Will Manchester United sign Jadon Sancho or not?

That is the question dominating headlines as United reportedly negotiate with Borussia Dortmund.

This transfer saga is one to watch.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO END SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United are threatening to walk away from a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in England.

Sancho has been tipped to swap Dortmund for United, with Bild claiming a lucrative five-year contract has been agreed as the Bundesliga outfit insist on a €120million (£108m) fee.

But Goal, Sky Sports and The Mirror say United are ready to pursue alternatives of Dortmund do not lower their demands.

 

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- The Guardian reports Leicester City are trying to sign Francisco Trincao from Barcelona. Leicester have proposed a two-season loan deal with an obligation to buy for £45m (€50m). Trincao is preparing to link up with Barca after the LaLiga giants signed the 20-year-old from Braga in January.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are eyeing a move for Norwich City left-back  Jamal Lewis, says The Mirror. Lewis impressed in 2019-20 as Norwich were relegated and Liverpool are looking to wrap up a £10m deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio claims Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier is open to joining Serie A side Milan.

- According to Tuttomercatoweb, Juventus are lining up possible replacements for under-fire head coach Maurizio Sarri. Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini and Luciano Spalletti have all been linked.

-  Aston Villa are aiming to keep star captain and rumoured United target Jack Grealish by offering a new contract, reports The Sun.

- Linked with United , Everton and Napoli, France Bleu Nord claims Arsenal are leading the race for Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes.

- Is Federico Chiesa set for Old Trafford? La Nazione reports United have made a €55m (£49m) offer for the Fiorentina forward, who has also been linked to Inter, Juve and Chelsea .

- Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake is poised to complete his move to Manchester City. Fabrizio Romano reports there is a total agreement and a medical will take place in the next couple of days.

Things seem to be moving quickly at Manchester United and Jadon Sancho could be on his way to Old Trafford.

Sancho, 20, has been heavily linked with a move to several Premier League giants this close season after starring for Borussia Dortmund.

And a switch to United appears to be close, latest reports indicate.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO PAY €120M FOR SANCHO

Borussia Dortmund expect Manchester United to pay £107.9million (€120m) for Sancho in instalments, according to Sport Bild.

Its report says the Bundesliga club are prepared to accept that as long as the offer is submitted by August 10.

Sancho scored 20 goals in 44 games in all competitions for Dortmund in 2019-20.

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- Staying at Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez is reportedly set for a permanent exit. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Inter and United have reached an agreement over Sanchez, saying he will make his move to the Serie A club permanent on a free, signing a three-year deal worth €7m per year.

- Barcelona are still looking to raise funds. Sport reports the LaLiga club's main transfer targets are Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia. Meanwhile, Sport also says Barca rejected a £54m (€60m) bid from a Premier League club for 20-year-old forward Francisco Trincao.

- While Manchester City are reportedly set to sign Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, the Premier League giants are apparently still looking to strengthen elsewhere at the back. ESPN reports City are still interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

- There remains uncertainty over Antonio Conte's future at Inter, according to reports. Fabrizio Romano says the head coach held a call with president Steven Zhang with a decision to be made after the Europa League.

- With Willian coming out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season, the attacker is apparently attracting plenty of interest. France Football reports Arsenal have offered Willian the best deal with their three-year offer.

- Idrissa Gueye could be on his way out of Paris Saint-Germain after just one season. Le 10 Sport reports the Ligue 1 champions want to sell the midfielder, who has been linked to Manchester United and Wolves.

Memphis Depay has links to Manchester United and he might be able to help out his former club.

Depay spent two years at United but struggled before leaving for Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in 2017.

The Netherlands international has since flourished in France, and he could now play a role in United bringing Jadon Sancho to Manchester.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND WANT DEPAY AS SANCHO REPLACEMENT

Manchester United's bid to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho could hinge on Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to The Sun.

Sancho has been tipped to leave Bundesliga side Dortmund for Premier League giants United in a blockbuster transfer this off-season.

Former United forward Depay has emerged as a possible replacement for Sancho at Dortmund and is reportedly the key to the Red Devils prising the England international to Old Trafford.

