Walcott in Line for First-Team Return, Arsenal Lead Halilovic Race, PL Quintet Want Cerci, Cazorla Hails Ozil…

Walcott in Line for First-Team Return

Theo Walcott is edging towards full fitness and is expected to feature in Arsenal’s upcoming league clash with Southampton at the Emirates.

The 24-year-old winger picked up an abdominal injury in September and has been out of action ever since. However, he has now resumed full-training and is all set to return to first-team football this weekend.

More good news for the Gunners is that Lukas Podolski is also nearing full-fitness and could soon join Walcott in Arsene Wenger’s squad.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s absence from Wales’ international friendly against Finland is also nothing serious. He should be fit for the clash with the Saints.


Arsenal Lead Halilovic Race

Arsenal FC are tracking Dinamo Zagreb’s talented midfielder Alen Halilovic, who had previously looked set to move to Tottenham Hotspur. (The Express)

The 17-year-old Croatian came close to joining Spurs on several occasions in the past but a deal never formally materialised. And now the Gunners purportedly want to punish their North London neighbours by swooping for the player themselves.

It’s believed that CSKA Moscow and Bayern Munich are also interested in signing the pint-sized playmaker, but coach Arsene Wenger’s proven history of developing young talent into World Class performers could make the player choose Arsenal over others.


PL Quintet Want Cerci

Torino winger Alessio Cerci is purportedly wanted by five Premier League clubs, including Arsenal. (The Daily Star)

Cerci, 26, has been in brilliant form in Serie A this season, scoring eight times in just 12 games, which is why he has become a target for the PL quintet. The other four clubs interested in him are Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Torino want to keep Cerci and are willing to offer him a contract extension, but the player has so far resisted their advances.


Cazorla Hails Ozil ‘Magic’

Santi Cazorla has hailed Mesut Ozil for the influential role he has played in Arsenal’s rise to the top of the Barclays Premier League table.

The Spaniard – who himself is a gifted playmaker – believes that the German’s special ability on the ball is the reason why the Gunners lead the PL at the moment.

Speaking to El Pais, Cazorla said: “He brings us something different, because he’s all talent, what he does is magic. It seems like he’s not there and then he changes a game with one control, one pass.

“It surprised us that he came to Arsenal, because you don’t expect him to leave Madrid and then choose our team. For us he’s a gift.”

About the team’s overall improvement, he added: “We’ve matured, I think. It’s nice to see yourself top, it gives you strength and confidence, but there’s a long way to go.

“We had to be more consistent and we are now, that is a defect that we have corrected. The team is not as ‘innocent’, we are committing fewer errors. Last year, through forgetfulness or lack of concentration, we lost games stupidly and we have learned from that.”


Roma Keen On Arsenal Target Pastore

Arsenal FC will face competition from AS Roma and Liverpool in their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore. (The Daily Star)

The Argentine playmaker struggles for regular playing time at Parc des Princes despite his obvious talents. He has started just six games for his club this season, and if his situation doesn’t improve much, he could seek a transfer for the sake of keeping his place in the Argentina national squad ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Arsenal inquired about Pastore’s availability on the final day of the summer transfer window before landing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. AS Roma are very keen to offer the former Palermo man a way back to Serie A, because of which, coach Arsene Wenger could reignite their interest in him.

Fenerbahce are also believed to be monitoring Pastore’s situation.


Brownhill Wants Preston Stay

Arsenal FC are among a host of clubs tracking Preston North End’s talented midfielder Josh Brownhill. (Sky Sports)

The 17-year-old prodigy scored the winning goal on his full debut for the Lilywhites in a League One game last month and got himself noticed by sides from higher divisions. He is not on a professional contract with his club, which makes him an even attractive project for his suitors.

The player, however, wants to stay faithful to his club and is willing to negotiate a long-term deal.

Josh is very happy at Preston having made his debut and wants to repay the manager, club and fans for their faith in him,” Brownhill’s rep told Sky.

We will hold talks with the club over a professional deal for him and that is all we can say at the moment.”

Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Fulham, Stoke, Swansea and Southampton are some of the other clubs interested in acquiring Brownhill’ services.

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