Arsenal news LIVE: Gunners 'battle' Chelsea for Porto ace Pepe, Xhaka BACKS Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus latest | The Sun

ARSENAL have reportedly set their sights on Porto star Pepe – but they could have to battle Chelsea for his signature.

The Brazilian left scouts with 'their mouths open' after some outstanding performances.

And now reports suggest that Pepe is being linked with a sensational move to England.

Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka has backed Eddie Nketiah to fill the boots of Gabriel Jesus who is out of action for several months.

Jesus, 25, underwent knee surgery for the damage he sustained during Brazil's World Cup defeat to Cameroon.

But Xhaka tips Nketiah to play a big role in Arsenal's Premier League title push.

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Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

  • Anthony Chapman

    World Cup winners & losers

    Prem clubs are beginning to emerge from their enforced winter hibernation.

    Qatar 2022 brought an unprecedented pre-conceived six week shutdown half-way through the campaign.

    But with bosses now starting to gear up through a series of friendlies for the Boxing Day return to Prem arms, the big question is how the World Cup will impact the domestic agenda.

    SunSport looks at the 20 Prem teams to work out the likely winners and losers from a situation none of them will want to see repeated…

    SEE OUR WINNERS & LOSERS

  • Anthony Chapman

    Duo battle for Porto ace

    Arsenal and Chelsea will reportedly lock horns over Porto forward Pepe.

    The Brazilian winger has left scouts with “their mouths open” after some fine performances.

    And A Bola claims Pepe is now being lined up for a move to England.

    But suitors will have to meet his release clause, which stands at a mega £65million.

  • Anthony Chapman

    Star man 'taking a break'

    Arsenal fans might have to wait before seeing Takehiro Tomiyasu in action again… as he wants to take a break after Japan's World Cup exit to Croatia.

    The defender said: “My performance was a disaster so I am sorry for the team. 

    “I just need to be much, much better to help the team. I can’t be proud. I am not satisfied about what happened. It was not enough.

    “Hopefully I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time.”

  • Anthony Chapman

    Arsenal 'solve' Jesus injury crisis

    Arsenal are ready to bring in a replacement for crocked Gabriel Jesus.

    That's by recalling youngster Folarin Balogun from his loan in France.

    The American has eight goals in 15 games for Reims this term.

    And 90min claims Mikel Arteta could choose to bring Balogun back rather than splash out on a new signing.

  • Tony Robertson

    Good morning, Arsenal fans

    Arsenal are back in action today as they play Lyon in the Dubai Super Cup friendly tournament.

    With many first-teamers away at the World Cup, manager Mikel Arteta is set to involve a number of youngsters such as Matt Smith and the Premier League's youngest ever play Ethan Nwaneri. 

    Granit Xhaka's Switzerland were knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday being hammered 6-1 by Portugal but the midfielder does not want a break. 

    Instead, he has flown straight to Abu Dhabi to train with the squad as he prepares for the title race. 

    One man who will not be playing for some time is Gabriel Jesus. He could be sidelined for a number of months with as he has undergone knee surgery. 

    As a result, there have been rumours that Folarin Balogun could be recalled from his loan at Reims.

    Arsenal could go into the transfer market and buy a striker but that could ruin plans to sign winger Mykhaylo Mudryk.

  • Alex Smith

    Arsenal Women win 1-0

    The Gunners have beat Juventus 1-0 in the Champions League group stage.

    Vivianne Miedema scored the only goal of the game to sent Arsenal top of the table with ten points and within touching distance of making it to the quarter-final.

    The match was played at the Emirates Stadium.

  • Alex Smith

    Balogun back?

    Arsenal are considering a recall for on-loan striker Folarin Balogun following the injury blow to Gabriel Jesus, according to reports.

    Jesus, 25, underwent surgery on his knee after jetting back to the UK on Sunday from Brazil's World Cup camp in order to be evaluated by club doctors.

    Eddie Nketiah is the now the only recognised senior striker at the club, but Mikel Arteta does not want to leave himself so short of firepower at a pivotal point of the season.

    This could lead him to cut short the loan of Balogun at Ligue 1 outfit Reims, according to 90min.

    The 21-year-old has been in impressive form during his loan spell, netting eight goals in 15 appearances.

    His development has indicated to the Gunners he would be able to provide cover for Nketiah, particularly in competitions such as the FA Cup and Europa League.

  • Alex Smith

    Saka reveals Henry support

    Bukayo Saka has said that Arsenal legend Thierry Henry offered him support after he missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final shootout.

    The winger suffered racial abuse as a result but has responded in fine fashion netting three times at this year's World Cup.

    Saka said on Henry's help: "'It meant everything.

    "He showed a lot of character to obviously get my number and reach out to me.

    "It's not just from that moment. After most Arsenal games he reaches out to me and he's still so passionate about the club.

    "He's an amazing person."

