For Unai Emery, the chase to sign Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha continues — but he has time to focus on the players he already has at his disposal when Arsenal host French outfit Lyon in the Emirates Cup on Sunday.
Wing wizard Zaha, who is aged 26, remains the target with the Eagles said to be holding out for a fee of up to £80million and the Gunners willing to go no further than a transfer for around £50million. No doubt the two London clubs will meet somewhere in the middle and we can all get on with being excited with the impending start of the new Premier League season.
In between, Spanish coach Emery has already sealed the deal on a season-long loan for midfielder Dani Ceballos, who is switching to north London from Real Madrid. Of course, Emery has also secured the services of £30million defender William Saliba and he will spend next season on loan in Ligue 1 with Saint-Étienne, from whom he signed. Emery says the Gunners overcame stiff competition to grab the young defender, and added:
“We’re really delighted William is joining us. Many teams wanted him but he decided he wanted to come to us and be part of our future. He will stay in France next season for more experience and then we look forward to him joining our group.”
The former will feature against Lyon on Sunday, the latter will not doubt take in the game as a spectator. For Emery, it is a chance to get back in touch with the Arsenal supporters after the club enjoyed a successful tour of the USA. He told the club’s official website:
“I think the first time on the pitch with our supporters — even though it’s a friendly match — is very important because I think it’s the first moment you can show them every player who is playing with us. I am looking forward to being with our supporters at Emirates Stadium again this pre-season against Olympique Lyonnais. They are a team with very young players, a big team in France and in Europe, known for playing with big performances.”
After the Emirates Cup, Arsenal head off to France to play Angers in yet another pre-season friendly match and then wing their way to Barcelona to take on the Nou Camp giants in the final summer encounter on August 4. Then the real action starts and the Gunners kick off their top-flight campaign with a trip to St James’ Park where they take on Newcastle before hosting Burnley in the first Premier League match of the season at the Emirates Stadium a week later.