Juventus preparing moves for Arsenal and Chelsea playmakers – report

Juventus are looking to raid the Premier League for some of its best playmaking talents with Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs stars all reportedly being targeted by the Italian giants.

Italian media outlet Calciomercato claims Juventus sporting director Fabio Guild has been in London in recent days as he is looking to sign Chelsea star Oscar, with Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil also a major target.

Oscar has long been linked with a move to the Serie A giants and Juventus believe they could land the Brazilian in January if they agree to pay in excess of €30 million.

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Chelsea’s horrendous start to the season could mean that several changes are made in January and Oscar could be one of those allowed to leave after only starting five Premier League games so far this campaign.

Ozil is an alternative to Oscar but would likely be a more expensive investment, especially after his fine start to the season with Arsenal.

The German playmaker has more assists than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues so far this term and has now recorded at least one assist in each of his last six Premier League games.

Arsenal are looking to tie him down to a new four-year contract and so a move away from the Emirates looks unlikely as this stage.

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While Juve are also keeping tabs on Tottenham’s Danish superstar Christian Eriksen. The 23-year-old has also previously been linked to Juventus but Spurs reiterated that he is not for sale back in August.

Juventus have started the 2015/16 Serie A season in poor form by their high standards. They sit seventh after 12 games after winning just one of their first six league games and will look to strengthen in January.

Should Juventus be looking to sign Oscar, Mesut Ozil or Christian Eriksen? Which playmaker is the best?

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Liverpool legend urges Arsenal to strengthen this summer

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has urged Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad this summer.

The comments come as Arsenal drew 1-1 against Manchester United on Sunday, and Souness suggested that to win the title, Arsenal would need to strengthen over the summer.

“Forget spine, forget any names, if you’re a big football club and you’re not strengthening, you’re standing still as all the other big clubs will be strengthening.” Souness said on Sky Sports.

Arsenal’s title drought has stretched another year and it’s now eleven years without winning the league for the Gunners.

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A topic that has sparked debate is Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy recently. Arsenal have made a marquee signing in each of the last two summer transfer windows, adding Mesut Ozil in 2013 and Alexis Sanchez in 2014.

Both players have been brilliant recently and Souness has suggested that Arsenal should once again look to spend big in the market.

Should Arsenal look to strengthen again it would be interesting to see who they target, as it seems that they will be competing with rivals: Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea for the biggest names available.

Do Arsenal need to strengthen this summer, and which players should they be looking at?

Chelsea lining up SHOCK move for Arsenal superstar – report

Mesut Ozil is being linked with a summer exit from Arsenal despite rediscovering his form over recent months, and a move to Chelsea is being suggested by Fichajes.net.

The 26-year-old German playmaker joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in a £42.5 million deal two years ago but has continuously come under criticism for his performances.

Ozil has four goals and five assists in 15 Premier League appearances this season and helped the Gunners past Reading in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday with two assists, pushing Arsenal to their second successive final in the competition.

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But Fichajes claim that Ozil could link up with former coach Jose Mourinho at Chelsea this summer in what would be a shock transfer.

The German was signed by Mourinho at Real Madrid and only left the Spanish giants after the Portuguese head coach moved back to the Premier League with Chelsea.

The Arsenal star has a lot of respect for Mourinho, while the Chelsea boss has always heaped praise on the German. He previously explained that: “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him – not even a bad copy.”

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A summer switch from Arsenal to Chelsea is unlikely as the Gunners would not want to see any of their best players move to their London rivals.

But the Blues may be looking to Ozil if the likes of Oscar move on this summer as a central playmaker will be needed to reinforce the league leaders’ attack.

Would Mesut Ozil leave Arsenal for Chelsea? Should the Blues make a move for the German playmaker?

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Reading vs Arsenal

Competition: FA Cup semi-final – Reading vs. Arsenal

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, April 18 – 17:20 BST (12:20 ET)

Match Odds: Reading 12/1 – Draw 5/1 – Arsenal 1/4

Match Preview

Reading and Arsenal clash at Wembley Stadium for the first FA Cup semi-final on Saturday evening as the Gunners look to reach a second successive final and continue the defence of their title.

Reading are undoubtedly major underdogs coming into the game as they sit eighteenth in the Championship and many will struggle to see how they can overturn Arsenal, but the beauty of this competition is that anything can happen.

