7am Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Hakimi BOOST, Tierney RETURN, N'Dicka and Firpo links, Partey on Arteta

ARSENAL are reeling from another defeat, this time at the hands of Aston Villa.

But Thomas Partey has hailed boss Mikel Arteta despite a run of poor results.

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Follow all the latest from the Emirates below…

  • Marc Mayo

    NEW BAL GAME

    Folarin Balogun has been nominated for a Premier League 2 award.

    The Under-23 division's January Player of the Month gong could head to North London after the striker's fine form.

    Balogun hit a hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of Brighton last month.

  • Marc Mayo

    WILL PROVE

    William Saliba has aimed another swipe at Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, saying the Spaniard judged him on just 'two-and-a-half games'.

    The centre-back told RMC: "It is clear that so much has changed in the last year.

    "When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change.

    "He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn't ready.

    "I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that."

  • Joshua Jones

    MORNING ARSENAL FANS

    The Gunners dropped out the top ten after Leeds beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Elland Road last night.

    Arsenal are now a point behind the Yorkshire side ahead of their mouth-watering clash at the Emirates on Sunday.

    Elsewhere, skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was blasted for being ‘anonymous’ this season by Tony Cascarino.

    The 31-year-old Gabonese has scored just eight times in 22 appearances this season.

    After the Gunners went down 1-0 to Aston Villa on the weekend, Cascarino said on talkSPORT: “The biggest disappointment for Arsenal is when you see two players that come on, who have been quality… Willian was poor, he kept giving away the ball and Aubameyang.

    “These are two top-quality players who have done a hell of a lot in football that came on and made no impact at all.

    “Aubameyang, I didn’t even know he’d really come on. He’s been far too anonymous this year as a player because he is a player that Mikel Arteta can’t afford for him not to change games and make things happen.”

    And finally, the Premier League has announced the latest round of Covid-19 testing yielded just TWO positives results – despite nearly 3,000 tests administered.

    A whopping 2,930 tests were administered to players and staff members from all 20 clubs in the week of Monday, February 1 to Sunday, February 7.

    And stunningly, only two positive tests were returned.

    An official statement read: “The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 1 February and Sunday 7 February, across two rounds of testing, 2,970 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

    “Of these, there were two new positive tests. Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

    “The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public on a weekly basis.”

  • William Pugh

    'DISGUSTING' – EXCLUSIVE

    Ex-Fifa referee Mark Halsey fears horrific social media abuse will drive Mike Dean and other officials out of football.

    Dean has notified Merseyside Police after he and his family were subjected to death threats. The 52-year-old has since asked not to be involved in a Premier League game this weekend.

    SunSport’s ref expert Halsey revealed vile abuse contributed to his retirement in 2013 and he fears Dean and more top-flight refs could now follow.

    Halsey said: “Many officials past and present, including myself, have suffered from horrific social media abuse. It’s disgusting. In fact, the abuse I received was one of the factors in my decision to quit.

    “It affects not just officials, it also hurts their families as well – and the likes of Mike and others may think, ‘Is this worth it?’ Social media platforms should be protecting people.

    “Twitter, Instagram and Facebook must do more to police what is allowed to be aired publicly. I don’t think they are doing enough.”

  • William Pugh

    IN A HARRY

    Harry Redknapp is ready to miss part of his Soccer Saturday debut this weekend – so he can watch his horse run in a £125,000 race.

    Redknapp's first appearance on the Sky Sports show clashes with Shakem Up'Arry's contest at Newbury.

    Matches will be just past the half-hour mark when Redknapp, 73, says he will nip off to cheer on his horse in the Betfair Hurdle at 3.35.

    Racing fanatic Redknapp said: "They asked me about six weeks ago with Jeff Stelling and Paul Merson and the gang, and I said I'd do it.

    "But I didn't know the horse was running.

    "I'll have to find a way [to get out] for five minutes and make sure they're showing a film of something else so I can watch the race, because I'm not missing it."

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  • William Pugh

    REISS IN PIECES

    Reiss Nelson needs more game time at Arsenal, according to former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell.

    The midfielder has struggled for game time this season and Campbell told Football Insider a January move away would have done him a favour.

    He said: "Reiss Nelson is still in and around the squad and we’ve seen injuries happen and players having to come in and hit the ground running.

    "He went on loan last season and done okay, so he’s had a long spell of first-team football.

    “But I think he needs more football because he’s not really getting a lot of football at Arsenal.