 

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- Could Antonio Conte leave Inter after just one season? The Inter head coach took aim at the club after their final game of the Serie A season – a 2-0 win over Atalanta on Saturday to secure second spot behind Juventus. Conte claimed neither he nor his players were protected by the club amid criticism. Now, Sky Sport Italia, SportMediaset, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport claim the damage is irreparable. With Conte facing an uncertain future, former Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have emerged as possible replacements.

- Le10Sport reports Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele to join the Gunners. Dembele has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants, who are reportedly trying to raise transfer funds through sales. Aubameyang himself has been linked to Barca, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and United previously.

Milan are ready to sell Lucas Paqueta, claims Calciomercato. Linked to PSG previously, Serie A rivals Fiorentina are interested in the Brazilian attacker and an exchange involving Viola star defender Nikola Milenkovic could take place.

- According to the Telegraph, Sevilla defender Diego Carlos is at the top of Arsenal's transfer wish list. Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have also been credited with interest.

- AS Diario says Real Madrid have a clear plan of when they want to pursue their transfer targets amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reluctant to spend after winning LaLiga and in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Madrid are focusing on 2021 – PSG's Kylian Mbappe at the top of the list. Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is also wanted next year, while Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is a 2022 target.

Mikel Arteta has challenged Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal and become a club great.

Aubameyang scored both goals – as he did in the semi-final win over Manchester City – as Arsenal completed a stirring 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea on Saturday.

The former Borussia Dortmund forward has 70 goals in all competitions since joining the Gunners in January 2018, but his future is the subject of mounting speculation.

Aubameyang is out of contract next year, although Arteta has repeatedly expressed confidence the Gabon international is ready to remain at Emirates Stadium.

After his superb winning goal downed London rivals Chelsea, he was challenged by his head coach to place himself alongside the likes of Ian Wright and Thierry Henry in Arsenal history.

"It's the most difficult thing in football, that's for sure, and he makes it simple – look at the second goal he scored," Arteta said.

"We always had incredible strikers at this football club and Auba deserves to be named and compared with the big names.

"By winning trophies he will be closer to that and the longer he stays there as well.

"Hopefully we can have him for more time."

Arteta also made a point of praising Aubameyang's work ethic – the captain leading by example in a squad where the likes of Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi have fallen shy of their boss' exacting standards.

"The biggest problem as well was probably to convince [Aubameyang] to work the way he is working," Arteta added.

"He was going to get more rewarded, more respected and then that respect goes from respect to admiration – admiration from his team-mates, the people who work with him and the fans.

"I think now, the way he is conducting himself on and off the field, he has got that."

Frank Lampard has implored the Premier League to push back the start of the 2020-21 season for clubs still competing in Europe.

Lampard's Chelsea travel to face Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League on Saturday, albeit with limited hopes of reaching the quarter-finals as they face up to a 3-0 deficit from February's first leg.

Manchester City face Real Madrid 24 hours earlier at the Etihad Stadium, 2-1 to the good and with a more realistic tilt at playing in the final in Lisbon on August 23.

Manchester United and Wolves remain in the Europa League, which concludes on August 21 in Cologne.

Lampard, who will be without captain Cesar Azpilicueta and winger Christian Pulisic at Bayern after both sustained hamstring injuries during Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, believes the Premier League's stipulated start date of September 12 for next season is much too soon in that context.

"The players need to be given a break to play at the level of the quality product that the Premier League is," he said.

"Even in the worst-case scenario that we don’t go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for us to start playing again.

"The players need a break. That's why we're pulling two hamstrings and having players pulling out of the game before this.

"I would like to think the Premier League will look seriously at that and hopefully give us a fair start for next season.

"I think it's something we deserve for being a Premier League club competing in the Champions League."

Despite ending his first domestic campaign in charge of Chelsea on a dispiriting note, Lampard was keen to hail the season as a success on the whole, with the Blues securing Champions League qualification for next season despite being placed under a transfer embargo before the start of 2019-20.

