Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Paper Talk: Arsenal ‘angry’ at failed January transfer but key summer deal still on; Newcastle scout Nigeria star

Lucas Torreira Fiorentina loan

A key Arsenal summer deal is still on following frustration at a failed January raid, while Newcastle scout a Porto star – both in all the latest Paper Talk.

ARSENAL STILL HAVE TORREIRA PLAN

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal felt “angry” at failing to sign striker Dusan Vlahovic in January but still expect to do business with Fiorentina over Lucas Torreira, according to to a report.

The Gunners tried to land Serbia international forward Vlahovic last month amid their search for a new attacker. Arsenal spent a great deal of time chasing the player, supposedly submitting a major bid.

However, Vlahovic insisted that it was an “easy” choice to sign for Juventus instead. Arsenal ended up signing no-one new up front, making a summer deal for a striker imperative.

Indeed, they shipped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang off to Barcelona on a free transfer in January. What’s more, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette will both, as it stands, leave as free agents in the summer.

Arsenal’s talks over Vlahovic reportedly involved Uruguay international Torreira. The 26-year-old midfielder is on a season-long loan at Fiorentina.

Torreira’s agent, Pablo Bentancur, told Sport890 (via the Daily Express): “Now, Arsenal are a bit angry because they wanted Vlahovic.

“Fiorentina wanted to sell him, but the agents said he had to go to Juventus: you always do what the player wants.”

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Nevertheless, Bentancur added that Arsenal still expect to talk to Fiorentina over a potential permanent deal for Torreira. The former Sampdoria midfielder has impressed back in Serie A this term with 20 league appearances.

Bentancur said: “Fiorentina logically want to buy him because he is playing very well. He has returned to having an impressive continuity and dynamism.

“Lucas is happy in Florence and I think they will take him, to date he is one of the most loved players by the fans.”

Arsenal are also looking to add to their midfield in the summer, in another area where they failed to find reinforcements in January.


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PAPER TALK – NEWCASTLE SCOUT PORTO STAR

Newcastle had a scout keep tabs on Porto left-back Zaidu Sanusi on Thursday, according to a report.

The Magpies bolstered their ranks in January with five new signings worth a total of over £90million. What’s more, they bolstered all outfield areas of the pitch.

In defence, they added left-back Matt Targett, centre-back Dan Burn and right-back Kieran Trippier.

But while England international Trippier was their top target at right-back, Targett was only a deadline day loan signing from Aston Villa. Reports have claimed that Bayer Leverkusen’s Mitchel Bakker was on Newcastle’s radar.

According to A Bola, though, Eddie Howe’s side are now looking at Porto left-back Sanusi.

The Magpies had a scout watch his performance in Porto’s come-from-behind Europa League play-off win over Lazio. Sanusi, 24, played the full 90 minutes in his 23rd appearance of the campaign.

Indeed, he has also appeared regularly in the Portuguese top flight and played all six Champions League group stage games.

Sanusi made the move across Portugal from Santa Clara in the summer of 2020. He also featured in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign earlier this season.

PAPER TALK – GERRARD FIRES MAJOR VILLA WARNING

Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa, February 2022.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has warned his side that they could very easily get dragged into a Premier League relegation battle.

The Villains began with four wins from six after Gerrard took over. However, they have only won one of their past seven games in all competitions – six in the league.

That sole victory came away at Everton, where Villa showed grit and determination to claim all three points.

But Gerrard was far from happy following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle. He therefore revealed that he plans to make changes to his side for Saturday’s clash with Watford.

Gerrard, whose side sit 12th in the Premier League, told the Daily Mail: “It is very easy in this area of the league to think you are OK,’ said Gerrard. ‘It is very easy to take your eye off the ball and become complacent, like we did last week.

“We have to be extremely careful, we are 12th, not a position where we can disrespect any opponent and think we can just turn up.

“We have to treat every game with focus and importance and be the best version of ourselves. That is the only way we are going to progress in the short term.”

Villa lost 3-2 to Watford in August in a thriller at the start of the season.