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Arsenal Round-Up: Brazilian midfielder on radar, Battle for Benfica defender, Message to Leno



Arsenal are preparing to return for Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz during the winter transfer window.

The North London giants attempted to secure the services of the Brazilian in the latter stages of the summer market, with the team believed to have had at least two offers turned down, with their final bid believed to be in the region of £25m.


Aston Villa are believed to have made it clear that they would not sell for under £30m, which is a figure that the North London outfit were not prepared to meet.



Arsenal head-coach Mikel Arteta revealed late in the window that the injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny led to a late scramble for a new playmaker.


“We had a lot of things still to do in the squad. The club has done a phenomenal job of bringing in players that we wanted,” Arteta told reporters.




“Unfortunately, in the last 72 hours, Thomas [Partey] and Mohamed [Elneny] got injured, and we had to react in the market. We tried, and at the end of the day, we have to bring in the players we feel are right, but we didn’t manage to do it.”



Aston Villa head-coach Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, said at the end of the transfer window that he had no concerns over the player’s attitude moving forward.

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“Knowing the boy and the player, I doubt it (whether Luiz would lose focus). I’ve got confidence he’ll understand the situation and the club’s decision that we didn’t want to lose a very important player and a top player so late on in the window,” Gerrard told reporters.



“From a personal point of view, I very much back the club’s decision and stance on that. I spoke to Dougie face-to-face yesterday, he understood where it was at and the position that the club was in, and he very much respects the decision.


“Hopefully, it’ll calm down in the hours and days coming, and he’ll be fine moving forward.”



Arsenal and Newcastle United eyeing move for 26-year-old Benfica star


Arsenal and Newcastle United are reportedly ready to battle one another for the services of Benfica defender Alex Grimaldo in January.



The 26-year-old star has entered the final year of his deal with the Portuguese giants, who were expected to sanction a cut-price sale in the summer transfer window.


However, Grimaldo has stayed on the books at Benfica, who are at risk of losing the Spanish defender on a free transfer at the end of the campaign.



Grimaldo will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign teams from January, or alternatively, interested parties could try to strike a deal for a nominal fee over the winter.

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The Gunners were linked with a move for Grimaldo in the summer before moving for Ukrainian left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, however, TuttoJuve reports that the North London giants still hold an interest in the Spaniard.



Mikel Arteta currently has Tierney and Zinchenko as his left-back options, with Tavares joining Marseille on a season-long loan, however, Grimaldo’s versatility could appeal to his compatriot.


The 26-year-old defender is capable of featuring further up the field on the left-hand side and has even deputised in central midfield – an area where the Gunners are short – on a handful of occasions.



However, should the North London giants want to win the race for Grimaldo’s signature, the report adds that they will have to fend off interest from Newcastle and Juventus in January.


Grimaldo left Barcelona’s youth setup in January 2016 to join Benfica, where he has scored 20 goals and provided 52 assists in 259 games across all tournaments.



“I’m really surprised” – Arteta reacts to Bernd Leno’s comments about playing time


Arsenal head-coach Mikel Arteta has been left “really surprised” by comments ex-goalkeeper Bernd Leno made about his exit from the club.



The now-Fulham keeper fell down the pecking order behind Ramsdale in the 2021-22 campaign and only made one Premier League games after the end of August.

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With his deal set to expire in 2023, the Gunners accepted a cut-price fee from Marco Silva’s side for the sale of Leno, who was relegated to third choice behind Matt Turner this summer and made an expected exit four years after arriving from Bayer Leverkusen.



The Gunners only received an upfront payment of £3m for the Germany international, which could rise to £8m if all add-ons are hit, and he recently claimed that “politics” played a part in his departure.


“When I realised that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew that I had to go,” Leno told Sport BILD. “In preparation, I saw that it is not about performance, but only about politics. It was clear to me: I had to get out of here.”



“The most important thing for me is to find my rhythm again. Especially after I wasn’t actually able to train properly at Arsenal and had no preparation. It’s up to me to get the focus back on the national team.”


“I’m really surprised and I don’t know if he’s talking about the politics when he was starting every match or when he wasn’t playing. Really surprised about it,” quotes Arteta as saying.



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