"I'm delighted with the season and I've wanted to keep that within for the last week as I don't like to get too excited when there's a big game coming up," he said, despite accusing his team of "complacency" after failing to capitalise upon Pulisic's early opener at Wembley.

"But we have to reflect on a season going into it where people didn’t expect us to be in the top four. There were unknowns, the transfer ban, other clubs around us moving forward with recruitment when we couldn't.

"You can lose a final, we've lost a final and that's frustrating for us. But there's a bigger picture that we're working to and we've seen lots of good things.

"The players should be proud of how they've competed. The league position is a huge plus because, let's get it right, not many people gave us that chance at the start.

"Now we have to look to get better. [The FA Cup final] showed us there definitely is room to get better."

Any progress next term looks increasingly likely to take place without long-serving winger Willian.

The Brazil international is out of contract and has been linked with Arsenal, although Lampard is in the dark over his former team-mate's next move.

"I know the situation from the club's end, I've got a great relationship with Willian but I do not know what that decision is," he added.

"He's been brilliant for me this season but it is his choice and I respect his choice. He's been a great servant for Chelsea if he decides to move on."

Could Kasper Schmeichel follow in his father's footsteps?

Peter Schmeichel earned legendary status at Manchester United after winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time at the club.

Now, Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper is being linked with a sensational move to the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED CONSIDER SCHMEICHEL MOVE

Manchester United are lining up a transfer swoop for Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to replace David de Gea, according to The Sun.

De Gea's position at United has come under threat following a slump in form for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, despite being contracted until 2023.

There have been calls for Dean Henderson, who has spent time on loan at Sheffield United, to return Old Trafford, however, Kasper – the son of Red Devils legend Peter – is reportedly seen as the perfect ready-made option.

 

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Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a bid for Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Le10Sport. Thiago has been tipped to join Premier League champions Liverpool, however, Ligue 1 holders PSG are believed to be in the mix for his signature.

- TF1 reports United have made contact with Monaco about a potential move for 19-year-old centre-back Benoit Badiashile, who has also been linked to Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have ruled out a swap deal that would see Ivan Rakitic move to Juventus in exchange for Rodrigo Bentancur.

Milan have opened talks with Tottenham over the signing of right-back Serge Aurier, reports Sky Sport journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Juve are willing to offer Federico Bernardeschi and Cristian Romero to Serie A rivals Roma as part of a deal to sign Italian star Nicolo Zaniolo, claims SportMediaset. Zaniolo has also been linked to Madrid, Tottenham and former club Inter.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is willing to wait for a Madrid move until 2021-22, Marca claims. The 17-year-old has been heavily linked to the LaLiga champions as well as PSG.

Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta will miss Chelsea's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich after limping off in Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal.

Captain Azpilicueta pulled up with a hamstring injury five minutes after giving away a penalty that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted to kickstart Arsenal's comeback.

And Pulisic, the scorer of Chelsea's early opener at Wembley, also made way four minutes into the second half with an identical issue sustained as he was charging through on goal.

Pedro then suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder late on and Frank Lampard has ruled the trio out of next Saturday's last-16 second leg with Bayern, which Chelsea will start trailing 3-0 on aggregate.

"I don't know the full extent of the injuries, but I know its the hamstrings with Azpi and Christian," he said at his post-match news conference.

"They have to be scanned and assessed over the next few days. They clearly won't be fit for next week."

Pedro, who was given oxygen as he was stretchered off the field, is expected to join Roma on a free transfer when his Chelsea contract expires later this month.

"I believe it could be a dislocated shoulder but don't go too soon on that," Lampard said when asked for an update on the forward's condition.

"I've not seen him yet as he was whisked away so it's a disappointing end as that's probably going to be his last game for Chelsea.

"He's been an incredible servant and I'm disappointed for him."

Chelsea got off to a flyer through Pulisic's fifth-minute strike but Aubameyang added to his penalty with an impressive second to take Arsenal's record tally of triumphs in the competition to 14.

The Blues' hopes of scoring an equaliser were dented by a controversial second yellow card shown to Mateo Kovacic for a challenge on Granit Xhaka.