  • Alex Smith

    Gunners want the 'next Messi'

    Arsenal are reportedly interested in a 15-year-old from Brazil dubbed 'Messinho' named Estevao Willian.

    The Palmeiras attacker has Barcelona and PSG monitoring him but he will not be allowed to leave until 2025 due to rules regarding the signing of young players.

    He is not the only Palmeiras star attracting attention from top clubs, as Real Madrid chase 16-year-old Endrick worth £60m.

  • Alex Smith

    Arsenal Women ahead

    Arsenal's women team are in action against Juventus in the Champions League group stage.

    And the Gunners are ahead after 32 minutes thanks to a goal by star striker Vivianne Miedema.

    The match is being played at the Emirates.

  • Alex Smith

    EXCLUSIVE: Mudryk plans shelved

    Arsenal could have to postpone their planned January transfer swoop for Mykhailo Mudryk after news Gabriel Jesus could be sidelined long-term.

    The Gunners have been dealt a huge blow to their title hopes with the star facing months out after surgery on his knee.

    The injury could force Mikel Arteta to go back into the transfer market to sign another striker to continue challenging Manchester City for the title.

    Arsenal spent £120million in the summer but only have one other out-and-out striker in the squad, Eddie Nketiah.

    They are keen on signing Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mudryk, 21, but may have to rethink their plans as the Ukrainian is not a centre forward.

  • Alex Smith

    Saka contacts Jesus

    Bukayo Saka has been in contact with team-mate Gabriel Jesus after it was announced he would need surgery on his knee.

    Jesus hurt himself while on international duty with Brazil at the World Cup and he could now be sidelined for months.

    Saka admitted it was disastrous news: ""He's a very, very, very important player for us.

    "It's not good to hear the news, obviously I've messaged him. It was definitely not good news when I heard that."

  • Alex Smith

    Per-many

    Arsenal are facing a battle to keep hold of academy manager Per Mertesacker, according to reports.

    That’s because Germany want the former Gunners defender to become their new sporting director following their World Cup exit.

    Hansi Flick’s side came within one goal of reaching the knockout stages, but ultimately paid the price for losing to Japan in their opener.

    As a result, the German FA are looking to shake things up before they host Euro 2024.

    And Sky in Germany believe they want Mertesacker to replace Oliver Bierhoff, who resigned from his post after their nightmare in Qatar.

    They want the 38-year-old to develop the next crop of young players after failing to reach the a quarter-final in every major tournament since 2016.

  • Alex Smith

    Arsenal chase Milinkovic-Savic

    According to shock reports, Arsenal are ready to go all out to sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

    The Lazio midfielder has been one of the standout players in Serie A across the last few seasons and he featured for Serbia at the World Cup.

    Mikel Arteta is desperate to bolster his options as the Gunners fight for the title with Man City.

    Juventus are also keen but he could cost over £100million with Lazio believing he is one of the best in the world.

  • Alex Smith

    Wright slams Souness over Giroud comments

    Arsenal legend Ian Wright has fired shots at Graeme Souness after he admitted he doesn't rate Olivier Giroud.

    Souness claimed he had a "huge slice of luck" in his career for Karim Benzema being not involved in many France's teams and hit out at what he saw as not enough goals and him failing to net in the last World Cup.

    Wright responded talking to The Ringer podcast: "We have to give Giroud praise. He’s broken Henry’s [all-time France goalcoring record] and long may that last, although it won’t be long with the way Kylian Mbappe is going.

    “The thing with Giroud, you see the total lack of respect he gets. Graeme Souness was so disrespectful to him as a player and his goalscoring record. He didn’t give him any credit.

    “This guy was in the third tier of French football at 21. Arsene Wenger has said Giroud has had to earn every single thing he’s done to this point.

    “All Souness was saying was 'he didn’t hit the target in the 2018 World Cup'. Giroud is essential to every team he’s played in. Goals don’t define him.

    “This is what people like Graeme Souness don’t understand. He’s so integral to the team, he’s integral to what players like Mbappe and Dembele do.

    “I don’t think there’s a better target man in the world in the way that he links the play, and he scores goals."

    Credit: Reuters
  • Alex Smith

    13 Young Guns

    With many of the first-team away on World Cup duty, manager Mikel Arteta has called up a number of talent youngsters, 13 to be exact, to the squad for friendlies.

    Arsenal play Lyon and AC Milan in the Dubai Super Cup.

    And those from the academy involved in the team are:

    Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Catalin Cirjan, Taylor Foran, Hubert Graczyk, James Hillson, Zane Monlouis, Charles Sagoe Jr, Matt Smith, Myles Lewis-Skelly, Ethan Nwaneri, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Lino Sousa and Reuell Walters

  • Alex Smith

    Return of the Lac

    Arsenal take on Lyon in a mid-season friendly tomorrow in the Dubai Super Cup.

    And they are set to see a familiar face on the pitch with Alexandre Lacazette starring for the French side.

