Arsenal are contemplating a move for a free agent midfielder, 90min understands, with former Lille man Xeka being offered to the Gunners and other Premier League clubs.
After failing with a handful of transfer deadline day bids for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, manager Mikel Arteta has confessed that he could still do with more players after Mohamed Elneny was ruled out with a significant thigh injury.
Thomas Partey has also been out through injury but is understood to be back in training ahead of a possible return to action against Brentford at the weekend.
With the transfer market now closed until January, players not currently under contract at another club are the only possible way for Arteta to bolster his squad and sources have confirmed to 90min that the Gunners are exploring their options in the free agent market.
Perhaps the top midfield asset yet to find a club is 27-year-old Xeka, who left Lille in the summer with 144 appearances for the French side under his belt. His representatives have reached out to a number of Premier League clubs about a possible emergency signing.
Arsenal are one of those clubs to have been contacted although they are yet to make any firm offers and are instead exploring all the possibilities for their next move.
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Xeka has held talks with French side Rennes but is understood to have delayed a final decision after some positive responses from clubs in the Premier League.
Other free agent alternatives include Adel Taraabt, Mehdi Abeid, Nemanja Radoja, Fabian Delph and former Tottenham man Mousa Dembele, the latter of whom departed Guangzhou City earlier this year.
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.
United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.
Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.
Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.
“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.
“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”
Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.
“The subs really had an impact today.”
The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.
“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”
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