Friday, 20 January 2017

Arsene Wenger Full Pre-Match Press Conference - Arsenal v Burnley

AC Milan still interested in signing Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere is reportedly a summer transfer target for AC Milan, despite the Arsenal midfielder rejecting a loan move to the club last year.

The 34-time capped England international, currently on loan at Bournemouth, is at a crossroads in his Gunners career as he enters the final 18 months of his current deal.

Milan were among the clubs to show an interest in Wilshere at the start of the season when he was told that he could leave by boss Arsene Wenger, but he instead opted to remain in the Premier League with the Cherries.

Having enjoyed a solid campaign on the south coast thus far, the 25-year-old is still said to be on the radar of the Serie A side and could be the subject of a bid in the summer.

It is claimed by Calciomercato that Arsenal may look to cash in on Wilshere if he does not sign a new deal, with talks over fresh terms at the Emirates Stadium so far being delayed by Wenger.

Wilshere has made 18 appearances for Bournemouth this season after remaining injury free, 14 of which have come in the Premier League.

Granit Xhaka thinks an early goal is important against Burnley

Granit Xhaka has called on his side to put Burnley under pressure by scoring an early goal in the Premier League game between the two clubs this weekend.

During the reverse fixture in October, Arsenal only prevailed thanks to a last-minute goal from Laurent Koscielny, but the Clarets went on to enjoy a fine first half to the campaign.

However, they make the trip to the Emirates Stadium having struggled for points on the road, and Xhaka wants the Gunners to start positively on Sunday afternoon.

The 24-year-old told the club's official website: "We noticed already in the first game that it was really tough at their place. We needed a late goal to win.

They play direct, they are compact defensively as well and that makes it difficult. But we are playing at home and we need the three points."

"Against these sort of teams, it is very important to score as early as possible and as many times as possible. That puts them under pressure, it makes them come out a bit more as well.

We want to start positively, we want to force mistakes and if we do that, I am sure we can win this game."

Victory for Arsenal would ensure that they remain in the top four of the standings.

Arsenal need 'leader' Per Mertesacker back to guide title hopes claims Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka believes Per Mertesacker remains Arsenal’s “leader” despite not having played for the club since April.

Manager Arsene Wenger confirmed yesterday that Mertesacker has agreed a new one-year deal with the Gunners after the club exercised an option to keep him, a move that was in some doubt given the severity of the 32-year-old’s knee injury.

Mertesacker is still a few weeks away from returning to action as he rebuilds his fitness but Xhaka was immediately struck by the centre-back’s influence at the club following his £34million summer switch from Borussia Monchengladbach.

“Unfortunately I have not had the chance to train with Per since I arrived here, actually,” he said.

“Straight away, I noticed his importance in the dressing room because he is a real leader here and hopefully he can get back healthy and we can have him for the second half of the season.” 

Mertesacker will be missing for Sunday’s visit of Burnley and almost certainly the entirety of a three-game period which Xhaka believes could define Arsenal’s Premier League season.

Watford visit Emirates Stadium the following Tuesday before a League hiatus for the FA Cup fourth round ends with a crucial trip to Chelsea.

Carl Jenkinson's Crystal Palace move is 'down to him' says Wenger

Arsene Wenger says Carl Jenkinson's proposed move to Crystal Palace will be decided by the player.

Jenkinson has struggled to prove his worth at Emirates Stadium in recent years, having fallen behind Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Paulista in the pecking order.

Palace are keen to sign the 24-year-old on a permanent basis as Sam Allardyce looks to bolster his defensive options and haul the Eagles away from the relegation zone.

Allardyce hinted that progress in regards to Jenkinson's move was "slow" yesterday, despite both clubs agreeing a deal, and Wenger is adamant personal terms represent the final hurdle to be navigated. 

"It's not necessarily linked with that Hector Bellerin's return to fitness. Jenkinson to Palace is a possibility but it's not finalised. 

"It's basically down to him to find an agreement with Palace,"Wenger insisted. 

Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed Per Mertesacker has taken up an option on his contract to extend his stay in north London.

"He has an option that he has taken - there was no negotiation He is back in training - not with the squad - but he's two weeks away now," Wenger said.

The 32-year-old has not played since April after undergoing knee surgery but will now stay at Arsenal for at least another season. 

Cohen Bramall represents Arsenal's only signing this month and Wenger has predicted he will oversee a "quiet period" during the latter stages of the transfer window. 

 Arsenal host Burnley this weekend and can tighten their grip on a top-four spot with victory over Sean Dyche's side.