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Arsenal news: Triple injury boost ahead of Newcastle, Mari debut delayed, Cazorla transfer talks

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It’s Saturday! The wait to see Arsenal back in action is almost over.

Tomorrow afternoon marks the return of Premier League football in N5 for the first time since the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United last month and the Gunners’ first game since drawing a blank against Burnley.

Since the trip to Turf Moor, Mikel Arteta’s squad have been in Dubai for a spot of warm-weather training where January loan signings Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares were integrated.

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But it’s now the business end of the season. The north London outfit are in with a chance of winning two trophies as well as sealing a return to the Champions League following a three-year absence.

Although, it’s looking likely that they’ll have to win the Europa League in order to be at Europe’s top table once again as they currently trail Chelsea by 10 points which makes the Newcastle game essentially a must-win one.

With that said, here’s all the news from around the Emirates Stadium over the past 24 hours.

Pablo Mari blow

Pablo Mari’s Arsenal debut has been delayed.

The Spaniard joined up with the squad for their four-day warm-weather training camp in Dubai. However, Sunday afternoon’s game at the Emirates Stadium comes too soon for the central defender.

As revealed by Arsenal.com, Mari is aiming to be available for selection against Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday where he could make his bow in Arsenal colours.



Pablo Mari will spend the rest of the 2019/20 season at Arsenal

“In full training following transfer from Brazilian pre-season,” a statement reads. “Aiming to be available for selection for Olympiacos (a).”

Mari last played a competitive game in December when his Flamengo side were beaten 1-0 by Liverpool in the final of the Club World Championship which means he is still short of match sharpness.

Triple injury boost

However, there is some fantastic news for Arteta ahead of Newcastle’s visit.

Sead Kolasniac and Reiss Nelson who have both missed the last four games across all competitions with thigh and hamstring injuries respectively are available for selection.

As is Bukayo Saka after he had to be replaced at half-time during the goalless draw against Burnley before the winter break.



Reiss Nelson will be available for selection after the winter break

Kieran Tierney is ahead of schedule following a shoulder operation as he is now aiming to be back in full training by the end of the month after his initial return date was March.

That leaves Calum Chambers as the one long-term absentee.

Cazorla transfer talks

Santi Cazorla has confirmed that Arsenal are interested in Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze and Pau Torres.

“Yeah, mainly my Arsenal friends,”Cazorla told Marca. “They ask me about them and they think that they can make the jump to the Premier League soon.

“It’s good that big clubs are interested in the young players at Villarreal but, for the moment, I’m asking them to let them stay here. They still have to make more steps [in their development].



(L-R) Gerard Moreno, Pau Torres, Santi Cazorla and Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal celebrate (Image: Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

“Those two have great personalities and their feet are on the ground.

“In Pau’s case, I’m constantly hearing talk about Manchester City or Barcelona, but he knows that he has to keep improving as a player and we’ll see how far he can go in the future.”

Saka contract update

Mikel Arteta has addressed the rumours surrounding Bukayo Saka’s contract with the club.

The 18-year-old, who has been a key part of Arsenal’s season, will enter the last year of his current deal in the summer and has been linked with moves to Liverpool and Manchester United.

As expected but the Gunners are hoping he will commit his long-term future to the club as Arteta has insisted he has been impressed with the progress Saka has made along with the other Arsenal youngsters and feels new contracts are part of the rewards they deserve.



Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal at Vitality Stadium

“I’m really happy with how they (the young players) are developing,” he said.

“Part of their development is to improve their contract and tie them to the club but I have to follow a natural process.

“We have Raul (Sanllehi), we have Edu (Gaspar), Vinai (Venkatesham) and Huss (Fahmy) who are in charge of that and I’m sure we will do the right thing when players deserve improved contracts.”

Nelson praises Arteta

Reiss Nelson is convinced Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta can develop him into a top player.

The 20-year-old, who is available for this weekend’s clash with Newcastle United following injury, has been a regular starter since the Spaniard returned to the Emirates Stadium in December, starting three of the first five games under Arteta.

Arteta has been credited for his previous work as Pep Guardiola’s assistant head coach at Manchester City. Most notably for helping to transform Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane into world class forwards, and unsurprisingly Nelson is hoping to benefit from the Spaniard’s coaching methods.



Mikel Arteta giving Reiss Nelson advice after his managerial debut vs Bournemouth

“It is crazy because you look at Sterling and Sane and you see them before at their previous teams, they weren’t doing what they do now,” Nelson said. “I think that is credit to Pep, of course, but Mikel as well because they said he did a lot of one-to-one work with them.

“You can see it because Mikel’s drive is different. I haven’t seen a manager with that much determination to make individuals into better players.

“I have all my belief in Mikel and I think he is going to make me into a top player.”




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