Confirmed: Nikolaj Moller returns to Den Bosch

Arsenal have confirmed that 19-year-old striker Nikolaj Moller will return to Dutch second-tier side Den Bosch for the 22/23 campaign.

The Sweden under-20 international spent the second half of last season on loan with the the Blue White Dragons scoring twice in 11 appearances.

Moller had earlier spent six months in Germany with Viktoria Koln where he scored three goals in 13 appearances before his departure in January. 

Reflecting on the signing of Moller, Den Bosch’s technical manager Jan Gösgens said: “Nikolaj has shown that he has a lot of potential. Last season he showed beautiful things at times. 

“Because he has been able to get used to it for six months, I expect more from him. I am very happy that we were able to keep Nikolaj with us for longer.”

Best of luck to Nikolaj in Holland.

Confirmed: Sunderland sign Daniel Ballard on permanent deal

Daniel Ballard has completed a move to Sunderland for a reported £2 million fee.

The 22-year-old centre-back moves to the Stadium of Light on a four-year deal having progressed through the ranks at Hale End and London Colney since joining the club at the age of 8.

While Ballard never got the chance to make his Arsenal debut, he has become a regular for Northern Ireland in the last couple of years off the back of very impressive loan spells in League One and the Championship with Blackpool and Millwall respectively.

This time last week it looked as though Ballard was going to join Vincent Kompany’s Burnley only for a move to fall through at the last minute. He was subsequently approached by a number of clubs, including Sheffield United, but has ultimately opted to join Alex Neil’s newly-promoted Black Cats.

Best of luck to Daniel in his new surroundings.

Elneny nominated for 2022 CAF Player of the Year award

Mohamed Elneny’s form for club and country in 2022 has earned him a place on the 30-man shortlist for the CAF Player of the Year award.

The midfielder was central to Egypt’s run to the final of the African Cup of Nations in January – they ultimately lost to Senegal on penalties – and proved his worth for Arsenal, providing backup to Thomas Partey, who isn’t nominated, in the closing months of last season’s Premier League.

Elneny has since been awarded a new contract at the Emirates having previously looked a nailed on candidate to leave.

While it’s fair to say the 29-year-old is a long shot for a place on the CAF POTY podium, he can take pride at being nominated alongside some stellar names.

Nice one, Mo.

2022 CAF POTY Nominees

Riyad Mahrez
Bertrand Traore
Blati Toure
Edmund Tapsoba
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
Karl Toko Ekambi
Vincent Aboubacar
Youssouf M’Changama
Franck Kessie
Sebastien Haller
Mohamed Abdelmonem
Mohamed Elneny
Mohamed Salah
Mohamed El Shenawy
Musa Barrow
Naby Keita
Aliou Dieng
Hamari Traore
Yves Bissouma
Achraf Hakimi
Sofiane Boufal
Yahya Jabrane
Yassine Bounou
Moses Simon
Edouard Mendy
Kalidou Koulibaly
Nampalys Mendy
Sadio Mane
Saliou Ciss
Ali Maaloul

Salah-Eddine determined to impress in pre-season

It is expected that a host of Arsenal youngsters will be afforded opportunities to impress in the early stages of pre-season, with Salah-Eddine among the prospects determined to make an impact.

After an injury ravaged first campaign at the club, last season was considerably better for Salah-Eddine, who established himself as a key figure for the U23s and also got on the bench for the first-team.

In addition to having excellent technique, Salah-Eddine is also prepared to work hard defensively and the 18-year-old won’t be fazed by the demands of senior football.

Usually deployed as a central midfielder, he is also capable of making an impact as a winger and can be especially effective when cutting in from the right flank.

Salah-Eddine isn’t afraid to go for goal from distance or from difficult angles and while not everything he tries comes to fruition, he is often a very entertaining player to watch.

The problem that Salah-Eddine faces is that competition for places among young midfielders at Arsenal is fierce, with Charlie Patino and Miguel Azeez also part of the group that has been training with the first-team in the early stages of pre-season.

Salah-Eddine will be determined to make an impact, though, and he certainly has the qualities to fulfil that objective.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

 

Report: Black Cats to benefit from Burnley’s Ballard balls-up

According to various reports, Daniel Ballard has undertaken a medical at Sunderland and should sign a contract at the Stadium of Light in the next 24 hours.

The deal with the Black Cats comes just four days after a proposed move to Burnley collapsed at the last minute*.

Newly promoted to the Championship, Alex Neil’s side have done well to beat off stiff competition from several other suitors including Sheffield United.

Blackpool and Millwall, for whom Ballard has played on loan in the last two seasons, were also hopeful of a reunion with the 22-year-old.

Burnley were rumoured to be willing to pay £2 million so we’re assuming Sunderland are stumping up a similar fee.

Whether the Gunners, who rate Ballard highly, have been able to slip in a clause allowing us to match any future bids remains unclear. Apparently, that was on the cards when we were dealing with the Clarets.

