4.30pm Arsenal news LIVE: Ronaldo ‘almost joined Gunners’, Ozil £8m loyalty bonus, Chelsea wanted Partey transfer – The Sun

ARSENAL came 'painfully close' to landing Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003, it has been revealed.

Meanwhile, Thomas Partey was reportedly a target for Chelsea while the Gunners have reportedly stumped up an £8m loyalty bonus after failing to sell Mesut Ozil.

Follow ALL of the Gunners latest transfer news, updates and reaction below…

  • William Pugh

    Clubs could also make backdated requests to cover recently-finished work, allowing Spurs and Liverpool to cash in.

    Up to £250m would be available for teams who have been in the top flight for at least 12 of the last 15 seasons.

    And clubs who have been in the Premier League for four straight seasons or eight out of ten seasons could claim £100m.

    The measures would also allow Liverpool to get back half of the estimated £60m costs of the planned expansion of the Anfield Road Stand.

  • William Pugh

    CASHBACK

    Tottenham and Liverpool will be entitled to multi-million pound rebates for their stadium rebuilds under the small-print in Project Big Picture.

    Spurs would be eligible to claim back £125million of the £1billion cost of their new 62,000 capacity home at white Hart Lane.

    Liverpool, meanwhile, the joint architects of the package with Manchester United, could rake back £30m of the cost of their new main stand at Anfield.

    The news of the potential pay-outs will only add to the backlash by the 14 Premier League clubs left out of the loop.

    Under the proposals, a new 'infrastructure fund' worth £150m per year would be set aside from the Premier League revenue stream for 'assistance payments' for clubs embarking on stadium projects…

  • Jake Lambourne

    CRISTIAN-OH NO

    Arsene Wenger has revealed how painfully close Arsenal came to signing Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003.

    The then-Gunners chief revealed he 'had an agreement' with Sporting Lisbon to sign the Portuguese star in the summer before embarking on the famous 'Invincibles' season.

    Wenger revealed all after being asked if there were any players he regrets missing out on during his career.

    He told The Guardian: “I would say there is not one player… there are 50. We had an agreement with Sporting and Man Utd took Carlos Queiroz as assistant coach, and they just outbid us quickly and took Ronaldo.

    “But we had an agreement basically. He had the shirt of Arsenal, I had lunch with him and his mother at the training ground.

    “It’s one example but there were so many. The history of a big club is full of missed great players.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    GIFT OF THE GAB

    Gabriel Martinelli has revealed he is optimistic about what the future holds as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

    He told Arsenal's website: “I’m feeling very well, I’m regaining confidence and I can feel my knee is better.

    “After an injury like this you are kind of scared to force the knee again but the past couple of weeks it has been fine and soon I can start training with the ball.

    “I think we have an excellent squad and along with Mikel’s forward thinking and winning mentality we can carry on doing well.

    “We are playing well and training well, everyone wants to win and we are all giving everything. I believe this season is very promising.

    “We won trophies last season and I believe we can win this season again and also qualify for the Champions League.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    GUNNED DOWN

    Arsenal keeper Karl Hein had a moment to forget after an embarrassing gaffe only two minutes into Estonia's game with North Macedonia.

    The Gunners Under-18s keeper started for his country in an entertaining 3-3 draw in the Nations League game, but his night was marred by an error which gave the visitors the lead.

    Defender Marten Kuusk will also have to take a large part of the blame, as Estonia's evening began in embarrassing circumstances.

    Only two minutes into the game, and Kuusk received the ball from left-back Artur Pikk.

    Failing to spot a passing option ahead of him, he spun and immediately released the ball back towards the goal, where he expected the keeper to be.

    Unfortunately for goalie Hein, he had gone wide to provide an easier passing option, but Kuusk had not realised.

    Hein tried to sprint back to his goal but even a last ditch tackle couldn't prevent the ball going in.

  • Jake Lambourne

    MARI'S BACK

    Arsenal defender Pablo Mari is reportedly ready to start full training again.

    The Spaniard suffered ankle ligament damage against Manchester City last season, forcing him to miss the last nine games of the campaign.

    The injury has meant he has only made three first-team appearances for the club since joining on loan in January.

  • Jake Lambourne

    SUCCESS

    Arsenal have got off to a good start under Mikel Arteta, he's already contributed to one of the 14 FA Cups.

  • Jake Lambourne

    MADE A MES

    Arsenal have stumped up an £8million loyalty bonus after failing to sell Mesut Ozil, according to reports.

