?Alexandre Lacazette has admitted he believes the current Arsenal team are a few seasons away from challenging and winning big titles.
After finishing fifth and losing the Europa League final, the Gunners missed out on Champions League football for next season, despite both Lacazette and fellow forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoying good campaigns in front of goal.
In an interview with FourFourTwo via ?The Sun, Lacazette admitted the club need to take smaller steps in order to be able to challenge for trophies later down the line.
He said: “A club like Arsenal has to be playing in the Champions League every season.
“We will start to think to think about winning the biggest titles in a few seasons, but first we need to make sure we are in the Champions League consistently again.”
Last season brought about a transition period following Arsene Wenger’s 22 year reign at ?Arsenal. With new players, a new manager and a new style of play, new challenges popped up for the French striker but he claims it was a good year.
He added: “It’s been positive. We had a new coach with a new approach, and I think I’ve played well – better than in the previous season. And we’ve played bigger, more important games.”
His partnership with Aubameyang was one of the best things to come out of Arsenal’s season last year, with the pair combining for a total of 50 goals across all competitions.
However, Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for Gabon international Aubameyang. With the striker reaching 30 and Arsenal only having a small amount of transfer budget to play with, it means they are open to the possibility of letting the forward leave.
?Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is prepared to leave the German champions unless they sign better players this summer, according to his agent.
The German stalwart has been at the Allianz Arena since 2011, helping Die Roten win the Bundesliga seven times, as well as the Champions League in 2013.
Neuer has two years left on his deal in Munich, but it would appear that the former Schalke 04 is not happy with the quality of Bayern’s squad at present – leading his agent Thomas Kroth to suggest to German outlet Suddeutsche Zeitung that he could leave unless things change.
“He wants to win Euro 2020 and he wants to win the Champions League again. Manuel is success-oriented,” Kroth said.
“My impression is that the gap to the top four English top teams is already serious and the Munich squad is currently not yet as competitive or set up to tackle Manuel’s goals seriously. When he realises that Bayern are responding, then he will probably blossom again.
“He does not want to retire in 2021. Now he is in the phase in which he has to decide: how will things progress in the future?
“Signing a contract extension and ending his career at Bayern is of course the obvious option, but it’s not the only one.”
Bayern were eliminated from last season’s Champions League by ?Liverpool in the first knockout round, and were only just able to cling on to their Bundesliga crown – with ?Borussia Dortmund running them to within two points of top spot.
While Bayern have dipped in to the transfer market already to sign defenders Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, they have lost the experienced trio of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mats Hummels this summer.
Neuer has clocked up 336 appearances between the sticks during his time in Bavaria, and is still widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world – despite recent injury troubles.
?Liverpool have been handed an injury boost, revealing Naby Keita is expected to return to pre-season training later in July.
The Guinea international initially sustained an abductor injury in Liverpool’s first leg loss to Barcelona in the Champions League, ruling him out of the remainder of the season.
He had a reoccurrence of this issue while on Africa Cup of Nations duty and was ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
It was ?feared Keita would miss the start of the new season and he returned to Melwood for further examination. However, the ?club’s website have now confirmed that the 24-year-old is expected to return to pre-season training later in the month.
The midfielder agreed to join ?Liverpool in August 2017 as part of a £52m deal but was officially unveiled in July 2018 as RB Leipzig wanted to keep hold of their star man for another season. He put in a man of the match performance on his debut as the Reds swept aside West Ham.
However, his first season on Merseyside has been hampered by injuries and the midfielder only managed three goals. Despite this, he was able to help guide his side towards Champions League glory and a second place finish in the league.
Liverpool’s number eight will now be hopeful he can attend the pre-season tour of the United States between 19 July and 24 July before their first competitive match of the season against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
?Keita will again face healthy competition for a midfield spot, with fellow new signing Fabinho proving his worth and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to be fit for the start of the season.
?Italian giants Milan have confirmed the arrival of French full-back Theo Hernández on a suspected five-year contract from Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old only moved to the Santiago Bernabéu in a €24m move from city rivals Atletico Madrid in 2017, but was forced out on loan to Real Sociedad after failing to establish himself with Los Blancos.
With Florentino Pérez now looking to recoup as much money as possible following a €300m spending spree, Milan have now confirmed the deal with a tweet. Real Madrid’s famous Comunicado Oficial is expected shortly.
It’s understood that Hernández’s switch to San Siro will set Milan back close to €20m, with the defender putting pen to paper on a five-year contract with I Rossoneri.
The France Under-21 international becomes the second Hernández brother to ditch life in Madrid this summer, with older sibling Lucas moving to Germany from Atletico in a club-record deal for Bayern Munich.
While Hernández is technically Milan’s first new face this summer, he has become their second permanent signing of the window after Franck Kessié‘s loan move from Atalanta turned full-time at the start of the month.
He’s also become Real Madrid’s fourth sale of the summer, joining Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Raúl de Tomás (S.L. Benfica) and Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) out the door at the Santiago Bernabéu.
While still only confirmed by Milan, Hernández actually became a Milan player on Friday after his contract at San Siro was filed with the Lega Serie A.
Robert Snodgrass has claimed the whole of West Ham’s squad are buying into manager Manuel Pellegrini’s project and are constantly learning from the Chilean.
Pellegrini took over in May 2018 and led the Hammers to a tenth place finish in the Premier League. The 65-year-old previously managed Manchester City for three years and won the league title with them in 2013/14.
The Chilean left his previous role at Hebei China Fortune to take charge at the ?Hammers, replacing David Moyes. He has adopted a different style of play to previous managers and Snodgrass has claimed he is constantly learning from the boss.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the manager. I think you go through a stage where you’re constantly asking questions because you’re learning every day, and when it’s like that you need to bring results with it,” the Scotland international told the ?club’s website.
“I think supporters will agree that we had some good performances at London Stadium last season, and away from home as well. I also think the manager was happy because, although we didn’t perform in those first four games, we got to grips with our problems and picked up better results.
“Football is a results-based business and when it’s going well like it has been, everybody buys into what we’re trying to do here.”
The manager and players both appear to be keen to push on from their mid-table finish last season. The club have already ?completed the signing of Pablo Fornals from Villarreal in a £24m deal and are ??close to bringing in Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez, signifying their intentions.
In his interview, Snodgrass added: “For me, it’s about trying to build on last season now…I’m driven by a desire to be a better player, to listen and to learn. We’re all constantly learning, and the manager and his staff will want to implement more, new ideas this season. To be a part of that going forward, I’m delighted.”