Replays showed Kovacic barely made contact with his opponent and Lampard questioned referee Anthony Taylor's decision to reach into his back pocket.

"The penalty was rightly awarded, but it wasn't a sending off, that was pretty clear," he said.

And Lampard insisted on another day the outcome could have been different for Chelsea, who finished fourth in the Premier League in the club legend's first season in charge.

"Today was not about not showing up. We made a great start and had control of the game," he said.

"Then we got sloppy and got slower in our game and that changes the tone of it. 

"If Christian goes through and scores instead of pulling his hamstring then things are different, although we didn't play well enough.

"I can't criticise the players and their approach in their desire to win this game. We can't be stuck on today - we have to look at the season."

Aubameyang ultimately proved the difference in the all-London final and Lampard admitted his side's defending could have been better on the day.

"He's scored two goals, one of those being a penalty which he earns," he said.

"I was clear with the players about the threat of Arsenal's long balls behind them. We allowed him in easily.

"Aubameyang's a top-class player. His second goal showed his ability. In moments like that Aubameyang can finish you off."

Mikel Arteta thanked Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final to give the head coach what he described as the best moment of his career.

Arteta left his position as City assistant in December after three years alongside Guardiola to take over from Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium.

The 38-year-old has enjoyed a successful first campaign at Arsenal, culminating in Saturday's win at Wembley to take their record tally of triumphs in the famous competition to 14.

And Arteta, who becomes the first Arsenal boss to win a major trophy in his first season in charge since George Graham in 1986-87, was quick to laud Guardiola.

"He has been a key figure in my development as a coach," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"He has my gratitude. I wouldn't be sitting here today without him. I have to thank him big time."

Arteta also had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank after his double turned the all-London final around following Christian Pulisic's early opener for Chelsea.

The Spaniard, who said after the match he is optimistic Aubameyang will sign a contract extension, praised the club captain for another match-winning display.

"Big games require big moments for big players - he did that in the semi-final and now today," he said. 

"People questioning whether he can do it in big games and he's done it today."

Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League - their lowest position since 1994-95 - but have earned a place in next season's Europa League thanks to their win over Chelsea.

Arteta is pleased with the steps his players have taken in his first eight months at the helm and is hopeful that his side can build on their latest domestic cup success.

"I think this is the best moment of my career because I know the difficulties we've been through," he said.

"I had one mission - make the players and staff believe that we could do it. Seeing the change in the dressing room is what makes me more proud.

"I completely understood the needs of this football club. I knew the challenges I was facing when I made a decision to come here and the expectations we will always have. 

"This is the first one. Let's enjoy it today. My players have been fantastic and the staff and everyone upstairs."

Arteta, who only ended his playing career with Arsenal in 2016, added: "I could write a book on my time here. Everyday has presented something different. 

"I'm very lucky the people I have around me for every decision I had to make. Until you are sitting in this seat, you don't know the responsibility you have to make. 

"I'm proud of what we've done."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard accepted his team got what they deserved as they lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final, suffering major casualties along the way.

Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw Arsenal recover from the shock of going behind early on to Christian Pulisic's slick finish.

Lampard said Chelsea's season reached a "tipping point" as he pointed to the injury blows they suffered, with hamstring issues forcing captain Cesar Azpilicueta and the lively Pulisic off, before substitute Pedro was carried away with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Chelsea also had Mateo Kovacic sent off after 73 minutes, damaging their hopes of getting back on level terms.

Lampard told BBC One: "We started well for 10 or 15 minutes, scored a goal, had other chances, controlled the game, and we could only blame ourselves from that point in football terms, because we decided to take control, as in 'let's get complacent, let's take our time on the ball, let's try and play short passes like it's a bit of a stroll'.

"A cup final can never be a stroll. We allowed them back into the game and when it's like that it's hard to get yourself back in the game.

"We did in the second half for big periods, but a lot of today was on us.

"We were slow, played back on ourselves, invited pressure. We didn't perform well enough to win a final.

