The Hard Tackle takes a look at the most important Arsenal news that have been making the rounds.
Former Chelsea duo Ashley and Joe Cole return to training at Cobham
According to Tom Olver of the Metro, former Blues left-back Ashley Cole and midfielder Joe Cole have returned to Chelsea to train with the first team at Cobham. Pictures on social media began circulating of the legendary duo in their training gear ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
It is understood that both Joe and Ashley are in London on a temporary basis and they are looking to maintain fitness following the end of the Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League seasons in the United States of America.
Ashley Cole has been with MLS giants LA Galaxy since January this year while Joe is plying his trade in Tampa Bay with the Rowdies. Between the two, the Coles have made a staggering 619 appearances for the London club, and are still well received by the fans at the club.
John Obi Mikel rules out move to Premier League rivals in January
The veteran Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel has not been a part of manager Antonio Conte’s plans this season and has been left out of the matchday squad on several occasions by the Italian. With his contract running out at the end of the season, the Nigerian has been long linked with a move away from the club.
In the summer, Mikel admitted that he was open to moving to the United States to play in the MLS. With his former teammates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole already in the country, it would have taken him very little time to acclimatise himself to life in North America. However, with no concrete offers, he stayed put in London with Chelsea.
Over the last few days, there has been an interest from former Blues boss Jose Mourinho. Currently at the helm at Manchester United, Mourinho was reportedly keen on having a reunion with the Chelsea outcast at Old Trafford.
In response to the interest in his future, the midfielder has played down all reports linking him. As per All Nigeria Soccer (h/t The Daily Star), Mikel’s talks have broken down with an unnamed top English side. “The transfer talks have broken down, his wage demands are a big issue so it is difficult to do a deal,” a source told the website.
Chelsea announce losses of £70.6 million losses due to ‘exceptional costs’
According to Sky Sports, Chelsea have announced losses of £70.6 million for the year ending 30th June. Despite that, the club’s turnover was at an all time high, giving the boardroom plenty to be happy about.
The turnover of £329.1 million was a significant increase from last year’s figure of £314.3 million. It also resulted in a £4.7m profit before exceptional costs despite Chelsea’s 10th-placed Premier League finish.
But they were handed a huge penalty of £40 million for cancelling a kit deal with Adidas and it contributed to £75.3m in exceptional costs and meant a significant overall loss.
Since the cancellation of the Adidas deal, the Blues have signed a significant deal with Nike – the biggest in the club’s history – and a statement by the club stated that 2017’s results would reflect an agreement worth £60m a season for the next 15 years.
Hoffenheim rule out sale of £30 million Chelsea target Niklas Sule
Niklas Sule has been subject to transfer interest from a number of clubs this season, but his club Hoffenheim have ruled out any possible sale of the defender in the January transfer window.
According to the Daily Star, Hoffenheim’s sporting director Alexander Rosen has confirmed that Sule will not leave the club in January.
This news will have come has a huge blow to Chelsea who were keen on signing the German defender. Blues reportedly had made a bid for Sule in the summer, but Hoffenheim turned it down as he was a key part of their first team plans.
But with Conte looking to add defensive reinforcements either in January or in the summer, he will not give up in his attempts to sign the Hoffenheim defender. Gary Cahill has shown signs of ageing this season and with John Terry likely to move to China, Chelsea may need to add to the defenders in their team.