Arsenal are expecting to sit down with Jack Wilshere’s representatives in the next few weeks in an attempt to extend his contract at the club.
Wilshere is a free agent in the summer, meaning Arsenal know that realistically they have to have made substantive progress in negotiations by next month if there is any chance of the player staying at the club.
With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil also running down their deals and out of contract next summer, Arsenal know that losing Wilshere, who has been at the club since the age of nine, on a free will be perceived as another example of bad planning, even though the player has been beset by injuries in the past three years.
However if his recent run of form continues, Wilshere is likely to be back in Gareth Southgate’s England squad next month and is pushing to make the Arsenal first team against Everton. He will also feature against Norwich in the League Cup next week, which will be a further chance to show both his credentials and his fitness.
Negotiations have been put on hold until Wilshere shows his fitness, yet Arsenal will now have to move to get head of rival clubs who will be lining up offers.
Everton and Roma have pursued Wilshere in the past but it is likely that, if he shows fitness, rivals Chelsea and Manchester City will also show interest in player who would help boost their quota of home-grown players in European matches.
Wilshere has started three games in the last month and will be pushing for a place in the Premier League side, even though he is likely to be on the bench on Sunday.
Wilshere has featured in just 72 games for club and country since 2014 but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is now close to full fitness again.
There will also be a call for him to return to England squad next month for friendlies against Germany and Brazil after England looked devoid of ideas and in need of a creative midfielders in recent World Cup qualifiers.
FIFA President, Infantino tests positive for COVID-19
FIFA Chief, Gianni Infantino has contracted coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19, the world’s football governing body announced on Tuesday.
According to the information scooped from AFP, the 50-year-old has mild symptoms and will remain in isolation for a further 10 days.
“All people who came into contact with the FIFA President during the last few days have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps,” the body said.
“FIFA sincerely wishes President Infantino a speedy recovery,” it added.
Infantino’s last public appearances was at FIFA’s Compliance Summit which ended on October 16 when all attendees were present via video.
Cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the body’s base, Switzerland, have doubled from one week to the next throughout October.
The country’s government is expected to decide Wednesday on new measures to control the spread of the virus.
The spread of the illness has cast doubt over Wednesday’s potential meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League after the Juventus attacker tested positive for the illness earlier this month.
Barcelona: Real reason for Messi’s u-turn
“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with Goal, released on Friday.
“I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.”
Messi, 33, added: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.
“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”
Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.
His lawyers sent a burofax stating his intention to go for free on August 25 but Messi says he had made his feelings clear to Bartomeu many times before.
“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” said Messi. “I’ve been telling him all year. I believed it was time to step aside.
‘Everything became difficult’
“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new horizons.
“It wasn’t because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I had been thinking about it for a long time. I told the president and the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.”
Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona next season under their new coach Ronald Koeman, with his current contract due to expire in June next year.
Messi set to quit Barcelona
Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.
Lawyers for the Argentina star sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause.
However, the club maintains the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.
“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.
“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.”
According to Spanish media, Messi met with new Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” the club.
“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.
Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month, resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.
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