"It all came together for us today, didn't it! We were below par after the start, two hamstrings, dislocated shoulder. Willian was injured yesterday and had to pull out of the game.

"We're at the end of a long, long season ... it felt like it came to the tipping point a bit today."

Mikel Arteta is confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will sign a new deal and intends to build Arsenal's squad around the striker following his FA Cup final heroics against Chelsea.

Aubameyang followed up his semi-final brace against Manchester City with two more goals in Saturday's 2-1 win over 10-man Chelsea as Arsenal recovered from an early Christian Pulisic strike.

The Gabon international's future has been shrouded in doubt amid reports he does not intend to sign a contract extension, with his current terms due to expire next year.

However, Arteta said on the eve of the final he does not expect Aubameyang to leave and he is now even more optimistic about Arsenal's chances of persuading their captain to stay.

"He knows what I think about him. I want to build the squad around him," Arteta told BBC One. "I think he wants to stay and it is just about getting the deal done.

"But I think these moments will help him to realise and believe that we are in the right path and he is a big part of that. 

 

"He is loved by everybody at the club. Hopefully he can continue with us."

Asked if he feels Aubameyang will put pen to paper on a new deal, Arteta replied: "I think he will, yes."

Arsenal showed good character to respond to Pulisic's fifth-minute goal at Wembley, with Aubameyang converting from the penalty spot before half-time and adding a second with an impressive solo strike in the second half.

And Arteta, who succeeded Unai Emery as Arsenal boss in December, believes his side kept one of their best displays of his tenure until the final game of the season.

"It was a difficult start when we conceded so early. If I know something about these players, it's that we weren't going to give up," he said.

"We played probably the best 30 minutes after since I arrived. I am so proud to represent these players and this club."

Arsenal finished the Premier League season in eighth place but will now play in the Europa League next season after lifting the FA Cup for a record-extending 14th time.

"It is a double reward for us. It is really important for this club in every way to be in Europe. We all did it so I am so happy," Arteta added.

"The players were completely knackered and they made a massive effort through the coronavirus to keep fit so I am so happy for them."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won the FA Cup for Arsenal with his Wembley double but left Gunners fans guessing about his future.

The Gabon striker dropped the trophy amid the celebrations but it was his only clanger of the day, after his two goals guided Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea.

His first goal was a confident penalty and the second strike was one to savour, twisting by Kurt Zouma before lifting the ball over Willy Caballero.

Asked what he could say about his future, given his contract expires at the end of next season, Aubameyang told BBC One: "Nothing, just today, trophy, that's it."

It was a day he and Arsenal deservedly relished, and a place in next season's Europa League awaits them.

"We enjoyed today. We are all happy," Aubameyang said.

"Emi [goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez] is crying. That shows that he's really implicated in this game and in this trophy."

Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal as head coach in November, and Aubameyang hailed his impact.

"I think he deserved this win. I think he did a great job and we are happy to have him on board. We just follow him," said the 31-year-old.

Discussing his dazzling winning goal, Aubameyang said: "Zouma knows me well. He knows I'm right-footed so that's why I said, okay, I went on the left there."

The Gunners frontman said his winner was like "Wrighty in the 90s" when told Arsenal great Ian Wright was lapping up the action from the BBC studio at Wembley.

Wright described Aubameyang's impact as "amazing finishes from the top man, the man that we needed." 

"He's come up with the goods," the former England international added.

In an FA Cup final that felt like a signpost for where two clubs at the transitional beginnings of new eras might be heading, the contributions of those who might not follow the journey through weighed heavily.

Chelsea were ravenous in their pressing and insatiable in the midfield battles early on, laying a platform for Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic to sparkle. An eventual 2-1 defeat seemed improbable right then.

Both wide forwards were involved when Pulisic nimbly opened the scoring – the subtle shift of the ball with his left foot to make a dinked right-footed finish possible underlining the USA star's technical prowess.

Olivier Giroud was naturally on the spot against his former club, playing an inevitably shrewd hand. A rush of goals for the experienced striker has suggested a possible new twist on his immediate future. If Timo Werner thinks Chelsea's rippling, roughhousing centre forward is going anywhere quietly he should think again.

