ARSENAL are preparing for a return to Premier League action, but boss Mikel Arteta admits they have a number of transfer plans depending on how the coronavirus crisis turns out.
Meanwhile captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has reportedly received an approach from Real Madrid while the Gunners are said to be closing in on Layvin Kurzawa.
Get all the latest Gunners news and gossip here…
PREM CLUBS PUSH FOR JUNE 30 FINISH
A growing number of Premier League clubs will tomorrow push for the season to be finished by June 30.
Chiefs from the 20 sides will hold a video conference for the latest coronavirus crisis talks — including the first official discussions of a definitive end-date being put in place.
Some clubs fear a delayed campaign into July could lead to legal mayhem over player contracts, with the only alternative being to declare the season null and void.
One insider said: “Clubs are starting to take the view that if we go beyond June 30 – when player contracts end – we will be in chaos territory.
“Fifa say clubs and players have the ability to extend contracts but there is nothing hard and fast legally to make that happen.
“Everybody wants to see the season played out, of course we do.But how do you demand that players who are actually out of contract, who might be considering moves to teams they are going to be playing against, give everything?
“You can’t. If the games aren’t finished by the end of June the sporting integrity of the competition could go out of the window.”
GUNNERS PRESS FOR PLAYERS' PAY-CUT
Arsenal hope to force their players into a climbdown over the coronavirus pay row.
Gunners stars, led by their PFA rep Hector Bellerin, last night offered to DEFER 30 per cent of their wages for a year.
But the North London club wanted their players to accept 12.5 per cent pay CUTS for 12 months.
And they piled pressure on them by announcing 14 executives have agreed more than 33 per cent pay cuts for a year.
A club statement said: “Over the past ten days we have been in discussions with them around the potential financial challenges ahead, and how we are planning for those now.
“These are productive and ongoing conversations around how our players might support their club in an appropriate way.”
Manager Mikel Arteta is now set to talk to his squad to try and resolve “one of the most challenging periods” in Arsenal’s 133-year history.
The Gunners are paying their non-playing staff in full, including their matchday staff.
TAH VERY MUCH CHEAPER
Bayer Leverkusen's giant Germany defender Jonathan Tah is being talked up as a cheaper alternative for Arsenal to Manchester United target Dayot Upamecano.
France Under-21 star Upamecano reportedly remains Gunners boss Mikel Arteta's top target but RB Leipzig are holding firm to his £50million-plus release clause.
Tah, 24, who has nine caps, seems an easier option but still tricky.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Upamecano has crept onto the radar of Manchester city as well as United.
DONT RUN TOO FAST SAYS RAN
Claudio Ranieri worries that football is attempting to return too soon.
The former Leicester and Chelsea manager is now in charge of Sampdoria in Italy where the death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 20,000, but Serie A bosses want the season to resume at the end of May.
Ranieri warned: “I feel we need to be cautious.
“I also read that this virus can have lasting effects on the heart. If we are to play, then the players must be totally healthy and given thorough tests.
“I am not saying what is right or wrong, I just want doctors to agree on what needs to be done to ensure players are safe.
“We had a player who tested positive, then negative and, after training at home again, he tested positive once more.”
Arsenal are reportedly preparing a close-season move for French defensive prodigy Axel Disasi.
The Reims centre-back has shone this season to inspire his unfancied club to fifth before coronavirus halted the Ligue 1 programme.
Respected sports daily L'Equipe claims Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has been on Disasi's trail since early in January.
And the North Londoners are said to have maintained contact with the 22-year-old and his advisors since then.
Disasi has been dubbed Reims' find of the season after commanding a regular first-team place.
He has effortlessly replaced Bjorn Engels, who left for Aston Villa last summer – making 32 appearances and scoring once.
The Paris-born defender is rated at around £18million and is under contract until 2021.
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