Premier League • England

Arsenal primed for Newcastle battle as Mikel Arteta tells Gunners to go back in for star

Arsenal chief Edu with a smiling Mikel Arteta

Arsenal are seemingly ready to battle Newcastle United for the signing of Arthur Melo as a report claims the Gunners want to go back in for the Juventus man.

Arsenal were hoping to bolster their midfield options in January by landing the 21-cap Brazil international. But they were unable to agree a deal with Juventus before the transfer deadline, forcing Arthur to remain in Turin.

The 25-year-old’s form improved following the failed winter transfer, leading to praise from Juve boss Max Allegri. The coach even called Arthur’s technical ability ‘extraordinary’.

However, Arthur put in a disappointing performance last week as Villarreal dumped the Old Lady out of the Champions League with a 3-0 win.

That led to criticism from former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. He said Arthur wasn’t a patch on midfield predecessors Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio.

Arthur could still be in line for a Premier League move this summer, though. According to a report on Monday, Newcastle are keen to add the player to their ranks.

They could partner him with January arrival Bruno Guimaraes in the centre of the park.

Arthur Melo eyed by Arsenal, Newcastle

But it seems competition will arise from Arsenal, as Mikel Arteta has told Gunners chiefs to return for Arthur.

BBC Sport, who cite Italian outlet Calciomercato, state Arsenal will make another move for him once the transfer window reopens.

Arthur Melo, Victor Osimhen and Fabian Ruiz pictured during Juventus vs Napoli in Serie A

The original source claims the north London outfit are ‘ready to try again’, although it does not reveal the size of a potential offer.

Arteta can already rely on Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elneny in midfield. But with Xhaka attracting interest from Roma and Elneny set to leave in the summer, Arthur may be a clever addition.

Steven Gerrard criticises Arsenal forward

Meanwhile, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has told Bukayo Saka to toughen up, following the Arsenal star’s complaints over physicality in their recent fixture.

After Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Villa Park, during which Saka got the winner, the Englishman said he had spoken with officials about his treatment from opponents.

Responding to that claim, Gerrard said: “It’s part of the game. The last time I checked it’s not a no-contact sport. I think tackles are allowed, physicality’s allowed.

“He’s a good player, he’s an outstanding talent and I love him. But he can’t complain about that side. That’s football.

“I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips, I’ve had about 16 operations, I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment. That’s all on the back of earning a living in English football. He’ll learn and he’ll learn quick.”

READ MORE: Arsenal chief under double instruction to secure priority summer deal – Paper Talk