WILLIAN is now an Arsenal player after the club officially unveiled the former Chelsea man on a free transfer.
And another Kia Joorabchian client, Philippe Coutinho may also be on his way after the agent confirmed he wants a Premier League move.
Get all the latest news and transfer gossip from North London here...
MIKEL ARTETA ON WILLIAN
The Arsenal boss said: “I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us.
“We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.
“He has the experience of everything in the football world but to still have the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs.
“I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come.”
HERE HE IS
Willian is in the red shirt and white sleeves.
What do we think, Gunners fans, good signing or average?
Arsenal have completed the signing of Willian after the Brazilian left Chelsea.
BUILDING FOR REGS
Arsenal have joined Chelsea in the chase for Sevilla’s Sergio Reguillon, who is on loan from Real Madrid, according to reports.
The 23-year-old left-back has emerged as one of the Blues’ top targets since Leicester slapped an £80million price tag on Ben Chilwell’s head.
According to AS, Mikel Arteta is also interested in the Real Madrid-owned full-back.
Sevilla are set to play Manchester United in their Europa League semi-final on Sunday, after beating Wolves in the quarter-finals.
Arsenal already have a difficult situation with one of Real Madrid’s players, as the Gunners hope Dani Ceballos is staying next season, preferably on loan.
Arsenal are set to pay Willian £220,000-a-week, it's claimed.
The staggering sum puts the club at risk of a backlash having just made 55 staff redundant.
The former Chelsea player, who became a free agent at the end of the season, is on the verge of completing his move to Arsenal.
The Mail report that the 32-year-old's huge weekly wage is made up of a signing on fee, loyalty payments and other bonuses.
It works out at around £11.4million a year, and a total of £34m over the course of the three year contract.
The report adds that there will be an option for a fourth year.
With a deal expected to go through this weekend, it'll come hot on the heels of the club announcing a flood or redundancies.
THE THICK OF IT
The new football season will be the most hectic in history, writes DUNCAN WRIGHT.
Premier League, FA and Carabao Cup dates were released yesterday as part of an eight-month coronavirus-enforced fixture pile-up.
Fans will finally be allowed to return to stadiums next month — but the Government will cap the number allowed inside and supporters may be banned from singing for fear of spreading the killer Covid-19 bug.
The new Prem season kicks-off on September 12, concluding on May 23, with the Champions League and Europa League finals to be played in the following week.
COUGH IT UP
Arsenal will have to come up with some “big numbers” if they want to secure the transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona.
That's according to the player's agent Kia Joorabchian who fears the coronavirus crisis could scupper the deal.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Joorabchian said: “After the Champions League is finished, and whatever happens, then we’ll sit down.
“It could be that Barcelona is the ultimate destination.
“He loves the Premier League, but the finances and the numbers and the situation of COVID are going to play a big part.
“He’s a big player with big numbers.”
GOOD MORNING ARSENAL FANS
Football fans will finally begin returning to stadiums next month — but might not be allowed to sing.
A further easing of lockdown rules announced last night will also see snooker lovers back in the Crucible this weekend for the World Championship.
Trials of allowing some fans back in stadiums will be tested later that month ahead of a planned full rollout in October.
And what did you make of the Mesut Ozil shaped bombshell that fell on the football world yesterday then?
On his side against the billionaires who could easily afford his salary and those of the 55 made redundant?
Or think he’s a selfish money-grabber with no regard for the club, its staff or its fans?
Opinion splitting Ozil spoke to the Athletic and insisted he will stay at Arsenal until his deal expires next summer and said: “I'll decide when I go, not others.”
The German also expressed “disappointment” with Arsenal after the club refused to criticise China over its Uighur Muslim killings.
Ozil also claimed he felt rushed into the pay-cut decision and said the club left questions un-answered as they pressured the Gunners’ squad into saying yes.
In transfers, Willian’s move to the Emirates will reportedly be “announced soon and is decided”, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.
The Gunners were also joined by Juventus in the Thomas Partey race and the Atletico star is 'very interested' in joining the Italians.
And in another blow Napoli reportedly 'agreed terms with Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes' but that could mean Kalidou Koulibaly could now leave.
Young Arsenal prospect Zech Medley also joined League One side Gillingham on a season-long loan with the 20-year-old hoping for more game time.
Away from transfers, it emerged ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reportedly ‘turned down the Barcelona job’ with Quique Setien’s future in the balance.