Few would’ve predicted Bradford winning at Chelsea or Middlesbrough winning at Manchester City in the fourth round, so the Royals can approach the game with a nothing to lose attitude.

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Steve Clarke’s side are without a win in five games in all competitions and their last victory came in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford – the Royals have won just two of their last 12 (D5, L5). Reading have also seen off Huddersfield, Cardiff and Derby in their run to the semi-final.

Arsenal are the FA Cup holders and arguably the best team in the country right now after a run of eight straight wins has lifted them to second in the Premier League – the Gunners have also won 15 out of their last 16 domestic fixtures.

Arsene Wenger‘s last taste of defeat in the FA Cup was against Championship opposition in February 2013 when Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 in a fifth round tie at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are undefeated in 10 FA Cup ties since then, including victories over Hull, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Manchester United in this season’s competition.

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It will be the Arsenal manager’s tenth FA Cup semi-final and should the Gunners go on to lift the famous trophy once again, they will become the most successful club in the history of the competition – they currently share the record for most FA Cup titles (11) with Manchester United.

The last time these two sides met, Arsenal ran out as 4-1 winners in a Premier League game back in March 2013. The last cup meeting between the two was that enthralling 7-5 League Cup comeback win for Arsenal in October 2012 at the Madejski Stadium after Reading had taken a 4-0 lead.

The Wembley stage is set and the FA Cup semi-final is always a great day for both sets of players and fans alike. Arsenal are heavy favourites, but Reading will relish the occasion that marks their best achievement in the competition since 1927 as they attempt to reach their first ever FA Cup final.

Team News

Reading will be delighted that striker Pavel Pogrebnyak will be available after struggling with a knee injury, although they will be without the on-loan Nathan Ake and Kwesi Appiah as they are both cup tied.

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Arsenal have rarely had so many options at their disposal in recent years as only Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are unavailable with injury. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal as he continues his role as the ‘cup goalkeeper’, while Wenger could also rotate on-pitch slightly from the team that faced Burnley last weekend. Mathieu Debuchy and Jack Wilshere are both fully fit and available for selection.

Key Points

Reading’s last five in all competitions: L/D/D/D/L

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have won all 12 of their previous matches against Reading, so the Royals will be making history if they win this one.

Key Player: Mesut Ozil – The German has put in some excellent performances in the last few months and on a big Wembley pitch, this is the type of game where he could really pull the strings and open up Reading’s defence.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-0 Reading – The FA Cup is a magical competition but it’s so hard to see how a struggling Reading side are going to upset the rhythm of an Arsenal team that can’t stop winning. The Gunners will be made to work hard but should ultimately win the game comfortably.

Former Spurs man heaps praise on ‘special’ Arsenal star

Former Tottenham and Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has praised Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil after another fine display in Saturday’s 4-1 win against the Merseyside club.

Ozil scored the second goal in that win and was at the forefront of most of Arsenal’s attacking play in another impressive display after a season interrupted by criticism again.

And Jamie Redknapp, who also works as a pundit for Sky Sports, thinks that he is an easy target for criticism because of how laid back he looks when playing.

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“There’s no doubt that Mesut Ozil is an easy target for ex-pros and pundits. But when he’s at his best he is worth paying to watch,” Redknapp said in his Daily Mail column.

“I’d much rather see a quality player do something special than a bunch of grafters with nothing to show for it.

“Against Liverpool, Ozil was at his brilliant best in a massive game. You don’t become a Real Madrid hero or win the World Cup without being something special. Ozil is just that.”

The German star has now scored four goals with five assists in 15 Premier League appearances for the Gunners this season and the 26 year old looks to be improving with each game at the moment.

He is a player that can produce moments of magic out of nothing, but can also try to overcomplicate things, and Redknapp went on to say that people are still too quick to criticise the former Real Madrid man.

“When things don’t come off for the German, people are quick to criticise. We do that too much in this country — looking at what people can’t do rather than what they can — and it’s where we go wrong so often.

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“No, Ozil doesn’t charge around like Alexis Sanchez so people say he doesn’t care. Just ask Liverpool if Ozil cared about the game on Saturday.”

Saturday’s result leaves Arsenal nine points clear of Liverpool and Spurs as the Gunners look to have sealed another top four finish.

Arsene Wenger’s men are looking up rather than down the table and they are seven points behind leaders Chelsea, with a key clash at the Emirates still to come against the Blues.