    The German playmaker remains an outcast under Mikel Arteta but could not be moved on during the autumn transfer window.

    Moves to MLS and Saudi Arabia were touted although Al-Nassr failed to convince Ozil after reportedly bidding £5m.

    And it has now emerged that Arsenal's failure to get rid of the 31-year-old had huge financial ramifications.

    According to The Athletic, the Gunners paid Ozil £8m at the end of September as a loyalty bonus for entering the final year of his contract.

    The clause was implemented when he agreed a new contract in January 2018, at the height of his spell in North London.

    It leaves the Gunners with a huge bill for a player who has not played competitively since March – and earns £350,000-a-week.

  • Jake Lambourne

    LEGEND

    View this post on Instagram

    Game 1️⃣ of 1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣5️⃣ 😲⁠ ⁠ #Arsenal #ArseneWenger #OTD #Wenger

    A post shared byArsenal Official (@arsenal) on

  • Jake Lambourne

    DION'S SORRY

    Popular pundit Dion Dublin has apologised to 'leader' Arsenal star David Luiz for 'giving him so much stick'.

    The former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Coventry star also vowed to 'be nice' to the Brazilian.

    He said: “Having given David Luiz so much stick over the years, I was at Wembley for the final and I was pitchside.

    “I was listening to David Luiz talk non-stop throughout the game.

    “You’re thinking ‘he’s a character’. ‘He’s a leader’.

    “He’s [Arteta] got another one now in Partey. He’s got another one upfront in Aubameyang. Maybe he’s building something where other players can work off.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    PARTEY POOPER

    Thomas Partey's father Jacob has revealed that Chelsea were keen on signing the midfielder from Atletico Madrid, but they lost out to Arsemal.

    He told Joy Sports: “We actually weren’t disturbed by anything because we hoped a bigger team will come for Partey.

    “We were aware of the [other teams that were interested]: Juventus, Chelsea and so forth.

    “So about all these we knew God was with us. From that minute we started to dance to ‘Party after Party.'”

  • Jake Lambourne

    HAVING A PARTEY

    Thomas Partey's dad has claimed his son joining Arsenal is the biggest news of his life.

    Proud father Jacob told Joy Sports: “Actually for now, that is it. It is the biggest.

    “I had the dream the way Partey was trained to come up with the game.

    “I know there are bigger things ahead and it’s just started.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    WRIGHT STUFF

    View this post on Instagram

    🗓 #onthsiday in 1996… Arsène Wenger took charge of his first ever Arsenal game⁠ ⁠ We beat Blackburn 2-0 thanks to two goals from @wrightyofficial ⁠ ⁠ #Arsenal #Wenger #IanWright #Vieira #OTD

    A post shared byArsenal Official (@arsenal) on

  • Jake Lambourne

    WILL I NEVER

    Arsenal defender William Saliba is reportedly set to remain at the Emirates instead of going on loan to a Championship side.

    The French teenager is yet to make his debut for the Gunners, with the player seeing a return to Saint-Etienne on loan fall through on Deadline Day.

    And according to The Athletic, Arsenal want to keep the player in their squad until at least January.

    Mikel Arteta is understood to be a huge fan of the centre-back, but cannot offer him regular first team football at the moment.

  • Jake Lambourne

    FEVER PITCH

    Arsenal icon Paul Merson has hailed the club's transfer window, but has criticised their handling of Gunnersaurus mascot man Jerry Quy's sacking.

    He wrote in the Star: “I like where Arsenal are going on the pitch. Mikel Arteta is doing really well.

    “And (Thomas) Partey is an unbelievable signing.

    “I don’t know why Manchester United or even Manchester City didn’t go for him. He’s better than what they’ve got.

    “But off the pitch, I don’t like what is happening at Arsenal at all sometimes. It’s not the club I remember.”

  • <a href='http://www.thesun.co.uk/sport' rel='external nofollow ugc' class='url'>Alex Terrell</a>

    SAUDIS FOR OZ

    Arsenal reportedly received a £5million bid for Mesut Ozil from Al-Nassr.

    The £350,000-per-week midfielder, 31, has not played for Mikel Arteta's side since March 7.

    According to Tyc Sports, the Saudi Arabian side want to sign Ozil on a two-year deal.

    But Ozil has made it clear that he is NOT prepared to accept the offer from Al-Nassr.

    He does not want to move to Asia despite being frozen out of Arsenal's squad.

