ARSENAL will not play again in the Premier League until at least May after Premier League extended it's coronavirus suspension by four weeks.
But the Gunners have revealed plans to help deal with the crisis, including donating money to charity and helping out the youngsters in the local area.
Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas has revealed that he tried to get bring Xabi Alonso to Arsenal from Liverpool in 2009 – but the club failed to act.
Get all the latest Arsenal news and gossip here…
MORNING, ARSENAL FANS
Barcelona have boosted Arsenal's slim hopes of keeping skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – but Celtic's Odsonne Edouard is a surprise possible replacement if he does depart.
The Spanish champs will reportedly only revert to targeting Gabon superstar Aubameyang if they fail to land £100milion-rated, first-choice strike target Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan.
Aubameyang, though, has so far failed to agree a new contract, heightening the interest of both Manchester United and Chelsea.
Edouard is now said to be on the Gunners' list of possible alternatives, with Leiester and Everton also thought interested in a 22-year-old who could cost £30m.
The Frenchman has hit 61 goals in 125 games since swapping PSG for Celtic, including 27 this term.
And Arsenal are doing their bit to keep the morale of fans up amid the lockdown due to coronavirus
The Gunners will stream for free a feature-length documentary on the Invincibles, the unbeaten 2003-04 Premier League title winners, glory through their website and app at 7.30pm this Friday.
LEWIN FEARS MENTAL TOLL
Ex-Arsenal and England physio Gary Lewin fears footballers becoming “institutionalised” and suffering mentally due to the coronavirus-enforced suspension.
Clubs put players on strict training regimes evenbefore the Government's three-week lockdown.
And speaking to the Football Ramble Daily Podcast, Lewin said: “I’ve heard the phrase institutionalised used and it’s not wrong.
“Players, their whole lives are geared around performance and getting ready for the next game, and we’re now in the business end of the season, the last 10-12 games of the league, the final stages of all cup competitions and suddenly that’s stopped.
“This will be unprecedented. Players sometimes stop through injury, players sometimes stop through illness, or they stop because they’ve been dropped from the team, but the matches still go on.
“Turning the telly on at the weekend and there’s no Match Of The Day or live reporting of any sport anywhere – it’s a massive void.
“From a sports perspective, the adrenaline rush that they get two or three times a week, the competitive urge they get on a regular basis is now being withdrawn.
“That would come into some of the thinking of the support staff in clubs if they’re doing group fitness sessions with players from home – to make it competitive and give a competitive edge amongst the squad.”
BARCA TAME INTEREST IN AUBA
Arsenal have been boosted by reports Barcelona have cooled their interest in Manchestr United target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Daily Star claim the Catalans will not make a move for the Gunners skipper and Gabon striker unless they fail to Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez, who has also been linked with Chelsea.
Barca are said to have already had a £65million bid rejected by the Serie A side, despite their willingness to include Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo in the deal.
Inter boss Antonio Conte has insisted Martinez is not going anywhere this summer, but is braced for a follow-up bid for their star man.
United are among seeal clubs thought to be monitoring the Argentine ace, 22, who has a release clause of £100million.
Meanwhile, Aubameyang has continued to stall on a new deal.
SunSport exclusively revealed on Thursday how United are eyeing up a £50m swoop for the Gabon star as he nears the end of his contract at the Emirates.
GUNNER HELP FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19
Arsenal have announced they will donate £150,000 to help towards fighting coronavirus as well as making all staff cars available to NHS workers.
The Gunners have released a nine-point plan where they have stated how they are going to give back to the community with the club in constant contact with Islington Council and the NHS.
A club statement said: “Arsenal Football Club has never shied away from responding to the needs of its community.
“In these uncertain times we are taking a series of steps to ensure our local and global communities receive our full support.”
The club then released the nine ways how they are helping out:
- £100k for local charities and organisations
- £50k redirected to Islington Giving's Crisis Fund Club cars to help frontline NHS staff Staff volunteers to drive NHS staff
- Locals schools and pupil referral unit support Digital resources for primary school children BTEC tutors delivering classes remotely
- Regular contact for vulnerable youngsters
- Remote Coaching for Life in Jordan and Indonesia Commenting on the Covid-19 crisis
Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “Arsenal Football Club exists to make our fans proud and create a sense of community for people in Islington, across the UK and around the world.
“During these uncertain and unprecedented times, we will endeavour to ensure that remains the case.”
Xabi Alonso “begged everyone” to force through a move to Arsenal in 2009 – but the Gunners messed up an easy deal and his pal Cesc Fabregas was left fuming.
Looking back at that summer, Fabregas told Arsecast: “He’s one. I was with Xabi on the phone the whole summer.
“He was dying to come. He was literally begging everyone to go to Arsenal, he really wanted to come.
“And to be honest, I did my best. I spoke to who I had to speak to. I gave my opinion, I thought that he was a fantastic addition for us at that time.
“And yeah I have to say that a couple of times like that I was frustrated by the lack of push, the final push – you know what I mean?
“That it’s so close, the player is dying to come, it’s so easy to make this deal.”
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