Finally, Premier League stars were warned to STOP posting holiday snaps on social media over quarantine fears on their UK return.
And next season, the Prem is set for fixture chaos at start of the campaign with the initial four rounds of the Carabao Cup crammed into the first month.
FA Cup replays were also AXED for 2020/21 in a desperate bid to get the competition finished in the jam-packed campaign.
And FA CUP prize money has been slashed by half for next season as the financial crash in football because of Covid-19 continues to bite.
Spectators will be made to sign up to a new code of behaviour.
It will make them take full responsibility for themselves and others by not attending if they have Covid symptoms or have been exposed to anyone with them.
And strict crowd management plans will be enforced with one-way entry and exit and staggered arrival times.
Seating will be socially distanced and hand washing and sanitiser stations set up.
But no trials are scheduled for the North West, which remains under stricter control.
CROWDS COMING BACK!
Football fans will finally begin returning to stadiums next month — but might not be allowed to sing.
A further easing of lockdown rules announced tonight will also see snooker lovers back in the Crucible this weekend for the World Championship.
Rugby matches and racing at Goodwood are also on the list of approved “pilot” events in the coming weeks.
But capacity will be capped and all fans will likely be urged not to chant or shout for fear of spreading the virus.
The new Premier League season starts on September 12.
Trials of allowing some fans back in stadiums will be tested later that month ahead of a planned full rollout in October…
PAIN IN THE ARSENAL
Willian's agent has slammed Arsenal’s previous transfer policy by accusing the club’s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat of “cock ups”.
Kia Joorabchian – who represents Cedric Soares, David Luiz and Gunners bound Willian – has been labelled as having too much influence on Arsenal’s transfers since Mislintat left his role in January 2019.
But when asked about his links with Arsenal’s dealings the super-agent took a swipe at Mislintat.
He told talkSPORT: “People forget about the previous guy, Sven.
“He made a bunch of cock-ups with players he brought in at very, very large numbers.”
TAKE YOUR EMER-PICK
Arsenal are asking fans to choose their goal-of-the-season and have put this Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang free-kick up for selection.
🎙 "OH, WONDERFUL STUFF FROM PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG!"
🏆 Is this @Aubameyang7 free-kick your Goal of the Season?
🗳 Cast your vote 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 13, 2020
EA Sports have released their latest trailer for Fifa 21, ahead of the game’s October 6 release date.
The promo focuses on career mode, which appears to have had quite the revamp.
Vice-president of EA Nick Wlodyka told Goal: “The Career Mode is very important for this year.
“We’ve really made the biggest investments we’ve ever made to make sure we’re delivering exactly what our players are asking for.
“We’ve had so much feedback over the past few years from our players wanting to see more things they can control in career mode.
“We listened to what they want to be able to do, things they haven’t been able to do in the past.”
That will be a hammer blow to clubs down the football pyramid who are operating hand to mouth in order to survive.
League One and Two clubs will also see a dramatic reduction of prize money when they enter the competition, with a victory in the second round dropping in value from £54,000 to £34,000.
With big paydays in terms of plum draws against Premier League sides also off the table because of the lack of capacity crowds, the cut in prize fund will add to the misery of those hardest hit.
The winners of the FA Cup will collect £1.8million instead of the £3.6m Arsenal received for beating Chelsea earlier this month.
WHAT THE CUP?!
FA Cup prize money has been slashed by half for next season as the financial crash in football because of Covid-19 continues to bite.
The Football Association have been forced to lower the money forked out to teams across the competition – hitting those most in need the hardest.
Semi-pro and lower league teams are fighting for their survivals following the coronavirus pandemic and many were hoping a decent Cup run might be able to keep them alive.
Last year teams who won a game in the extra preliminary round were awarded £2,250 while the losers collected £750 – but those payments have been reduced to £1,125 and £325 respectively.
Winning a fourth qualifying round tie to make the First Round proper had been worth £18,750 to a club, but next season that reward is slashed to just £9,375…
Manchester United have been dealt a blow after Napoli were said to have agreed terms with Gabriel Magalhaes – with Kalidou Koulibaly now set to quit.
A host of Premier League clubs – including Arsenal and Tottenham – were interested in the £22million-rated Lille centre-back.
His brother and sister even started following the Gunners on Instagram.
