Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling if he becomes available in the upcoming transfer window.

Since arriving from Liverpool in 2015, Sterling has accumulated 130 goals and 70 assists from 336 appearances in all major club competitions, and has 19 goals from 74 senior caps for England.

Despite his status as one of England's best players, Sterling has found himself on the fringes at times during the tail end of this season, playing just 28 minutes across City's two-legged Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS TO EXPLORE STERLING DEAL

The Telegraph reports Arsenal intend to test the availability of Sterling in the next transfer window, when he will have one year remaining on his contract.

With Erling Haaland expected to arrive at Manchester City on the biggest contract in the Premier League, players such as Riyad Mahrez have been floated as potential sales to balance the books and give the club some flexibility going forward.

Selling Sterling, at 27 years old, could help City fund further moves if they do not feel he is integral to their success next season – specifically in the Champions League.

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich are said to be planning a move for Liverpool's Sadio Mane in the next transfer window, according to Sky Germany.

– Should Arsenal fail to reach an agreement on a new deal for striker Eddie Nketiah, the Daily Mail claims West Ham are the front-runners to prise him away.

– The Athletic is reporting Paul Pogba has told Manchester City he does not intend to join them when his Manchester United contract expires at the end of this season, favouring the offer of an unnamed club instead. The report suggests the favourites to land his signature are Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid.

– According to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa have made an offer of £12million to purchase Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona – significantly less than the £33million option that was included in the initial loan deal.

– The Daily Mail is also reporting that Sunderland are hoping to sign the younger brother of English Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham – Jobe Bellingham – after he became the second-youngest debutant in the history of Birmingham City.

Former Tottenham and England forward Jermain Defoe has confirmed his retirement at the age of 39.

The Sunderland striker, who spent time with Spurs in three different stints, also played for West Ham, Portsmouth, Toronto FC, Bournemouth and Rangers across a two-decade-plus career.

Defoe had been due to play on until the end of the season with the League One club after rejoining from Rangers in January, but confirmed his plans to hang up his boots in a lengthy statement published on social media on Friday.

"After 22 years in the game, I have decided to retire from professional football," he stated.

"It's been a really tough decision, and one I have discussed with my family and those closest to me.

"I made my professional debut at 17 years old in 1999, and I feel now is the right time to bow out. I have had an incredible journey and have met some amazing people in the game.

Initially coming through the youth ranks at Charlton and West Ham, Defoe scored on his debut in the League Cup for the Hammers against Walsall to kick-start a prolific career.

He won a subsequent medal in the same competition for Tottenham in 2008, despite leaving midway through the campaign and missing the final. He was finally presented with the medal in 2018.

Defoe won his only other club honour last year when he helped Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title under former England team-mate Steven Gerrard.

For the Three Lions, he won 57 caps and scored 20 goals, including bagging the winner in a 1-0 victory against Slovenia in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup.

"Football will always remain in my blood, and it gives me great pride and satisfaction to look back on the blessed career that I've had," he added.

"I now look forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family before moving forward on this next chapter in my career.

"Thank you to all the fans from each club I've played for. The love I have received and endured throughout my career will never be forgotten, and I will always have a special bond with you all."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists he wants Tuesday's EFL Cup hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah to stay with the club amid his contract stand-off.

Nketiah is believed to be frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Arsenal, with Tuesday's cup quarter-final appearance in Arsenal's 5-1 win over Sunderland marking only his sixth this season in all competitions.

The 22-year-old's current deal expires at the end of this season and he may leave on a free transfer after turning down a new contract offer earlier this month.

"I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie," Arteta said at the post-game news conference. "We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session.

"I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded."

He added: "We are trying [to re-sign him]. It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants gametime, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, 'Can I do it here?' That’s the question. We all want him to stay."

Arteta has only used Nketiah three times in the Premier League this season, off the bench on all three occasions.

"The way we planned the squad and the way his situation looked in the window, he had a lot of options to go and we thought that was probably the best way to go," Arteta added.

"But the way we assembled the squad the situation changed and he decided to stay and it was hard to found minutes for him. But he’s finding the space right now and is using his minutes really well."

The Gunners boss admitted Nketiah's treble on Tuesday would boost his case for more minutes in the league.

"Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes," the Spaniard said.