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* We have no idea if they ballsed up the deal, but we’re not going to let the truth get in the way of alliteration.

Pre-season training begins at London Colney

Arsenal’s pre-season preparations have officially begun with Mikel Arteta and his assistants welcoming the first wave of senior players back to London Colney.

While the majority of the squad – those who’ve been on international duty since the final game of the last campaign – aren’t expected back until early next week, there were still plenty of familiar faces taking part in the first session.

Ben White, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric, Rob Holding, Sambi Lokonga, Nicolas Pepe and Thomas Partey – back from the injury that ruled him out of the final weeks of the 21/22 campaign – were all involved.

Several players who spent last season out on loan were also welcomed back into the fold including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Hector Bellerin, Reiss Nelson, Pablo Mari and Folarin Balogun.

Making up the numbers were several academy prospects, including a bulked-up Charlie Patino. He along with Miguel Azeez, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Omari Hutchinson, Zach Awe and Marcelo Flores will be hoping they get to be involved with upcoming training camps in Germany and the USA.

As far as we can tell, none of the new boys – Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira or Matt Turner – were there, but we expect they will be next week.

Amazingly, it’s only nine days until our first friendly with Nurnberg after which the boys will decamp Stateside for further matches with Everton, Orlando City and Chelsea.

An Emirates Cup showdown with Sevilla will round things off and before you know it we’ll be 2-0 down to Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace in the season opener on 5 August.

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For pictures of the lads in action, head to the official website. 

Torreira: No chance of me staying at Arsenal

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It was widely expected that after a successful loan spell with Fiorentina last season, Lucas Torreira would join the Serie A side on a permanent basis.

The two clubs had agreed to a €15m option to purchase at the end of the season, but Fiorentina offered less than half of that to Arsenal, and understandably that was outright rejected.

Any chance of reconciliation or negotiation was put to bed earlier this month when the Uruguay international penned a goodbye to the fans, and since then has been left in limbo with regards to his future.

However, any suggestion he might stay and fight for a place in North London has been shot down, as he made clear his desire to leave stems from being told there was no role for him in Mikel Arteta’s current set-up.

Speaking to local press, Torreira said, “Chances of staying? None.

“From the beginning they told me that I had no place, so my desire is not either to stay since I suffered a lot, it cost me a lot to adapt.”

The Gunners are looking to recoup as much of the €28m spent on him when he joined from Fiorentina in 2018, and he continued, “Any team that wants me has to buy my contract, which today has a value of approximately €15 million.”

The 26 year old has previously expressed a desire to play for Boca Juniors, but given their record transfer remains the £10m paid for Juan Román Riquelme from Villarreal in 2008, it seems very unlikely they’ll come anywhere close to that for Torreira.

It’s a headache Arsenal could have done without, but such are the vagaries of the transfer market, and it remains to be seen where Torreira ends up this summer. It feels like this is one that could drag on late into the window.

Report: Atletico Madrid interested in Bellerin

According to Spanish publication El Des Marque, Atletico Madrid are in early talks with Arsenal to sign Hector Bellerin.

The report claims the full-back continues to favour a return to Real Betis, where he spent the 21/22 campaign, but that interest from Diego Simeone’s side is likely to put an already unlikely deal with the Andalusians further out of reach.

While Bellerin is said to be open to sacrificing some of his salary to continue his journey at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, Atletico have more cash to play with and can offer the carrot of Champions League football.

Whether Atletico can come up with a transfer fee that tickles Edu’s fancy remains to be seen.

In recent years when it’s become obvious that high-earners weren’t likely to see much action, we’ve tended to throw in the towel.

Earlier in the summer, there were suggestions that AS Roma were also interested in signing Bellerin. As it so often does with the Stadio Olimpico outfit, it’s all gone a bit quiet on that front.

Elsewhere, Kicker (via GGFN) claim PSV Eindhoven have registered interest in Bernd Leno. The 30-year-old goalkeeper already has an offer on the table from Fulham although an agreement with Arsenal is yet to be reached.

Turner reflects on “tricky” wait for Arsenal move

Matt Turner may have had to wait for official confirmation of his move to Arsenal but he says the club have been doing what they can to make him feel part of the first team squad since a deal was originally struck with New England Revolution back in February.

Tempering the excitement of a high-profile move to London, the USA international has had to contend with an untimely hairline crack in his foot that ruled him out of the opening two months of the MLS season. He eventually returned to action in May for five games before cautiously riding out his final month as a Revolution player without getting on the pitch.

During that time, the likes of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsdale and goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana all contacted the American to help smooth his transition to life on this side of the pond.

Speaking to Arsenal.com, Turner confirmed chats with the boss: “Of course, yeah, we’ve been in contact over the past few months, he checked in on me a few times, and we’ve started to develop that relationship.

“Him as well yeah, pretty close contact,” he said of Inaki Cana’s role.

