Arsenal Linked With Stoke City Keeper
Arsenal have joined Liverpool in the race for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland. The England international is wanted by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as the replacement for Petr Cech. The 35-year-old has one year left on his contract at the Emirates but has increasingly come under fire for his performances.
However, Wenger will face competition from Liverpool. The Merseyside club’s manager Jurgen Klopp still has problems between the sticks with neither Simon Mignolet nor Loris Karius impressing this season.
Butland is 24 and is keen to move to a club closer to the top end of the Premier League. At present he looks set to spend the rest of the season in the relegation dog-fight with the Potters down to 18th place in the Premier League table.
Arsenal Interest Led To New Deal For Ghoulam
Arsenal transfer target Faouzi Ghoulam signed a new contract with Napoli to fend off interest from the Gunners.
Arsenal were linked last month with the full-back even though he is currently out of action with a serious knee injury. Ghoulam signed a new deal in December that could keep him at Napoli until 2022. He is expected to miss much of the rest of the season with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament.
Ghoulam’s new deal is worth €3.5million a year after tax – the equivalent of just under £110,000-a-week gross and comparative to anything he could have earned at the Emirates.
Napoli moved after hearing of Arsenal’s interest. The Gunners were one of three clubs interested in the France-born 27-year-old. Ligue 1 sides Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco were also keen, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ghoulam’s Napoli team-mates all took to the field wearing his number 31 shirt before yesterday’s Serie A clash with Lazio. Afterwards, Ghoulam hailed “my team-mates and the whole city” for the gesture. “I will soon be back,” he added.
The Algerian isn’t expected to return to action until the middle of April. He has been named in Napoli’s squad for the forthcoming Europa League knockout stages in the hope that the side will still be involved on his return.