The prolific run of six goals in the seven matches preceding the cup final – including strikes in each of the past four – gave way to 2018 World Cup Giroud in that fifth-minute breakthrough. During that tournament, France's number nine contributed no goals, but provided the canvas for the celebrated artists around him to dazzle.

Having bustled into the box to occupy three Arsenal defenders, Giroud's impudent lay-off was deftly perfect. Pulisic almost made it 2-0 all by himself but his evening ended in the cruellest circumstances.

Comparisons between the 21-year-old and Eden Hazard sometimes felt lazy as his debut season at Stamford Bridge blossomed, but the close control and sureness of his dribbling to break free of the Gunners' backline early in the second half recalled the Belgian at his best.

It looked glidingly effortless, only Pulisic's hamstring begged to differ. Curiously, Frank Lampard – whose use of Chelsea's youth products has been so celebrated this term – opted for the soon to be out-of-contract Pedro, 32, as the replacement.

A worrying stoppage-time injury for the ex-Barcelona man means he has probably played his last game for the Blues, but Callum Hudson-Odoi must wonder what a future featuring Hakim Ziyech holds.

With Pulisic incapacitated, there could be little doubt over the prime attacking talent remaining on the field. And he was not wearing blue.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's big-game temperament has been called into question during a prolific stint with Arsenal. The Gabon international tweeted to show he was in on the joke after a brilliantly taken brace saw off Manchester City in the semi-final.

After Cesar Azpilicueta, who preceded Pulisic as a hamstring victim, hauled Aubameyang to ground in the area there were demons to face. At the same end of a populated Wembley, Arsenal's star striker had a stoppage-time penalty saved against Tottenham last season. For good measure, Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero was Manchester City's shootout hero between those same goalposts in the 2016 EFL Cup final.

Of course, the elite performers tend not to concern themselves with such peculiarities or feel the need to indulge in introspection. There can be no doubt Aubameyang belongs to such company. Caballero guessed wrong. Had he gone the right way, there was no chance of him saving a perfect penalty.

If the shift in first-half momentum felt like a sharp fork in the road, Arsenal turned the wheel of the second period in their favour more subtly. At its midway point, one of the finest winning goals to grace this showpiece arrived.

Aubameyang ghosted into ample room on the left-hand side of the Chelsea penalty area. As he stood 69 goals into his Arsenal career - soon to be 70 - the obvious question was how does a man so prolific slip into the danger zone without close attention time and again? It is certainly a gift worthy of the heftiest of contracts.

As it happened, he checked back, seemingly deciding to take on Kurt Zouma for his own amusement. Then came the finish, a beautiful chip to leave Caballero hopeless for a second time. The bedlam that would have unfolded under whatever normal circumstances used to be was easy to imagine.

A Europa League place and the associated uplift in budget means Arsenal might just have the means to negotiate the next pivotal point for the club's trajectory. There will be no spectators there then, either, But if Mikel Arteta can persuade Aubameyang to pick up a pen (without dropping it!) and sign a new contract, it would be even more significant than this first richly deserved trophy of his coaching career.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang produced a moment of magic to give Arsenal their 14th FA Cup triumph in a dramatic 2-1 Wembley win over 10-man Chelsea.

The striker, whose future with the Gunners remains uncertain, slotted in a first-half penalty to cancel out Christian Pulisic’s opener, before firing home a classy match-winning strike in the 67th minute.

It meant the battle of the rookie bosses was won by Mikel Arteta, with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea ending the game a man down following a red card for Mateo Kovacic.

Arsenal’s success means they earn a place in next season’s Europa League, having finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League.

An early breakthrough came after five minutes for Chelsea when Pulisic clipped in a neat close-range finish after former Arsenal battering ram Olivier Giroud cleverly eased the ball into his path.

It made Pulisic the first American to score in an FA Cup final, but his match would later end in injury agony.