“Especially once I was back playing games, looking at some things, some clips and just talking about games, and looking at training clips, and those kinds of things, so the back and forth was really, really nice, so again that’s another way of just feeling like I was part of the club, even though I wasn’t here in north London.”

He added: “It [the wait] was a little tricky at times, but the good thing was I got to follow along the tail-end of last season and watch every game Arsenal was playing, and really feel like I was a part of it which was interesting, but I did have a slight injury that kept me out for a bit so really my focus in this past few months was just getting back to full fitness, and then playing some games to get a rhythm, and that’s leading nicely into the start of pre-season here.”

While Turner admits he arrives at the Emirates as backup to Aaron Ramsdale, he’s intent on pushing the England international to new heights. It appears a relationship is already growing between the pair.

“Yeah, he and I have been in contact,” said Turner. “He checked in on me, make sure I’m settling in well.

“He seems like a great guy, I’m looking forward to not only getting to know him, but making him a better goalkeeper and to pushing him to be his best.”

The new boy won’t have to wait too long before a return to the States. After a couple of weeks training at London Colney, Arsenal head to Baltimore and Orlando for a trio of pre-season friendlies.

“I’m very excited to get back to the States, show the guys around, tell them what I know about those areas and it will be a nice way for me to integrate into the group, right, to get to know the guys a little bit better and just to have that immediate connection. That and the fact we drew England in the World Cup!”

Arsenal Women at Euro 2022: A Guide

Euro 2022 is set to kick off in England on Wednesday, 8th July as a sold out Old Trafford crowd watches the tournament curtain raiser between England and Austria. That game will feature six Arsenal players across the two squads, with 12 Gunners players representing their country at the tournament. In addition, defender Rafaelle Souza will represent Brazil at the Copa America.

Here is a rundown of all of the Arsenal players at the tournament and their respective schedules.

ENGLAND
Leah Williamson will skipper England on home soil, with Beth Mead, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Nikita Parris also in the squad.

AUSTRIA
Goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger and right-back Laura Wienroither have been called up for Austria.

SWITZERLAND
Lia Wälti will captain the Swiss, with right-back Noelle Maritz also a key member of the squad.

NETHERLANDS
It won’t come as any kind of shock that Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands’ record goal scorer, will represent the defending champions.

NORWAY
Midfielder Frida Maanum has been selected for England’s group stage opponents.

DENMARK
Defender Simone Boye Sorensen has been called up for Denmark.

SWEDEN
Back-to-back Olympic silver medalists Sweden boast Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius in their ranks.

Here are the games and the times that you can watch Arsenal players in action at Euro 2022. The games will all be shown live across the BBC in the UK.

Wednesday, 6th July, 8pm @ Old Trafford
England (Williamson, Mead, Wubben-Moy and Parris) v Austria (Zinsberger and Wienroither)

Thursday, 7th July, 8pm @ St. Mary’s Stadium
Norway (Maanum) v Northern Ireland

Friday, 8th July, 8pm @ Brentford Community Stadium
Germany v Denmark (Boye)

Saturday, 9th July, 5pm @ Leigh Sports Village
Portugal v Switzerland (Wälti and Maritz)

Saturday, 9th July, 8pm @ Bramall Lane
Netherlands (Miedema) v Sweden (Blackstenius)

Monday, 11th July, 5pm @ St.Mary’s Stadium
Austria (Zinsberger and Wienroither) v Northern Ireland

Monday, 11th July, 8pm @ AMEX Stadium
England (Williamson, Mead, Wubben-Moy and Parris) v Norway (Maanum)

Tuesday, 12th July, 5pm @ Stadium MK
Denmark (Boye) v Finland

Wednesday, 13th July, 5pm @ Bramall Lane
Sweden (Blackstenius) v Switzerland (Wälti and Maritz)

Wednesday, 13th July, 8pm @ Leigh Sports Village
Netherlands (Miedema) v Portugal

Friday, 15th July, 8pm @ AMEX Stadium
Austria (Zinsberger and Wienroither) v Norway (Maanum)

Friday, 15th July, 8pm @ St.Mary’s Stadium
England (Williamson, Mead, Wubben-Moy and Parris) v Northern Ireland

Saturday, 16th July, 8pm @ Brentford Community Stadium
Denmark (Boye) v Spain

Sunday, 17th July, 5pm @ Leigh Sports Village
Sweden (Blackstenius) v Portugal

Sunday, 17th July, 5pm @ Bramall Lane
Netherlands (Miedema) v Switzerland (Wälti and Maritz)

The final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 31st July at 5pm.

Rafaelle Souza will represent Brazil at the Copa America in Colombia. Here are the UK times for Brazil’s group games.

Sunday, 10th July @ 1am
Brazil v Argentina

Tuesday, 12th July @ 10pm
Brazil v Uruguay

Monday, 18th July @ 10pm
Venezuela v Brazil

Friday, 22nd July @ 1am
Peru v Brazil

The Copa America Final takes place at 1am UK on Sunday, 31st July.