Is Mesut Ozil unfairly criticised too often? How important is he to Arsenal?

Stats: How important is Mesut Ozil to Arsenal?

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is coming towards the end of his second season with the club now, yet many are still unconvinced with his performances and believe that perhaps he hasn’t lived up to his £42.5m price tag.

The German international helped the Gunners to their first trophy for nine years last season as they went on to lift the FA Cup and they’re currently third in the Premier League this time around, as well as having booked their place in the semi-final of the FA Cup once again.

Ozil has been hampered by injury throughout this campaign, which has meant the Gunners have played a large amount of fixtures without the services of a man who played in every game at Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph.

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Arsenal have played 14 Premier League games with Ozil in the side (W8, D4, L2) at a ratio of two points-gained-per-game, compared to 16 league games without him (W10, D2, L4) and they amount to exactly the same amount of points-gained-per-game – two.

So in that regard, Arsene Wenger‘s side are neither better off nor worse off when Ozil plays, but how does he compare statistically to the other attack-minded midfield players in the Arsenal team? Here is an average-per-game breakdown of numbers:

Arsenal midfielders in the 2014/15 Premier League (stats via Squawka)

Arsenal midfielders performance per-game in the 2014/15 Premier League (stats via Squawka)

The numbers show that Ozil has the most number of assists, chances created and key passes per-game out of any player, while only Santi Cazorla has a better pass completion rate with 88% compared to Ozil’s 87% – a miniscule difference.

Alexis Sanchez plays in a slightly more advanced role and has been prolific this season so he tops the goals-per-game charts. Only Santi Cazorla has scored more goals-per-game than Ozil.

At the beginning of March, it was also revealed that Mesut Ozil had covered more ground than any other Arsenal player since returning to the side in January, according to the telegraph.

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The criticism aimed at the 26-year-old often comes from his relaxed style of play, combined with the way he moves across the pitch and he certainly creates a divide in opinion.

It’s likely that some may never agree on what to make of Ozil and his hefty transfer fee is probably one of the main reasons that some aren’t entirely happy.

Arsenal, Man United & Chelsea face tough battle for Real Madrid star

Germany World Cup winner and Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has finally confirmed he will leave Los Blancos at the end of the season after five years in the Spanish capital.

The defensive midfielder has been restricted to just 11 appearances this season due to injuries that have troubled him since November 2013. He returned towards the end of last season to play a part in Madrid’s tenth European title (La Decima) and his country’s World Cup triumph in Brazil.

It’s no secret Real have tried to tie him down to a new contract but Khedira has rejected the contract offers and in December he said, “if we can reach a solution, I’ll be very happy.” But now it seems Khedira is all but gone from Madrid.

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“I will give everything for this shirt until the last day of my contract, there should be no doubt about that. 

“It’s not a decision against Real Madrid. I want to find new challenges for my career and continue to grow as a player,” Khedira told Spanish newspaper Marca.

The German has lost his place in the Real Madrid starting lineup with Carlo Ancelotti preferring Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the heart of the midfield.

The news is sure to alert a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. The Gunners have been known to be huge admirers of the in-demand midfielder and his best friend Mesut Ozil plays at the Emirates.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho brought Khedira to Real Madrid in 2010 and would love to be reunited with him.

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The former Stuttgart man has also been linked with a move back to his homeland with interest from Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich, Schalke and Wolfsburg. But Khedira says he is yet to reach a deal with anyone over his future.

“I don’t have an agreement with any club nor any preferences as to who I would like to join,” Khedira told Kicker.

If Khedira is to leave this summer, it would surely be one of the biggest bosman transfers in recent years.

Chelsea and Arsenal stars want Kaka to join but Orlando is his home

Brazilian star Kaka has only played three games for MLS Expansion Franchise Orlando City SC but admits that his Premier League pals would love him to play in England.

However, the 32-year-old playmaker is the highest-paid player in MLS and is loving his time in Orlando – his new home, and has no plans to move on anytime soon.

Kaka is good friends with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as well as Chelsea‘s Brazilian trio of Felipe Luis, Oscar and Willian and has revealed that they would all love to play with him in the Premier League.

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“They joke with me saying, ‘Come and play for Chelsea or Arsenal’ but I am so happy here in Orlando,” Kaka said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Kaka has a three-year contract with Orlando City and has no plans to leave his new team. However, he did have some high praise for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, whom he worked under at Real Madrid.

