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Man Utd beating Arsenal to sign this 19-goal hitman would be Solskjaer’s best bet to replace Romelu Lukaku

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Man United Opinion: Red Devils interested in Moussa Dembele- a good move?

According to the Metro, Man United and Arsenal are set to go head to head in a transfer tug of war over Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in the summer.

The same report claims that Dembele is on United’s shortlist, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær keen to bolster his attack with the addition of a new striker. Arsenal manager Unai Emery is reportedly a long-term admirer of the Frenchman and wants to make a move for him this summer.

The Metro also reports that Romelu Lukaku is open to leaving Man United at the end of the season and Dembele has been lined up as a potential alternative to the Belgian at Old Trafford.

Dembele helped Celtic claim back-to-back domestic trebles before completing a £19.7 million switch to Lyon last summer and has made an instant impact in France this season, scoring 19 goals in all competitions.

His prolific form has attracted attention from the Premier League duo and a move back to England looks very much on the cards for the French youth international.

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A product of PSG’s youth system, Dembele rose to prominence as a teenager with Fulham and established himself as a bona-fide goalscorer in the Championship. He was tipped to achieve big things ever since his days at the youth and reserve level and his fruitful spells at Fulham, Lyon and Celtic underline his development into one of Europe’s finest young strikers.

To put things into perspective, Dembele would be a welcome addition to both Arsenal and Man United but the Red Devils should look to beat off competition from their Premier League rivals and aim to have the final say in this transfer saga.

The 22-year-old is yet to enter his prime but he has already shown strong signs of excellence at the highest level.

Man United stayed in contention for a top-four finish with a well-deserved 2-1 victory over West Ham in the Premier League.

With the second leg of the Champions League quarter finals against Barcelona and the local derby against Man City coming up, the Red Devils have plenty to play for in the dying stages of the campaign.

Solskjaer has done ever so well to inspire the team to the last 8 of the Champions League and the fans should be happy with a top-four finish in the Premier League, particularly after getting off to a disastrous start.

United should look to build a squad capable of challenging for silverware on all fronts and a new striker should certainly be high on Solskjaer’s wishlist for the summer.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have done exceedingly well under the Norwegian’s philosophy which demands the players to link up with one another, move the ball around quickly and hit the opposition on the break. The Red Devils need some fast, agile and skilful strikers to comply with Solskjaer’s system and Moussa Dembele certainly fits the bill.

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Noted for his pace, technique, dribbling and eye for goal, Dembele not only has the ability to beat the opposition with his pace and trickery on the ball but he also knows how to find time and space inside the penalty area to have a crack on goal.

The Frenchman can open up stubborn defences with his quick feet and subtle movement off the ball, while also being a genuine threat in the air due to his ability to get off the ground quickly and time his jump to perfection.

Furthermore, he can also link up with his teammates and has a penchant for creating chances with his innovative passing.

Dembele is not yet the finished product but he is exactly what Man United need in the summer to add more depth and firepower to their attack.

The Red Devils should not hesitate to offload the likes of Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to accommodate fresh faces as both of them have not quite lived up to their billing at Old Trafford.

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Dembele has enjoyed a good first season at Lyon and the French giants are unlikely to let him go on the cheap. United might have to spend a fortune to bring him to the club but he can turn out to be a useful long-term servant at Old Trafford.

Arsenal

Arsenal signing this 13-goal Ligue 1 attacker would do a world of good for the club’s displays in the final third

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Arsenal Opinion: Florian Thauvin would be the perfect summer business for Emery

According to claims from French source Foot Sur 7, Arsenal are interested in signing French international winger Florian Thauvin in the summer, with manager Unai Emery reportedly a big fan of the 26-year-old attacker.

Thauvin wants to leave Marseille in the summer and the report also adds that the Gunners would need to fend off interest from Roma, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and AC Milan if they are to land the Frenchman.

Thauvin endured an ill-fated spell at Newcastle United earlier in his career following a £15 million move from Marseille in the summer of 2015 where he failed to make any significant impact.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Unai Emery from pursuing a keen interest in the 2018 World Cup winner, who has rediscovered his mojo as a prolific goalscorer since returning to his homeland after his struggles at Tyneside.

Thauvin has rebuilt his reputation as one of the most feared attackers in the French top flight and has been in red-hot form in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 13 goals and setting up another 6 from 29 appearances in the league.

