with the Under-23s.

  • 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

    EUR JOKING

    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

    ARTFUL DODGER

    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.

    By flogging just FOUR of the club's top earners, including £350,000-a-week Mesut Ozil, Arteta has shaved £32.8m off the annual wage bill.

    Sead Kolasinac was loaned back to old club Schalke with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

    Shkodran Mustafi left the Gunners for good and joined Kolasinac at struggling Schalke saving Arsenal £90,000 a week.

    Sokratis moved to Olympiacos on a free and he was also collecting a healthy £90,000 a week for his services.

  • Josh Graham

    SHARP SHOOTERS

    Check out Arsenal's last training session before tonight's clash with Wolves.

  • Josh Graham

    TIER-RIBLE NEWS

    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.

    Mikel Arteta is pushing his resurgent Arsenal towards the top fourCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Arteta said: "I think it’s too early [to be ruled in or out] because there are a lot of points, you have to be consistent.

    “You don’t just depend on yourselves so let’s stick to what we can do, what we can do better and the better we do that the bigger chance at the end of the season there will be to fight for that.

    “There are things that are not really in our control at the moment, but many of them are and that’s the things that we have to do as well as possible."

  • Josh Graham

    TORR-ID TIME

    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."

  • sstreet

    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.

  • sstreet

    BUNDESLIGA BOUND

    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."

  • sstreet

    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.

  • sstreet

    TOON-ING IN

    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.

  • sstreet

    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.

  • sstreet

    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.

  • supal

    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.

  • supal

    ARSENAL JANUARY MOVES

    Here's the Gunners' final report from the January window:

    IN

    Omar Rekik (Hertha Berlin), Mat Ryan (Brighton) loan, Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid) loan

    OUT

    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.

  • supal

    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 fans hailed the size of Martin Odegaard's calves after pictures emerged from trainingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
  • supal

    PRAWN BROKERS

    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.

    Arsenal could make massive financial losses if VIP season-ticket holders do not renew their dealsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
  • supal

    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.

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined West Brom on loan for the rest of the seasonCredit: wba.co.uk
  • supal

    MATCH DAY

    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.

  • supal

    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

    TEST BOOST

    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.

    JAB STAND

    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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