    The ex-Gunner has been scoring for fun in Ligue 1 netting nine goals in 15 matches.

  • Alex Smith

    Back in action

    It's been nearly a month since Arsenal fans got to see their team play due to the World Cup break.

    But luckily, the league leaders are back in action tomorrow in Abu Dhabi for a friendly against French side Lyon.

    The match kick-offs at 15:30 – a perfect way for supporters to fill another empty day with no World Cup games scheduled tomorrow.

  • Alex Smith

    Xhaka devastated for Jesus

    Granit Xhaka has revealed he is saddened to hear that Gabriel Jesus requires new surgery and has offered his full support to him during his recovery.

    Xhaka said: "I spoke with him [Jesus] straight after the Cameroon game [where he went off injured].

    We have contact with each other, with all the players we have here in the World Cup.

    "It’s a shame because you saw in the first round of the Premier League how important he is for us. I don’t know how big the injury is, maybe two or three months, I think.

    "But he is a strong guy. He knows that we are behind him and hopefully we can get him back as quick as possible."

  • Alex Smith

    Xhaka on Nketiah

    Following yesterday's news that Gabriel Jesus will have to undergo knee surgery that could see him out for three months – the pressure is now on Eddie Nketiah.

    Granit Xhaka was asked about the situation and he said that the academy graduate needs to be ready to play a "big, big part" in the title race.

    The 23-year-old was nearly let go last season but managed to get a new contract after scoring five goals in seven matches towards the end of the season.

  • Kostas Lianos

    Prem clubs eye Ghana ace

    Ajax star and Arsenal target Mohammed Kudus is repeatedly linked with a move away from Amsterdam.

    Kudus demonstrated his skillset during the 2022 World Cup and has given a reputation a huge boost.

    The Sun revealed earlier this week that the 22-year-old is open to a move to the Premier League.

    But the Ghana international has also been strongly linked with a potential transfer to Barcelona.

    The midfielder hit two goals in Ghana’s three World Cup games and four goals in six Champions League games for Ajax.

  • Kostas Lianos

    Xhak at it

    Granit Xhaka is flying straight to Dubai to join his Arsenal team-mates after being dumped out of the 2022 World Cup following Switzerland's 6-1 loss to Portugal in the Last 16.

    But rather than head back home to London, Xhaka is travelling to join the Gunners as he reckons he is more than ready to get the show back on the road with the table-topping North London outfit.

    Xhaka told the Evening Standard:"The Premier League is waiting and, of course, I wanted to be here longer than this. But we lost the game today and I am happy to go back now with the team.

    "Of course, emotionally it is not easy. But this is part of our business, part of football. I have something to achieve there, and I know the team is in Dubai at the moment doing the pre-season.

    "I’m flying back to Dubai, going back to the team, and going back to the training and trying to forget the tournament now"

    Credit: Rex
  • Kostas Lianos

    Joao Felix bidding war

    Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have entered a transfer war to sign Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix.

    This comes after reports that Felix has fallen out with Atletico manager Diego Simeone, with their relationship said to be beyond repair.

    According to Relevo, the Gunners, United and the Blues are all in the running for the forward's signature.

    But the Portugal international, who's scored once and assisted twice in four games at the World Cup, will cost around £120million

  • Kostas Lianos

    Pumped for Pep

    Arsenal and Chelsea are due to battle it out for Porto star Pepe, who was first linked with the Gunners back in the summer.

    However, the winger's hefty price tag put off Mikel Arteta from making a moving.

    But scouts have continued monitoring the 25-year-old's progress this term, and a fresh report has claimed that both the Gunners and the Blues have been blown away by his performances.

    According to A Bola, the Brazilian allegedly left their talent spotters “with their mouths open”.

    And they are not the only clubs considering a move. as Juventus are now believed to have placed him on their wishlist

    But Porto are holding out for at least £65million for Pepe – which would trigger his release clause

  • Kostas Lianos

    Buk won't stop

    Arsenal star Bukayo Saka used to regularly score goals at the World Cup — before waking up.

    Now, Saka is making his mark on the biggest stage, having already scored three times, and has his sights firmly set on France.

    Set to earn his 24th cap in Saturday’s quarter-final against the world champions, here is a player who really is living that dream.

    Saka said: “I always allow myself to dream. Having watched the tournament as well growing up, I have a lot of memories. I remember South Africa 2010, the famous song (Shakira’s Waka-Waka) — it’s an amazing song.

    “Things like that stick with you forever and as a kid, I just woke up after a dream and thought ‘I want to do this for real. I want to score a goal in a World Cup’. Now, of course, we have to believe we can win the World Cup. Right now, our focus is on the next game, France.

    “I think it’s about finding the right balance because obviously it’s not just a normal game, it’s a World Cup quarter-final. At the same time, you need to prepare and do the same things the way you normally do so you don’t overthink and get too nervous.

    “It has been a great experience so far, to achieve what I have and help my team with the goals I have scored is a really nice feeling”

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