The Frenchman netted a staggering 26 goals in all competitions last season as Marseille reached the finals of the Europa League and he has continued his merry way this term as well, putting himself on the radar of some of the top clubs in Europe.

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Essentially a right-winger by trade, Florian Thauvin is a technically-gifted creative ace who is also capable of playing on the left and through the centre in a No.10 role.

Noted for his blistering pace, agility, athleticism, vision, creativity and mesmerizing dribbling skills, Thauvin boasts of excellent close control which allows him to run with the ball glued to his feet.

His ability to shift gears quickly and change directions in the blink of an eye combined with his trickery on the ball make him a potent threat down the flanks in the attacking third. One of his main attributes is his ability to dribble at good pace and he is more than capable of leaving the opposition flat-footed with sharp turns and jaw-dropping nutmegs.

Thauvin uses his stronger left foot to cut inside from the wings, either fancying a shot on goal or linking up with his teammates to create chances. To go with his obvious pace, flair and quality on the ball, the Frenchman also has the awareness to make subtle runs into the box to finish off chances.

Blessed with good vision and boasting of plenty of creativity in his armoury, Thauvin is also a recognised distance shooter and a clinical finisher inside the box.

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To put things into perspective, Arsenal have no reason to worry about Thauvin’s failure to make an impact in the Premier League earlier in his career at Newcastle.

He has blossomed into a world-class attacker in recent times and moving to a top club in England might bring the best out of him and help him take his career to the next level. A player of his calibre definitely deserves a second chance to prove himself and moving for him does make a lot of sense.

Arsenal have put up a strong challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League in their first season under Unai Emery, despite being handicapped by injuries to several of their key players at the back.

Having shown plenty of promise this season, the Gunners should look to consolidate under their new manager and bringing in some fresh faces would certainly do their cause a world of good.

With Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck set to depart for free in the summer and big-earners Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan failing to live up to the expectations, Arsenal should look to invest in new players. Denis Suarez has struggled to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League and making his loan move permanent would make little sense for Arsenal.

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Thauvin looks more like the real deal, though Arsenal would probably have to finish in the top four to have a realistic chance at a potential deal for the Frenchman.

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Arsenal would pull off a shrewd move by signing this 25-year-old Bundesliga powerhouse with £22m release clause

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Arsenal Opinion: Kerem Demirbay would be the perfect Ramsey replacement

According to Metro, Arsenal are interested in signing 25-year-old Hoffenheim midfielder Kerem Demirbay in the summer, as manager Unai Emery looks to find a cheap alternative to Aaron Ramsey, who is set to join Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The same report claims that the German-born, Turk-blooded central midfielder has a release clause of just £22million in his contract and Arsenal have already made contact with Hoffenheim over a potential deal in the summer.

The Gunners would need to fend off competition from several top Turkish clubs if they are to get their hands on the coveted Bundesliga playmaker. (h/t Metro)

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Kerem Demirbay is currently one of the most underrated midfielders in Europe and has been in terrific form for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga this season, helping his team to 6th in the standings.

The 25-year-old has contributed with 4 goals and 6 assists from 22 appearances in the league, all of those coming from a deep position in the midfield.

Demirbay represented Turkey at the youth level before switching his allegiance to represent Germany at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. He rose to prominence in the 2.Bundesliga with a 10-goal season for Fortuna Dusseldorf and his heroics earned him a move to top-flight outfit Hoffenheim in 2016.

He hasn’t looked back since then and has established himself as one of the mainstays of a side that has climbed up the pyramid very rapidly, making it to the Europa League and Champions League in successive seasons.

The 25-year-old boasts of an impressive tally of 12 goals and 24 assists from 84 appearances for Hoffenheim in all competitions.

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To put things into perspective, the acquisition of Kerem Demirbay would be an absolute steal for Arsenal in the summer as he seemingly has all the attributes to replace Ramsey.

With Mesut Ozil falling out of favour and Henrikh Mkhitaryan not living up to the expectations, Arsenal need to revamp their midfield options and a versatile and dynamic player like Demirbay would certainly help them solve a lot of problems.

Demirbay is a dynamic player in the sense that he can operate in No.6, No.8 and No.10 roles in the midfield but, much like Ramsey, the German is at his best when deployed in an attacking role.