“His ambition for victory sets Mourinho apart. He wants to win every game, so he prepares all the smallest details; in training, at the game, everything. I loved to work with him.

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“He tries everything to extract the best from the players, to push them. This is what he can do better than anyone else.

“I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Mourinho, he is one of the best coaches in the world.”

Kaka was the world’s greatest player back in 2007 as he beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the Ballon d’Or – the award that Messi and Ronaldo have dominated since, and the Orlando City captain takes great pride from his triumph over two of the greatest players to have ever played the game.

“I won the Ballon d’Or and World Player of Year against Cristiano and Messi,” he said. “They win it every year now, but I could beat them back then. For me that’s important because I had the best opponents. I’m proud when I see that.”

Kaka’s illustrious career is something few will forget and just because he has made the move to Major League Soccer doesn’t mean he’s taken his foot off the pedal.

It’s quite the opposite in fact. Kaka scored the Lions’ first-ever MLS goal in the 1-1 draw against New York City FC at the start of the month and wants to win trophies with Orlando City.

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At the same time, he has his eyes on the 2018 World Cup in Russia and won’t rule out taking part in the tournament he won with Brazil in 2002 once again.

“It is in three-and-a-half years and if Dunga needs me I’ll be ready to play in the national team. It is a real motivation for me.”

Would Kaka still be able to shine in the Premier League? Should he end his career in MLS with Orlando?

Arsenal star aspires to be regarded as the world’s best

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is hungry for success and wants to better his career achievements already acquired by one day winning the Ballon d’Or.

The 26-year-old playmaker has come in for criticism for some below-par performances by his usual high-standards, but admits his desire for success hasn’t changed.

“When I was a kid I dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or. I still have that dream,” Ozil said in an interview with German newspaper, Express.

His critics claim he isn’t providing enough for the side and claim his lack of goals will stop him ever being compared to the world’s greatest stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but Ozil disagrees.

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“I have nothing to prove to them. I do not have a big ego. It is more important for me to create goals for others than to score them for myself.

“I don’t need to score goals to be happy. Assists are what make me happy.”

The German international has featured in 14 Premier League games so far this season, scoring just three times, but he has created 35 chances with five assists so far.

He claims to be training as hard as he ever has done and added: “My body is more stable, I feel fresher. And you need that strength in England.”

Ozil missed out on the UEFA Team of the Year for the first time in three years in 2014 but few can question his underlying talent. It is now a case of showing that talent on a regular basis.

Ozil will have to perform at his highest ability to fend off those who have criticised his move to Arsenal and he must now replicate the form and passion he showed when at Real Madrid.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Stoke City

Stoke City travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with the Gunners seeking revenge after they fell victim to a 3-2 loss in the reverse fixture this season.

The Potters are coming off the back of a three game unbeaten run that includes an away win at Everton, a home win against West Brom and an important draw against Manchester United on New Years Day.

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Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their below par performance last time out as they fell to Southampton in a 2-0 loss at St Mary’s, and need to win to keep tabs on the top four.

Arsenal’s home record: Played 9 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 1

Much of the focus will be on the home side in this encounter as the Gunners are expected to have German international Mesut Ozil available once again and he could potentially start on Sunday.

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Arsene Wenger’s has fielded an unbelievable twelve different combinations in defence this season. An unsettled backline being one of the reasons why Arsenal have struggled thus far.

And Mark Hughes will hope that Bojan can wreak havoc against the Arsenal defence as he did at the Britannia earlier in the season.

Stoke City’s away record: Played 10 – Won 3 – Drawn 3 – Lost 4

Stoke will be without Mame Biram Diouf however as the Senegal striker is away at the African Cup of Nations.

There is hope for this Arsenal side though, as they have won their last three at home in Premier League and enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Hull in front of their home fans last weekend in the FA Cup.

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Their recent form against their opponents hasn’t been good enough however, as they have lost the last two meetings with Stoke. Could this be a third straight win against Arsenal for Mark Hughes’s men?

Arsenal’s last five:W/D/W/W/L

Stoke City’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: Arsenal are undefeated in 26 of their last 27 Premier League games at the Emirates.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chile international has been a sensation since his move to the Emirates last summer and most of Arsenal’s attacking play will go through him.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 1 Stoke City