Reports: Arsenal preparing to spend big for Pepe, Kierney


If the latest reports are to be believed, Arsenal’s transfer budget is actually much bigger than expected.

In a pair of reports, Arsenal is looking at paying as much as around $120 million in transfer fees to sign Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe and Celtic left back Kieran Tierney. L’equipe states that Arsenal has made a $90 million offer for Pepe, while Sky Sports reports Arsenal has made a bid of $31.4 million to Celtic for Tierney.

[READ: Premier League friendly roundup]

If true, it would certainly be an upgrade at left back for Arsenal. Tierney, at 22-years of age, is one of the top young left backs in Europe and if not for Andy Robertson, would be playing a lot more for the Scotland National Team. Regarding Pepe, he’s had a strong last couple of seasons with Lille, including scoring 22 goals with 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season.

However, Pepe really struggled with the Ivory Coast National Team at the Africa Cup of Nations, perhaps due to exhaustion and a lack of gas in the tank. In addition, his position as a forward and winger isn’t exactly a position of need for the Gunners. Arsenal currently has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and even Reiss Nelson.

Last summer, Arsenal was able to bring in the vast majority of its signings by July 11. Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner all signed early.

This summer, it’s only signed academy players and 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli so far, with the necessary signings now late to arrive for preseason training. Arsenal certainly needs a replacement for Aaron Ramsey, David Ospina/Petr Cech, and Lichtsteiner.

Andrija Novakovich took a key step in potentially cementing a place for him with Reading this coming season.

The U.S. Men’s National Team striker scored the opening goal in Reading’s 2-1 defeat against Sevilla in Spain. Novakovich connected on a corner kick in the 57th minute, heading home from close range to put Reading ahead. However, a penalty kick and late goal from Jose Alonso Lara gave Sevilla the win.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Novakovich spent the 2018-2019 season on loan with Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands, finishing with 10 goals in 29 matches in all competitions. The Championship is of course a step up, and of course there’s not a ton to take away from an mid-July preseason friendly, but with the Championship season beginning on August 3 – less than a month away – any goal scored by Novakovich wouldn’t hurt his case to get a chance with Reading.

A handful of Premier League teams were in action on Saturday as preseason training ramps up. While many clubs are on the way to East Asia and North America, those who weren’t took part in a few matches in Europe.

The headliner was Chelsea topping St. Patrick’s Athletic, 4-0, at Richmond Park in Dublin. Olivier Giroud scored a brace, while Mason Mount and Emerson added goals as well.

It was Chelsea’s second game of the preseason and second under the watchful eye of Frank Lampard. Chelsea made wholesale changes at halftime, as all 22 players who took part each played just 45 minutes as the team grows in match fitness.

Chelsea 4-0 St. Patrick’s Athletic

Brighton 5-2 FC Liefering

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Earlier in the day, in Australia, Manchester United defeated Perth Glory, 2-0, with goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner. Read more about it on PST.

Elsewhere, Brighton defeated FC Liefering while in Austria, 5-2. Lewis Dunk, the immortal Glenn Murray, Jurgen Locadia, Leandro Trossard and Florin Andone all scored for the Premier League side. Brighton’s Graham Potter also made 11 changes at halftime, giving everyone a chance to make a good impression in front of him.

TIRANA, Albania (AP) Albania’s Skenderbeu club considers as “prejudiced, unilateral and predetermined” UEFA’s 10-year ban, saying it will appeal the sanction at Switzerland’s Federal Court.

Skenderbeu’s first appeal against a 10-year exclusion from European competitions and a fine of 1 million euros ($1.13 million) issued by UEFA a year ago, was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.

[READ: Rashford scores in Man United win]

In a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday, Skenderbeu said the sanctions were based on “alleged public perception” from UEFA inspectors who used “unscrupulous methods” in a process “not based on scientific proof” and “no pure sport analysis.”

“The sport justice system, fanatically raised and defended from the international federations, is a facade and shield of a rotten and corrupt system existing within the sport governing institutions,” the statement added.

The case was a landmark for UEFA in 2016, for proceeding with a prosecution that relied so much on betting patterns as the main evidence, having cited “the lack of active cooperation shown by Albanian authorities.”

Using evidence of betting patterns, UEFA investigators found suspected fixing of two Champions League qualifying games and two Europa League group-stage games in 2015. UEFA also suspected Skenderbeu of helping to fix around 50 domestic matches since 2011.

After winning seven Albanian league titles in the past decade, Skenderbeu placed fourth in the Albanian league last season, and was barred from a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

If…

Read more at this link (News Source).

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