Arsenal briefly thought they were level when Nicolas Pepe thrashed a fine 20-yard strike past Willy Caballero.

An offside flag saved Chelsea that time, but moments later, in the 26th minute, Arsenal had a penalty after Cesar Azpilicueta dragged down Aubameyang.

Aubameyang lashed the ball into the bottom right corner, and Chelsea captain Azpilicueta suffered a further blow five minutes later when an apparent hamstring injury ended his involvement.

Pulisic darted through in the first minute of the second half, racing from his own half to the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. Glory was again in his sights but suddenly horror entered the Pennsylvanian’s eyes, a leg injury striking just as he shaped to shoot. As well as missing the target, Pulisic’s race was run, Pedro coming off the bench.

Where Pulisic had been Chelsea’s man most likely, there was no doubting who Arsenal were looking to, and Aubameyang delivered a delicious strike in the 67th minute.

Hector Bellerin charged out of defence and Pepe picked up possession, feeding Aubameyang, who had plenty of work left to do. The former Borussia Dortmund man made it look ridiculously easy as he zig-zagged past Kurt Zouma and floated a sweet finish over the diving Caballero.

Chelsea were in all sorts of trouble moments later when Kovacic received his second yellow card and subsequent red after he and Dani Ceballos battled for the ball, their challenge fading from that point.

Pedro was carried off in stoppage time to deal Chelsea another blow ahead of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich next weekend.

Frank Lampard selected Kepa Arrizabalaga on the Chelsea bench for the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Willy Caballero has been Chelsea's regular cup goalkeeper and retained the responsibility, six days after he was surprisingly picked ahead of Kepa on the final day of the Premier League season.

It was no great surprise that Kepa, the world's most expensive goalkeeper, was not picked to start Saturday's match behind closed doors at Wembley as his form has underwhelmed.

And head coach Lampard named an unchanged team from last Sunday's 2-0 home win over Wolves, with N'Golo Kante only fit enough for a place among the substitutes.

It meant Olivier Giroud was picked to lead the Chelsea attack against his former club.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made just one alteration to the side that beat Watford 3-2 at Emirates Stadium last weekend, with Hector Bellerin replacing Joe Willock.

Former Chelsea defender David Luiz was picked in their defence.

The Gunners are making a record 21st appearance in the FA Cup final, looking to add to their 13 victories.

For Lampard and Arteta it represents a first FA Cup final since they went into management, with both having won the competition in their playing days.

Arteta won with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, while Lampard helped Chelsea to four FA Cup triumphs in five final appearances. The one defeat he experienced in an FA Cup final came in 2002 - against the Gunners.

For Arsenal, the match presented the chance to earn a place in next season's Europa League after they finished eighth in the Premier League.

Philippe Coutinho has reportedly been offered to two Premier League clubs, while Manchester City are eyeing Sergi Roberto.

Coutinho is expected to leave Barcelona on a permanent deal this close season.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted for the playmaker, and it could be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – COUTINHO OFFERED TO TWO PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

Coutinho has been offered to both Arsenal and Tottenham, according to The Independent.

The report says Arsenal look the more likely to complete a deal for the Brazil international.

Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern Munich this season, having struggled since arriving at Barcelona from Liverpool in 2018.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are linked with a surprise deal. Sport reports the Premier League giants are interested in Barcelona's Sergi Roberto, who wants to remain at Camp Nou.

- Out of contract next year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move from Arsenal. The Daily Mail reports Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the FA Cup final on Saturday, were sounded out about a move for the forward in January.

- Inter continue to be linked with a move for Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Serie A giants are offering star defender Milan Skriniar to Spurs in their bid to land Ndombele.

- After struggling at Manchester City, John Stones is reportedly set for a move. The Sun reports the defender is poised for a £20million move to West Ham, where he would reunite with former Everton manager David Moyes.

- Sami Khedira's time at Juventus could be over. CalcioMercato reports Juve are negotiating to terminate the midfielder's contract.

- Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, who has been on loan at Sevilla, is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports says Everton lead the race for Reguilon after submitting a bid of £18million (€20m).

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