We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Arsenal from the day
Robert Pires reveals conversation with Alexis Sanchez about contract
Robert Pires has revealed that he spoke to Alexis Sanchez about his contract renewal. Sanchez has been locked in contract negotiation with the Gunners for a while now and there has been no news on how much progress has been made.
However, Pires has revealed that Sanchez told him he is not even thinking about the contract, which is worrying news for Arsenal fans. The Gunners legend also praised Alexis saying he was the driving force behind Arsenal and that he wanted him to stay for a long time.
“I spoke to Alexis last week and asked about the renewal. He told me he didn’t know, that he only cared to play. The renewal is not a subject for Alexis. He doesn’t know what is going to happen, he just wants to play and enjoy,” he said, according to La Tercera.
“Yes, that’s what we all know. All we want is for Alexis to remain at Arsenal. I hope he renews his contract because he is a wonderful player. Alexis is the engine of the car. I hope he stays forever.”
It isn’t clear what the future holds for Alexis but it can only help that so many Arsenal legends have been urging him to stay. Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell have already voiced their opinions on the matter and will be hoping that Sanchez is convinced to extend his stay soon.
Mustafi can see belief in other players’ eyes
Shkodran Mustafi scored the opening goal against Burnley in a dramatic match where Granit Xhaka was sent off and Arsenal conceded and then scored a penalty late into stoppage time. Mustafi was typically solid during the fixture and extended his unbeaten run with the Gunners to 21 games.
The German has definitely been a big part of that unbeaten run but was quick to give credit to his teammates. Mustafi feels that the Gunners are often written off in games but said that he can see the belief in the eyes of other players regardless of how improbable a comeback seems :
“Even when Burnley scored the equaliser I looked in the eyes of the other players and you can see we never give up. In other games it looks like Arsenal aren’t going to come back or it is going to be a draw, but then we score in the last second just because everyone believes in it,” he said, according to the club’s official website.
“I think you have to give credit to this team. It shows how much belief we have in ourselves and that we are going to go for it.”
Arsenal have definitely surprised everyone with their fight this season, and have made a habit of scoring late goals. If Mustafi continues to perform the way he has this season, there will probably be a few more games where he remains unbeaten as well.
Arsene Wenger’s praise for Ismael Bennacer
Arsene Wenger has been speaking about Algerian youngster Ismael Bennacer whose team was knocked out of the African Cup of Nations earlier this week. The midfielder was signed from Arles in 2015 and has made one senior appearance for the Gunners which came during a 3-0 loss to Sheffield United in the League Cup in 2015.
Bennacer was called up to the national squad for the AFCON this year but was an unused substitute throughout the tournament. Wenger is a big admirer of Bennacer who he feels has a big future in the game. Wenger sees Bennacer as the type of player who doesn’t stand out but does a very efficient job for the team :
“He’s a player who is not spectacular, but a very efficient player,” Wenger said, according to the club’s official website. “He’s the kind of player who, once you put him in the team, you don’t take him out anymore.
“He can defend very well, he’s a fighter, a left-footed player and very efficient going forward. He’s a real box-to-box player. He can do all kinds of jobs. He is still young, still lacks a little bit of experience, but is a very promising player.”
From Wenger’s words, it looks as though Bennacer is not far from a few more appearances for Arsenal.
Ray Parlour feels Arsenal can still win the title
Arsenal legend Ray Parlous feels Arsenal still have a chance of winning the title. Nicknamed “The Romford Pele”, Parlour spent 12 successful years with Arsenal and ended his time with Gunners in the best way possible, being a part of the side that went unbeaten in the league in 2003-04.
Parlour feels that this Arsenal side also have what it takes to win the title, provided they can win in the big games. Arsenal have a terrible record when it comes to playing teams from the top 4, and Parlour feels that record needs to change if the Gunners want to win the title.
“Arsenal are eight points behind Chelsea now, but Chelsea have got Liverpool coming up, they’ve got Arsenal coming up, they win those two games or get good results in those two games then it’s all over,” he said, according to the Mirror.
“But if Arsenal can win their big games then that’s when you claw back the points in the title race. It will basically come down to those games when the teams at the top play each other because they are the big games that generally decide the title race.”
Parlour knows a thing or two about winning titles. The midfielder won 3 Premier League titles and four FA Cup trophies during his time with the Gunners and the Arsenal players would do well to heed his words.
Mohamed Elneny wants to become an Arsenal legend
Mohamed Elneny is on duty with Egypt at the African Cup of Nations, and Arsenal could definitely use his services considering Granit Xhaka faces a lengthy ban after his red card against Burnley and it is unclear whether Santi Cazorla will play again this season.
The Egyptian midfielder seems like one of the most humble players in the Arsenal dressing room but that hasn’t stopped him from having big ambitions. Elneny says that he could scarcely believe it when Arsene Wenger called him to sign him from Basel back in 2016 and he now wants to become a legend with the Gunners.
“I didn’t believe it at the start. Wenger is the best coach in the world, so when he called me… It means I’m going in the right direction. It’s been a great year for me. Playing in England, at one of the best five clubs in the world,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I want to be a legend at this club. Like Thierry Henry. I mean, obviously not exactly like him. I have my own personality, my own character. I want to be different to anyone that’s gone before. But since I got here, I’ve always had that in mind. I wanted to become an Arsenal legend.”
The 24-year old definitely has a long way to go if he wants to be a legend with Arsenal but he still has a lot of time on his side. He would go some way to fulfilling his ambitions if he helps Arsenal to an unlikely title this season upon his return from the AFCON.