    “It was an interesting one [loan speculation] but it hasn’t quite happened for him.”

  • William Pugh

    CAPTAIN ANONYMOUS

    Arsenal skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was blasted for being ‘anonymous’ this season by Tony Cascarino.

    The 31-year-old Gabonese has scored just eight times in 22 appearances this season.

    After the Gunners went down 1-0 to Aston Villa on the weekend, Cascarino said on talkSPORT: “The biggest disappointment for Arsenal is when you see two players that come on, who have been quality… Willian was poor, he kept giving away the ball and Aubameyang.

    “These are two top-quality players who have done a hell of a lot in football that came on and made no impact at all.

    “Aubameyang, I didn’t even know he’d really come on. He’s been far too anonymous this year as a player because he is a player that Mikel Arteta can’t afford for him not to change games and make things happen.”

  • William Pugh

    MAT MIC

    Arsenal have released intriguing footage of Mat Ryan's debut against Aston Villa.

    The Gunners used audio from pitchside microphones to give fans a glimpse of what it is like to be a Premier League goalkeeper.

  • William Pugh

    CASH GUZZLERS

    Arsenal made a profit on just EIGHT of the players who joined the club in the last ten years.

    Since 2010, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been the biggest money spinner while Mesut Ozil represented the largest loss.

    The Gunners' transfer policy has been criticised in the past with players often leaving for less money than they were bought for – many after limited contributions to the first team.

    And just a quick glance at the top ten losses in the last decade backs up that point. Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie all made the club profit in that time but they arrived before 2010 so have not been included.

    Arsenal have also let £163m worth of talent leave on free transfers in just three years. Mesut Ozil left for Fenerbahce in January for nothing even though Arsenal paid £42.3m for him from Real Madrid.

    And Shkodran Mustafi was a £36.9m buy from Valencia five years ago and the centre-back has also left on a free for Schalke.

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  • William Pugh

    LOWEST RETURN

    The Premier League has announced the latest round of Covid-19 testing yielded just TWO positives results – despite nearly 3,000 tests administered.

    A whopping 2,930 tests were administered to players and staff members from all 20 clubs in the week of Monday, February 1 to Sunday, February 7.

    And stunningly, only two positive tests were returned.

    An official statement read: “The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 1 February and Sunday 7 February, across two rounds of testing, 2,970 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

    “Of these, there were two new positive tests. Players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

    “The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public on a weekly basis.”

  • William Pugh

    MAT THE MAN

    Former Arsenal ace Adrian Clarke awarded new Gunners keeper Mat Ryan the man-of-the-match award during the North Londoners' defeat to Aston Villa.

    The Australian arrived from Brighton in January and Clarke praised his performance at Villa Park.

  • William Pugh

    RIP TONY

    Tony Collins, English football’s first black manager and compiler of Don Revie’s infamous England 'dossiers' has died at the age of 94.

    Former Sheffield Wednesday, Watford, Norwich and Crystal Palace winger took over at his final league club, Rochdale, in 1960.

    Collins spent seven years in charge at Spotland, including taking his side to the first League Cup Final, against Norwich, in 1962.

    After leaving Rochdale, Londoner Collins worked as chief scout at Bristol City before he joined Revie's backroom team at Leeds.

    When Revie was appointed as the full-time successor to Sir Alf Ramsey, Collins went with him to England where he put together the lengthy briefing notes on opponents and Three Lions players.

    Collins had subsequent spells as assistant and briefly caretaker manager back at Ashton Gate plus scouting roles for Manchester United, QPR, Newcastle, Millwall and Derby.

  • Josh Graham

    THIERR UP THE RECORD BOOKS

    Thierry Henry's all-time Premier League assist record could be broken by Spurs star Harry Kane this season.

    Arsenal legend Henry bagged 20 assists in 2002-03 and was nearly beaten by Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne last season.

    But the Belgian could only equal his tally.

    Kane has 11 assists so needs ten more in Tottenham's last 16 games to claim the record for himself.

  • Josh Graham

    FOLARIN THE PATH

    Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun has been nominated for the Premier League 2 Player of the Month gong for January.

    The 19-year-old forward has impressed and scored a hat-trick over Brighton at the start of the year.

    He has appeared for the senior Gunners in the Europa League but his future remains uncertain.

    Balogun also captained the Under-23s to a 1-1 draw in the North London derby.