Blessed with quick feet and remarkable speed of thought, Demirbay not only has the dribbling ability to find space in the middle of the park but he contributes a lot with his creativity and vision as well.

Known as a tenacious player with high levels of stamina, the 25-year-old is capable of adding energy to the midfield, while also possessing the ability to dictate the play with his impressive range of passing.

The German international carries the ball forward with pace and links up with his teammates to work the pockets of space and break the opposition’s lines.

To go with his creativity and goalscoring prowess, Demirbay is someone who offers a lot defensively as well, with his work-rate off the ball making him a complete all-round player.

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Gifted with a good understanding of the game and strong on the tackle, Demirbay likes to press the opposition off the ball and often succeeds in winning back possession for his team. Furthermore, he is a recognised distance shooter who has the ability to let fly from range with both feet.

The 25-year-old boasts of a pass success rate of 80.4, including 2.3 shots, 3,1 key passes, 2.1 dribbles and 2.1 tackles in the Bundesliga, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded attributes as a central midfielder.

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Arsenal pulled off a massive bargain with the signing of Matteo Guendouzi last summer and Kerem Demirbay is exactly the sort of player that the Gunners should look at as the German can offer good value for money, while also being a perfect fit for Emery’s philosophy. Having said that, they should go all out in their pursuit of the Bundesliga maestro in the summer.

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8 clearances, 2 tackles: This Arsenal defender was one of the main reasons behind the club’s 1-0 win vs Napoli

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Arsenal Opinion: Laurent Koscielny starred in a defensive masterclass against Napoli

Arsenal made it through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League with a 1-0 victory over Napoli in the second leg of the quarterfinal tie away at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday night, courtesy of a brilliant free-kick from Alexandre Lacazette.

Having won the first leg 2-0 at the Emirates last week, the Gunners carried a major advantage into the return leg and an away goal was always going to put the tie beyond Napoli’s reach.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were expected to put in a valiant effort to overturn the deficit on their home turf and it was Napoli who started off as the brighter of the two sides. Jose Callejon called veteran Petr Cech into action and the Serie A outfit registered a flurry of shots, only to be kept at bay by some resolute and stubborn defending from the Gunners.

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Emery fielded a back four against Watford on Monday but he reverted to his a back-three system against Napoli, with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles playing as wing-backs.

And it has to be said that the manager’s plan was executed to perfection by the likes of Koscielny, Sokratis and Monreal, though the latter did look a bit shaky on a few occasions.

On a night where Arsenal didn’t have much of the ball and Napoli largely dictated terms in the final third, the defenders looked content to sit back and absorb the pressure.

Arsenal have come under criticism at times for their porous backline this season but the defenders rose to the occasion as a unit and managed to protect the lead.

They were aided by some good goalkeeping from Petr Cech and some average shooting from the Napoli attackers, as evident from the stats which show that the Italians managed to get only 2 of their attempted 20 shots on target.

Arsenal had only 30% of the possession on the night but the Gunners had plenty of positives to take from their gritty performance. Prior to this game, it was hard to believe that Arsenal could, in fact, win games by defending deep and their strong defensive showing away from home is likely to be welcomed wholeheartedly by the club faithful.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has really come of age this season and the youngster put up another strong display on Thursday night but it was none other than club-captain Laurent Koscielny who led from the front by example and held things together at the back.

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Koscielny, 33, might be nearing the twilight of his career but he is currently enjoying a purple patch. Arsenal really missed his services earlier in the season when he was out injured and they now look a lot more secure at the back with their captain leading from the front.

Playing at the heart of a back three, Koscielny hardly made a single mistake under immense pressure from Napoli and dealt with almost everything that came his way. The Frenchman showcased great positional awareness and aerial prowess in an authoritative defensive display that spoke of pure class.

Koscielny registered a total of 8 clearances, 2 tackles and 1 interception, while also catching the opposition offside on 3 occasions.

Napoli were caught offside on 6 occasions throughout the ninety minutes and Koscielny ensured with his leadership qualities that his teammates all held a good line. Arsenal used the offside trap really well and Koscielny’s presence was pivotal to it.

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Arsenal are now set for a  semi-final showdown with Valencia in the Europa League and the Gunners will bank heavily on their club-captain to deliver the goods once again.

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