Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is unlikely to make a move for Manchester City defender John Stones, despite media reports to the contrary.
Reports today suggest that Arteta will go in for the England centre-back in the summer after being told Stones was available for transfer by the Gunners boss’s former club City.
But although the Spanish coach at the Emirates Stadium knows the player very well from his time as No.2 to Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, he will be hugely reluctant to spend around £50million from his summer transfer budget on a player who has errors in him.
The stories circling the likelihood of Stones leaving City started when he fell over and gave Aston Villa the chance to score in the 2-1 triumph in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
Arteta has already boosted his back line with the capture of Spanish defender Pablo Mari on loan from Brazilian outfit Flamengo and he is more likely to make this loan move permanent in the summer rather than take a chance of Stones. He also already has William Saliba arriving in the summer from French side St Etienne.
Meanwhile, Arsenal fans face a scramble to put in place plans to trek up to Manchester City next Wednesday after the Premier League effectively ordered the Gunners and Guardiola’s side to play their re-arranged fixture at short notice. The Gunners were due to travel to the Etihad Stadium last Sunday but the game was postponed due to City’s involvement in the Carabao Cup final and Arteta’s men facing Pompey in the FA Cup on the Monday. Now the two teams will go head to head on Wednesday Match 11 with a kick-off time of 7.30pm.
Frustrated fan Ian Nicholson, who is a season ticket holder at the Emirates Stadium and travels all over to watch Arsenal, says he will miss the game because of the short notice.
“Fans have enough trouble trying to cope with the TV fixtures. We play on every day off the week and it is bad enough rescheduling life and work to get to games. The City game is beyond me attending simply because, like so many other miffed supporters, I already have plans in place for work.”
Arsenal still expect to see out their ticket allocation of around 3,000 with Gunners followers in the north west taking up the spare tickets available through London and the south supporters being unable to attend the match.
Another fixture on which supporters are waiting for a date is the quarter final of the FA Cup at Sheffield United after the Gunners were drawn against the Blades in last night’s draw. The game will take place in one of three days later this month; 20th, 21st or 22nd.