  • Josh Graham

    SEND NOODS

    Thomas Partey has revealed a tasty secret about his private life … saying he used to score with the ladies by buying them NOODLES.

    The Arsenal midfielder, a £45million buy from Atletico Madrid last autumn, grew up in Ghana.

    Instant noodles are a much-loved dish in the west African country, with Indonesian brand Indomie the market leaders.

    And Partey served up his revelation in an interview with Malaysian broadcaster Stadium Astro.

    The 27-year-old said: "You get a new girl in Ghana, and they say: 'Buy me Indomie.' Every day, 'Indomie, Indomie.'

    "That food took all my money! It takes all the guys' money in Ghana.

    "Have I a favourite flavour? Oh, my God, all the flavours are good. Maybe I can become an ambassador for Indomie. Then I will get it for free."

  • Josh Graham

    WELCOME TO THE PARTEY

    Thomas Partey said it's amazing to have Norwegian Martin Odegaard at Arsenal.

    Odegaard is on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season and has clearly impressed immediately.

    The Ghanaian midfielder told Stadium Astro: "He’s difficult when you play against him. I remember when we played against him he’s so intelligent, he’s always quick on the ball and doesn’t give you a chance to take it from him.

    “It’s amazing to have him here. I hope he has a great season here and he helps us achieve what we want to achieve.”

  • Josh Graham

    MUSCLE TIER

    Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney's leg problem could be down to fatigue rather than anything more serious.

    The Athletic reports the 'discomfort in the right lower leg' could be due to tiredness with scans having come back clear for the Scot.

    And the report states the Gunners will look for left-back cover this summer.

    They are believed to want a promising youngster who can provide back-up and learn from No1 choice and former Celtic man Tierney.

  • Josh Graham

    WHEN IN ROME

    Juventus are eyeing a shock free transfer for ex-Manchester United flop and former Arsenal man Henrikh Mkhitaryan, according to reports.

    The Roma ace has regained the form that saw him earn a switch to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund in 2016.

    Mkhitaryan, 32, joined the Italian side in August last year from Arsenal and has been a key figure as Roma push for a Champions League spot.

    He has scored nine and assisted eight in 20 Serie A appearances with his side sitting fourth in the league.

    His contract expires at the end of the season and reports in Italy claim their rivals are ready to take advantage.

    According to Calciomercato, Juventus are prepared to offer him a surprise deal if contract negotiations hit the rocks.

    Roma and Mkhitaryan are locked in talks but Juve have close links with his agent, Mino Raiola.

  • Josh Graham

    SHK HORROR

    Former Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi suffered a terrible debut for Schalke as they were thumped 3-0 by RB Leipzig.

    And his new boss Christian Gross admitted he was not '100 per cent satisfied' with the centre-back's showing after arriving from the Gunners.

    Shkodran Mustafi struggled on his Schalke debutCredit: Reuters

    Gross said: "I’m not 100 per cent satisfied with his performance, but with his commitment.

    "He tried everything. He stabilised the defence and gave many instructions. For the future, he is definitely the right transfer, I am convinced of that. He is a great personality and will help us tremendously in our situation,"

  • Josh Graham

    UNAI WORK WELL TOGETHER

    Arsenal loanee Matteo Guendouzi has named former Gunners duo Mesut Ozil and Unai Emery as the best player and coach he has worked with.

    Guendouzi is due to return to the Emirates at the end of the season following the conclusion of his loan to Hertha Berlin.

    But that did not stop the 21-year-old from controversially naming two departed Gunners as the greatest duo he has been involved with.

    When asked to name the best player he has ever played with, he unequivocally told The Mirror: “Mesut Ozil.

    “Technically, whether he’s on the pitch during a match or on the training ground he has a technical ease.

    “He reads the game better than everyone else. He’s a player I’ve loved playing with.”

    The youngster was then asked who the best manager he has worked under is, to which he simply replied: “Unai Emery.”

  • Josh Graham

    LAC OF CLARITY

    Arsenal fans were left berating the 'serious inconsistency' of refereeing decisions at the weekend after Alexandre Lacazette was denied a penalty against Aston Villa.

    That came before Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was awarded a soft call in the Reds' big match with Manchester City at Anfield.

    Alexandre Lacazette was deemed to have fouled Emi MartinezCredit: Kevin Quigley-The Daily Mail
    Ruben Dias gave a way a penalty for this challenge on Mo SalahCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Trailing Villa 1-0 away from home, the Gunners looked to have a strong case for a spot-kick when Emi Martinez hauled his former team-mate Alexandre Lacazette down in the penalty area, grabbing his shirt in the process.