But Napoli appear to have won the race for Magalhaes, according to Manchester Evening News.
NO MOUR OF THAT
Jose Mourinho accused Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's agent of trying to get him to Arsenal.
Hojbjerg's agent Kia Joorabchian has close links with Arsenal but is adamant he did no such thing.
He told TalkSport: “When a story picks up, it goes.
“I was talking to Jose after Pierre signed [for Tottenham] and he said, 'Ah, you were trying to get him to Arsenal'.
“We never tried to get him to Arsenal. He had an offer from Everton.
“A rumour picks up and people kind of think, oh that sounds good, let’s try and build on that because we have nothing else to write.”
Willian will complete his free transfer to Arsenal this weekend after leaving Chelsea, according to reports.
The Brazilian star, 32, is rumoured to have agreed to a three-year contract worth £100,00 a week with the Gunners.
Talks over a new contract at Stamford Bridge stalled after Blues chiefs refused to offer more than two years.
On Thursday, Willian’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, confirmed his client’s next career move would be announced soon.
And now, the Daily Mail have claimed it will be to Arsenal – and will be as early as this weekend.
HOLD THE PHONE
Rob Holding says his favourite game in an Arsenal shirt was this season's FA Cup final victory over Chelsea at Wembley.
It reads: “Those at the bottom of the merit table, and those who complete fewer than 10 matches, do not qualify.
“Payments to those who complete fewer than 20 matches are discounted (by 40 per cent up to 14 matches and 15 per cent up to 19).
“The distribution is otherwise based on a set number of “shares” which are split in the manner specified in the document, with the first ranked referee receiving the most shares.
“A further email is sent on behalf of Mr Riley after the end of the season referring to PGMOL's Board having confirmed the size of the pot.
“The maximum payment for 2014-15 was around £3,500 and the lowest was under £700.
“Mr Riley's evidence was that merit payments would be made as indicated unless the referee group had had a 'catastrophic' season, which he thought might happen if the EFL was dissatisfied with the overall level of service.”
Premier League referees will receive a performance-related bonus – despite a season of shoddy officiating.
Despite the unpopular introduction of VAR, officials will yet again pocket some extra cash as they have done in previous campaigns.
A meeting will be held on September 12 to decide on the bonus figure each referee will receive although the total amount remains unknown.
All referees in each four divisions who have taken charge of more than ten games are eligible.
That is unless they have endured a “catastrophic” season, according to Sky Sports.
According to court documents written by Premier League referee chief Mike Riley, it informs refs of the size of their bonus…
SNAP IT SHUT
Premier League stars have been warned to STOP sharing holiday snaps on social media over fears of their quarantine whereabouts on their return to the UK.
Top-flight clubs are set to kick off their pre-season plans as early as next week following a condensed summer break.
A hatful of players are currently enjoying a quick break in the sun – with the likes of Dele Alli, Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Frank Lampard all making the most of their few weeks off.
But now Sportsmail have claimed stars have been urged to ditch social media in a bid to avoid awkward questions surrounding their whereabouts during periods of self-isolation.
Spanish hot-spots such as Marbella and Ibiza are favourites amongst the world's best footballers.
TAKE A LEAF OUT OF MY BOOK
Hector Bellerin claims he has had 50,000 trees planted as a result of his fundraising efforts.
He said on Instagra: “Started with a cause to raise awareness of a global need to plant trees and offset carbon emissions.
“Got told we wouldn’t plant any…
”50,000 trees now planted.
“Thank you to everyone who supported and played a part. @onetreeplanted”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed his generosity after paying for a 7-a-side match in Italy and gifting every player a Gunners shirt.
The former AC Milan youth player was visiting his brothers Willy and Catilina, before they showed up to a football centre in Varese.
According to Gazzetta, the game also featured ex-Belarusian striker Vitali Kutuzov, who lives in the area, as well as rapper Fabio Rizzo.
Aubameyang’s team all wore Arsenal shirts and the forward then made sure he paid for the pitch.
The 31-year-old also handed out Gunners shirts for all the players to keep.
Aubameyang in 2016, when playing for Borussia Dortmund, played in a tournament at the Franco Ossola stadium, situated in Varese.
IT WON’T BE LONG
Kia Joorabchian also confirmed the announcement of Willian’s transfer to Arsenal is imminent.
He told talkSPORT: “It won’t be long before we announce it. We know where he is going.”