  • Joe Miles

    GOOD MORNING GUNNERS FANS

    Mesut Ozil could finally be on his way out of Arsenal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr reportedly putting a £5million offer on the table.

    Arsenal have been trying to offload the German for a while, and the problem is the player is on £350,000-per-week and his contract doesn't even expire till June 2021.

    Arsenal defender Pablo Mari is reportedly ready to start full training again.

    The Spaniard suffered ankle ligament damage against Manchester City last season, forcing him to miss the last nine games of the campaign.

    Bukayo Saka was not in England’s squad to face Belgium last night, Gareth Southgate went with Kieran Trippier at left wing-back.

    If Saka is not injured, you’d have to be asking the question as to why he missed out on a spot, even on the bench!

    Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted who he'd like to be the club's manager IF Arteta leaves.

    He has revealed that he would like to see another former player Thierry Henry follow in Arteta's footsteps.

  • William Pugh

    TO THE WALL – EXCLUSIVE

    Milwall chief Steve Kavanagh believes the impact on communities will be devastating if EFL clubs go to the wall.

    The Lions bigwig has called on the Government to act swiftly to save Covid-crippled clubs from going bust amid fury over Project Big Picture.

    Speaking to SunSport as part of the Save Our Clubs drive highlighting the work clubs do on and off the field, Kavanagh said: “We’re not just talking about our national sport, the community work done by clubs in this country is vital. It has been for years.

    “Boris Johnson cameto The Den to see it first hand when he was Mayor of London and was highly impressed.

    “And when you take into consideration lockdown and what clubs, including Millwall, did to support their local communities, society and the vulnerable who were scared and did not have food . . . the work that went on was incredible.”

  • William Pugh

    WHAT THE EF-HELL

    Football reacted in fury over a Manchester United and Liverpool-led plot to transform the Premier League.

    The backlash even saw the Government rap plans described as a “hostile takeover” by Prem chiefs.

    Under the proposals drawn up by United — run by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward — and the Reds’ US owners, the top flight would be reduced from 20 clubs to 18.

    That would result in four teams going down and two coming up in the season before reform.

    The Carabao Cup and Community Shield would both be scrapped, while EFL clubs are offered an instant £250million bailout payment and promised a quarter of Prem revenues “for 25 years”.

    But the Prem’s voting structure would be torn up to give Big Six clubs an effective veto on ANY major decision.

    And SunSport can also reveal that the rest of the Big Six — Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City — were offered the chance to break away and rejoin the EFL, taking the Premier League’s European spots with them.

  • William Pugh

    KIER BLIMEY

    Even though he was missing from the squad, Kieran Tierney's Scotland won 1-0 against Slovakia tonight to see them top their Nations League group.

  • Joshua Mbu

    KEY MAN

  • Joshua Mbu

    SOL HAS A SAY

    Arsenal legend Sol Campbell as suggested that Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk has “come unstuck”.

    Speaking to The Athletic, Campbell said: “I know Van Dijk struggled in the Villa game, but he stands out these days because he's head and shoulders above everyone else, which makes me wonder if that is hampering him at the same time.

    “He's the complete player in that position and has made it look easy, but maybe he's not been challenged enough and then, like a cricketer being done by a slower ball, he's come unstuck.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    OZIL ON HIS WAY?

    Mesut Ozil could be set for a move to the Middle East with Al-Nassr reportedly offering Arsenal £5million for the player.

    According to TyC Sports journalist Cesar Luis Merlo, Al-Nassr have offered Ozil a two year contract as well as making their bid to Arsenal.

    Arsenal have been trying to offload the German for a while, and the problem is the player is on £350,000-per-week and his contract doesn't even expire till June 2021.

  • Joshua Mbu

    SCARED

    Arsene Wenger admits he is 'scared of god' having only focused on football throughout his entire life.

    Reported by the Guardian, he said: “Sometimes I feel I’m scared for having only done football in my life.

    “So, when I speak to God, it’s a bit pretentious.

    “It’s just that if God exists and they have a test to see if you go to hell or to heaven, it might look ridiculous to only have dedicated your life to winning football games.

    “And that’s why I came up with that idea. I feel sometimes it could feel meaningless that you dedicated your whole life to that.”

  • Joshua Mbu

    SUPER SAKA

    Bukayo Saka is missing from today's England squad to face Belgium, it is currently unknown whether it is injury related or if he just wasn't picked.

    If it is the latter, you'd have to question Gareth Southgate as he is playing Kieran Trippier at left wing-back.

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