Arsenal are stepping up their efforts to land unsettled Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, according to a report.
Wijnaldum has had a rough time in the French capital after his free-transfer move last summer. He has made just 10 Ligue 1 starts and failed to convince Mauricio Pochettino he should be a regular starter. He has though started the last three games in varying positions from left to right wing, as well as his favoured central midfield role.
Now Arsenal are pushing their claims to bring the Holland international back to England. Fichajes report that there is a high chance that Wijnaldum returns this month and they have the Gunners ahead of Newcastle in the race.
Arsenal have set their sights on landing the 31-year-old to share the responsibility of the “double pivot role” with Thomas Partey. Partey is currently at the African Cup of Nations with Mohamed Elneny and it has left Mikel Arteta light in midfield.
The midfield for Arsenal in Sunday’s FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest consisted of Charlie Patino, 18m and Sambi Lokonga who had not started a game since the end of November.
Arteta was also without Granit Xhaka and Folarin Balogun due to Covid-19 while Emile Smith Rowe was also out injured. And the Spaniard knows they need to add to the squad in January.
“I think it is clear where we need to strengthen but at the moment it is what we have and what we have, we have to play,” said Arteta after the City Ground defeat.
“I want to try to get the best out of the players that we have. We have what we have (available) and we know we have issues in many different positions.
“But we try to put out the most competitive team that we could to try to win and it wasn’t good enough.
“We have the players to perform better than what they’ve done and we have the level to beat them if we are at our maximum and we didn’t have that.”
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Wijnaldum signing would be ‘amazing’
A permanent transfer for the former Liverpool man would cost between €15m and €20m, per the source. Whether or not Arsenal are looking at that or a loan option is unclear, but Wijnaldum is “discontent” in Paris.
In fact in October the player said: “I’m not completely happy. The situation is not what I wanted.”
According to FourFourTwo, the Gunners preference is a loan offer for Wijnaldum.
And Ian Wright believes he would be a superb signing for Arsenal.
“I saw Wijnaldum’s name. That would be amazing. A loan signing from PSG,” Wright told Premier League Productions (via Football London).
“Someone like that in the midfield. Of that experience. He is a Premier League winner. Just to help with the youngsters and a Sambi Lokonga just to keep it going.”
READ MORE: Ben White explains why Arsenal have no need to sign Tottenham target
Chelsea risk complete depletion after transfer update for tempted star Tuchel is relying on
Marcos Alonso remains a top target for Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, despite it being questionable as to whether Chelsea would sanction a transfer.
Chelsea are currently facing a shortage of players in the full-back positions. Alonso is their only natural fit on the left-hand side at present due to Ben Chilwell’s ACL injury. They have been trying to recall Emerson Palmieri from a loan spell at Lyon, but are struggling.
Therefore, the Blues continue to be linked with signing new left-backs in January. But now a further complication has arisen in the shape of Atletico chasing Alonso.
According to Marca, Simeone still dreams of signing the Spaniard, whom he wanted at Atletico three years ago. Back then, the La Liga giants opted to sign Renan Lodi instead.
Now, Simeone is hoping to lure Alonso back to his hometown. The Atletico boss still feels a need to strengthen at left-back and Alonso has the traits he desires.
Marca (whose report is adapted by Sport Witness) claim a transfer is back on the agenda, then. Although whether that would appeal to Chelsea is debatable.
Alonso lost his place as a starter after Chilwell relied, but they are relying on him now until they can recover the Englishman’s services or sign another reinforcement.
But the 31-year-old may be keen to make the move to Madrid. According to Marca, he would welcome the chance to play in La Liga.
Alonso came through the academy ranks at Real Madrid before making one La Liga appearance in 2010. He has never played in the competition since after spending his club career between England and Italy.
Spanish return appealing to Alonso?
Recent reports claimed he was keen to explore a future away from Chelsea to boost his chances of representing Spain at the 2022 World Cup. Alonso has five international caps to his name after debuting in 2018, including two last year.
He may now have hopes of playing club football in his homeland, rather than just representing their national team. And Atletico see him as a perfect fit.
It is not yet clear if they will make a formal move, or how much they may offer. But if anything happens between now and the end of the month, it would heighten Chelsea’s dilemmas.
Atletico have Marcos Alonso alternatives
However, in an update that may allay any fears Chelsea have of losing Alonso, AS claim Atletico are also looking at Reinildo of Lille.
As cited by Football Espana, the report claims there have been discussions between the Spanish and French champions over his transfer.
Reinildo is out of contract with Lille in the summer. So he could be available for a cut-price fee.
AS also list the versatile Daniel Wass of Valencia as a priority option for Atletico.
However, the Mattress Makers are also long-term admirers of Alonso, as Marca remind. Therefore, his future at Chelsea will still be in question unless Atleti sign one of the other options.
READ MORE: Chelsea bid ‘accepted’ as Tuchel nears stellar signing in favourite position
Ranieri sack moments away with ‘stunned’ Watford chiefs ‘preparing’ new appointment
Watford are poised to sack manager Claudio Ranieri and have already begun sizing up replacements after being left stunned by their ineptitude versus Norwich, per reports.
The Hornets suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals on Friday night. The contest had been hyped up as a potential relegation decider given how few points both teams have accrued against stronger opposition.
But despite home advantage, Watford looked off the pace throughout, and manager Ranieri could soon pay the price.
Watford are not known for exhibiting patience when it comes to their hirings and firings. Indeed, Xisco Munoz was relieved of his duties less than two months into the season.
Now, according to the Telegraph, Ranieri is poised to follow suit after lasting just three months.
The newspaper state Watford are ‘ready to end’ Ranieri’s reign following their dismal Norwich defeat. The Italian is ‘close’ to being fired, and both staff and players are ‘preparing’ for the appointment of a new head coach.
Watford are deemed to be ‘already targeting replacements’, though the article does not speculate as to their identities.
Ranieri sack due ‘this weekend’
With Watford’s players not due in for training until Tuesday, the article concludes Ranieri is likely to be sacked ‘this weekend’.
The Hornets have lost seven out of their last eight league matches. Their only non-defeat was a 1-1 draw with Newcastle last weekend.
TEAMtalk’s own sources have echoed the sentiments of the Telegraph report.
We have been told by more than one reliable source that Ranieri’s time is up. A final decision could come as early as tonight.
READ MORE: Paper Talk: Man Utd seeking triple exit with trio of ‘mood killers’ facing axe