    But to their astonishment, a free-kick was instead awarded the Midlanders' way. The next day, City defender Ruben Dias made the slightest contact on Salah's arm, with the Egyptian subsequently throwing himself to the ground.

    But unlike the Gunners, the reigning Premier League champions found themselves looked upon kindly by the officials.

    One fan wrote: "Lacazette got hauled to the ground vs Villa and didn't get a pen, yet Salah gets a pen very little contact here?

    "There's contact there, but that's still a dive to me. There's a serious inconsistency in the level of officiating in the league."

  • Josh Graham

    G'DAY FOR MAT

    Aussie keeper Mat Ryan made his Arsenal debut in the 1-0 defeat away at Aston Villa, fulfilling a lifelong dream as a boyhood Gooner.

    The on-loan Brighton shot-stopper impressed despite the defeat and wasn't at fault for Ollie Watkins' deflected second-minute winner.

    Mat Ryan made his Arsenal debut over the weekendCredit: AFP

    After the game, he said: "Unfortunately I wasn't able to help us with the result. It was a deflection and I haven't watched it back yet, but there wasn't a lot I could do I don't think.

    "It felt good to be out there though, I loved being out there. It still hasn't quite sunk in that it's my childhood club that I grew up supporting that I've just played for. 

    "But I'm sure it'll start to sink in a bit now that I've got a moment to reflect on it. I wanted the perfect start with the result but it wasn't meant to be."

  • Josh Graham

    PLAYING HIS PART

    Thomas Partey has opened up on the 'amazing' Mikel Arteta tactic that is helping him thrive at Arsenal.

    The Ghanaian was the Gunners' summer marquee signing after his £45million deadline day switch from Atletico Madrid.

    Thomas Partey lifted the lid on Mikel Arteta's tactical man managementCredit: Tom Jenkins-The Guardian

    On working for Arteta, Partey, 27, told Stadium Astro: "Mikel is helping me a lot. At Atletico, I played in a similar position.

    "The system is not the same back there, you have to be well positioned to be able to go around your marker, and here Mikel is helping a lot because I remember.

    "You don’t have to be in the same line and opposite the defender. You have time to be able to do whatever you want and this is amazing.

    "It’s just as important, you need to keep it in mind and whenever your teammates have the ball, you know who you are in line with, who you are not in line with and this is helping me a lot."

  • Gary Stonehouse

    MORNING, ARSENAL FANS

    The Gunners have been under sustained fire since Saturday's "powder-puff" 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

    Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand claimed Mikel Arteta's men "just didn’t turn up" as they slumped to a second straight Premier League defeat.

    Ferdy blamed a dip in form from Arsenal's attackers and told BT Sport: “They didn’t have that cutting edge… Powder-puff."

    Ex-Gunners frontman Ian Wright went further, singling out Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette.

    Wrightyt told Match of the Day: “I just thought that the movement and some of the forward play wasn’t very good."

    But former Chelsea targetman Tony Cascarino focused on lame displays from the bench of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian.

    He said on talkSPORT: “The biggest disappointment for Arsenal is when you see two players that come on, who have been quality… 

    "Willian was poor, he kept giving away the ball and Aubameyang….I didn’t even know he’d really come on."

    Meanwhile, Arteta is waiting anxiously on midfielder Thomas Partey's fitness.

    The Spaniard said: “He had a muscular injury so we had to take him off. 

    “We will see the extent of the injury. He wasn’t feeling well enough to continue playing.”

    That problem aside, Partey is delighted with the extra freedom he has under Arteta.

    He said: “You have time to be able to do whatever you want and this is amazing."

  • Ian Tuckey

    'POWDER-PUFF' GUNNERS

    Rio Ferdinand blasted Arsenal's "powder-puff" 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa.

    Ollie Watkins punished poor defending inside 74 seconds, with Mikel Arteta claiming his Gunners' side dominated but failed in both boxes.

    And Manchester United legend Ferdy told BT Sport: "They started off on the worst possible footing, mistake, lack of concentration and they definitely didn’t recover for the rest of the first half.

    "Second half they were much improved but without that cutting edge. 

    "They didn’t have that cutting edge. The attacking players that have been doing really well for them in recent weeks… they just didn’t turn up."

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