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Granit Xhaka sends message to Arsenal over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer

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Granit Xhaka says it would be a ‘great loss’ if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal (Pictures: Getty)

Granit Xhaka admits it would be a ‘great loss’ for Arsenal if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was to leave the club and has defended ‘positive’ Mesut Ozil.

Aubameyang has developed into one of Arsenal’s most important players since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2018, scoring 61 goals in 97 matches for the Gunners.

Despite his influence at the Emirates, Aubameyang is being strongly linked with a move away from Arsenal, with his current contract set to expire in the summer of 2021.

The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have expressed interest in signing the 30-year-old, with Arsenal currently considering whether to sell him this summer or risk losing the forward for free in 12 months’ time.

Asked about the speculation linking Aubameyang with a move, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka told SportBild: ‘If that were to happen, it would, of course, be a great loss for the team and the club.

‘Auba is always dangerous and always good for a goal, and as a guy, he’s also really great.

‘He is always positive, optimistic, helpful and very professional.’

Former Arsenal captain Xhaka has also defended Mesut Ozil (Picture: Getty)

Xhaka, who was replaced by Aubameyang as Arsenal captain earlier in the season, has also defended Ozil.

The German playmaker often attracts criticism over his perceived lack of effort but Xhaka said: ‘I see him here as a very positive, likeable colleague.

‘He is an extremely down-to-earth guy, always ready to help, and he works hard in training and in my opinion he really enjoys football.

‘When Mesut is in form, he is, of course very important to us and can always make the difference. We really don’t have to discuss his footballing skills here.’

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What Jurgen Klopp has told Timo Werner as Liverpool move stalls

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Timo Werner’s heart was set on a summer move to Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told Timo Werner his Liverpool dream has been put at risk by the coronavirus crisis.

The Germany international had been earmarked as a priority transfer target for the runaway Premier League leaders. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have powered Liverpool’s relentless pursuit of a first league title in 30 years, but Klopp was keen to add an extra level of competition.

Divock Origi, Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri are all likely to be deemed surplus to requirements come the summer, while January recruit Takumi Minamino has not yet fully adjusted to the demands of English football.

Werner has enjoyed another reputation enhancing season in the Bundesliga, scoring 24 goals in 28 appearances for Julian Nagelsman’s Champions League quarter finalists.

The 24-year-old is said to have had his heart set on a move to Anfield and is desperate to work under Klopp. Earlier this week it was reported that the Liverpool boss had been in contact with Werner via Zoom.

Timo Werner’s Red Bull Leipzig were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw by Hertha Berlin on Wednesday (Picture: Getty)

The Mirror claims Klopp has been brutally honest with the Germany international and spelled out the financial ramifications of the ongoing global pandemic. As recently as February, Liverpool had been willing to activate the versatile forward’s £50million release clause, but now value him at less than £30million.

Should Werner remain with Red Bull Leipzig for another 12 months, his release clause would drop by around £25m. The likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan have also been credited with an interest, while Premier League duo Manchester United and Chelsea have also been monitoring his situation.

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Leipzig, meanwhile, for their part are refusing to be bullied and will not sell one of their prize assets on the cheap.

Their CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said earlier this week: ‘It won’t get any cheaper. We will not sell a player below value if he is under contract for more than a year.

‘In general, we always ask the question: can we replace a player if we sell him for less than his market value?’

MORE: Jurgen Klopp holds ‘virtual meeting’ with Liverpool transfer target Timo Werner

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Man Utd news: Real Madrid offer up four players in Paul Pogba swap deal

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Paul Pogba’s future has been a bone of contention for months (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid are trying to tempt Manchester United into letting Paul Pogba go this summer by making a quartet of players available as part of a swap deal.

The La Liga side have been pursuing Pogba since last summer and will reignite their interest in the next transfer window, although it is unclear when that will open due to the coronavirus crisis.

The global health pandemic has caused economic uncertainty throughout football, so in a bid to avoid offering huge amounts of money for the Frenchman, Real are willing to put four players forward as part of the deal, reports the Sun.

Martin Odegaard is the most appealing of the four names, with Lucas Vazquez, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz all also reportedly on offer.

Martin Odegaard has enjoyed an impressive season on loan at Real Sociedad (Picture: Getty Images)

United are unlikely to be tempted by the offer, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now planning to reintegrate Pogba into the first team after missing much of the season through injury.

The World Cup winner has not started a game since September, but he is reportedly fit again after his ongoing ankle problem and will be available when the Premier League starts again – due to be in June.

Solskjaer is excited by the prospect of lining Pogba up in midfield with January signing Bruno Fernandes, a partnership which has United fans drooling at the prospect of.

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The pair have trained together this week and after Fernandes’ blistering start to life in the Premier League, they have the potential to form a dynamic midfield trio alongside either Fred, Scot McTominay or Nemanja Matic.

Pogba has just one year left on his current contract at Manchester United but there is an option for the club to extend it by a further year, which is looking increasingly likely.

With clubs around the world strapped for cash, and Real Madrid’s swap deal not particularly appealing, Pogba is looking more likely to stay than go.

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Odion Ighalo deserves long-term Man Utd deal, says Nigeria teammate Moses Simon

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Ighalo has scored four goals since moving to Old Trafford in January (Picture: Getty Images)

Odion Ighalo has proved himself and deserves to be tied down to a permanent contract at Manchester United, according to his Nigeria teammate Moses Simon.

The 30-year-old is set to return to parent club Shanghai Shenhua with his loan deal at Old Trafford due to expire at the end of the week.

After scoring four goals in eight games for United since joining in January, the club are yet to secure an extension to keep the striker until the end of the Premier League season.

The Red Devils are reportedly unsure if they want to pay £20 million to secure the forward on a long-term contract, but his fellow Nigeria international Simon believes he has proven his worth.

‘If the Manchester United deal can be sealed permanently, not just a loan deal, I think it will be good for his football, his family and for Nigerian football,’ Simon told Tribal Football.

‘Odion Ighalo has proved to be a good striker in Manchester United in the few games he played.

‘It will be good for Nigeria football to see Ighalo succeed at Old Trafford. He has shown good qualities of succeeding already.’

Ighalo has earned 35 caps for Nigeria (Picture: Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted earlier this week that United are ‘in dialogue’ with the Chinese Super League club to extend Ighalo’s deal.

‘The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously, he’s supposed to be going back,’ Solskjaer told MUTV.

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‘We’re in dialogue. They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.

‘It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us.

‘At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we’re just waiting to see.’

MORE: Liverpool set to hijack Manchester United’s move for Sporting Lisbon’s 17-year-old left-back Nuno Mendes

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