Monday, June 27

Arteta responds to Arsenal interest in Coutinho; reveals ‘very important’ Tottenham concern

Mikel Arteta admitted his concern regarding the scheduling of the postponed Arsenal v Tottenham clash, and was probed about transfer interest in Philippe Coutinho.

Despite losing 2-0 to Liverpool on Wednesday night, the Gunners remain firm favourites to secure fourth spot. Doing so would constitute a successful campaign and end Arsenal’s five-year exile from the Champions League.

However, the likes of Man Utd, Tottenham, West Ham and Wolves won’t go down quietly in the race for fourth. As such, every upcoming match is a vital one for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Their next chance to boost their top four hopes will come on Saturday when Arsenal travel to Villa Park. Steven Gerrard’s side will be hopeful of securing a top half finish and much of their threat will come from the tricky feet of Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian has been in sparkling form since arriving on loan from Barcelona in January. Arsenal too have been heavily linked with Coutinho in recent windows, though their loss ultimately became Villa’s gain.

Now, speaking in his Friday press conference, Arteta heaped praise on Coutinho before addressing the transfer links. The Daily Mirror recently claimed Arsenal could disrupt Villa’s plans and snag Coutinho on a permanent deal in the summer.

“One of them,” Arteta said of Coutinho. “The team activates a lot of things when he’s on the ball so obviously it’s something we have to bare in mind.

“His ability to create goals and chances and unlock spaces when they don’t exist. That’s something he did consistently when he was at Liverpool.

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“We looked at many different players with qualities that he had and at the end we went for a different one.”

Earlier this week the Premier League announced a raft of postponed fixtures had been given new dates in the calendar.

Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea will now take place on Wednesday, April 20. However, the north London derby with Spurs is yet to be given a new date.

When asked if he’s concerned about when the match will be placed, Arteta admitted: “Yes. Because I don’t know and we’re not going to be decisive and it’s very important.”

Finally, Arteta turned his attention to goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Ramsdale gutted after Liverpool display – Arteta

The summer recruit has shone this season and was duly rewarded with a place in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad this week.

However, that came hot on the heels of his suspect performance against Liverpool. Diogo Jota’s goal in particular is one he’ll be disappointed not to have kept out.

Regardless, when asked if Ramsdale is England’s best goalkeeper at present, Arteta said: “He’s there now and he’s going to be fighting for a place.

“Knowing Aaron he’s going to be pushing it very hard because it’s one of his biggest dreams.

“He was gutted after the [Liverpool] match and it’s normal because he’s so competitive.

“He needs to realise that this is going to happen in his career. In the national team this is going to happen and if you want to be at the top for 10, 15 years you have to have these moments.

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“He’s very critical of himself so sometimes he needs help to put things into perspective.”

READ MORE: Arsenal told they avoided glaring transfer error as top January target flops in eyes of Man Utd hero

The post Arteta responds to Arsenal interest in Coutinho; reveals ‘very important’ Tottenham concern appeared first on TEAMtalk.

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