Arteta also labelled Charlie Patino's debut goal as a "beautiful moment" and heaped praise on Nicolas Pepe after a bright display against the Black Cats, having only been used 11 times this season.

Pepe scored Arsenal's second goal and set up their last two, including producing some wizardry down the right flank to tee up Nketiah's classy backheel finish.

"It is hard for everyone who doesn’t play," Arteta said about Pepe. "What they have to do is when they have the minutes, show on the pitch that they can do it and they are ready when the team needs him."

Hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah saluted his team-mates after his maiden Arsenal treble in their thumping EFL Cup quarter-final win over Sunderland. 

The young striker was on target three times as the Gunners advanced to the semi-finals of the competition following a commanding 5-1 victory at Emirates Stadium.

Nketiah produced a trio of poacher's finishes; netting the rebound from Rob Holding's first-half header, before turning home inviting crosses by Nuno Tavares and Nicolas Pepe after the break.

The 22-year-old continued his love affair with the EFL Cup, having taken his career tally to 10 goals from nine appearances – and seven in five on home soil.

And he is hopeful his exploits in this competition will eventually culminate in regular Premier League opportunities.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a great feeling. I just want to say a big thank you to my team-mates. 

"I had some really good assists today; I just had to be in the right place. 

"It's great to get my first hat-trick for Arsenal in the senior team.

"This is the competition where I've been getting starts and opportunities to play. 

"Whenever I'm asked to play, I'm going to do my best to help the team. I'm ready if the manager needs me.

"I'm desperate to play football. All I can do is keep working hard and hopefully, I'll get opportunities."

Nketiah paid tribute to fellow youngster Charlie Patino, who was also on target for the hosts.

The 18-year-old substitute marked his senior debut by finding the net with a neat finish to complete the scoring.

"It's amazing for him. He's a great lad with a great future ahead of him," Nketiah added.

"I was delighted for him to get on the scoresheet. 

"These games provide a great opportunity to get your debut and impress, and I think he did that today."

Eddie Nketiah was the hat-trick hero as Arsenal marched through to the EFL Cup semi-finals after a comprehensive 5-1 win over Sunderland.

The young striker continued his impressive record in the competition, with a trio of poacher's finishes taking his tally to 10 goals in nine appearances.

Nicolas Pepe was also on target in the 27th minute for Mikel Arteta's side, who secured their first appearance in the last four since 2017-18, with the win capped off by teenager Charlie Patino.

The Gunners did concede their first goal of this season's EFL Cup courtesy of a neat Nathan Broadhead finish, but it proved a mere consolation for the League One outfit.

With 43 places separating the sides in the English football pyramid, Arsenal nearly broke the deadlock in the 12th minute; Nuno Tavares' attempted centre deflecting onto the crossbar off Elliot Embleton.

But the hosts took the lead five minutes later. Lee Burge could only parry Rob Holding's header from a Cedric corner, and Nketiah was on hand to scramble home the rebound.

Folarin Balogun went close before the Gunners doubled their advantage; Pepe playing a neat one-two with Cedric and his shot deflected in off Callum Doyle.

Sunderland responded well and halved the deficit following a quick counter that culminated in Embleton releasing the in-form Broadhead, who neatly lifted over the advancing Bernd Leno for his fifth goal in four games.

However, Arsenal restored their two-goal buffer within four minutes of the restart, Nketiah producing tremendous movement to turn home Tavares' cross at the near post.

And the striker completed his hat-trick in exquisite fashion nine minutes later, as he delightfully back-heeled Pepe's centre past a helpless Burge.

Patino put the icing on the cake in stoppage time when the youngster marked his senior debut with a neat first-time finish from Pepe's centre.

West Ham have been handed an EFL Cup quarter-final trip to Tottenham after dumping long-time holders Manchester City out of the competition.

David Moyes' men beat City on penalties on Wednesday to ensure the Premier League champions will not win the trophy for a fifth year in a row, and now a London derby awaits them for a place in the last four. Tottenham reached this stage by eliminating Burnley.

Three of the four ties will be played in the capital, with Arsenal drawn to face League One outfit Sunderland, the only EFL team left in the competition, and Brentford given a home game against Chelsea.

Sunderland knocked out QPR in a penalty shoot-out to reach the last eight, while Arsenal saw off Leeds United. Brentford were victorious at Stoke City, and Chelsea edged past Southampton on spot-kicks.

Liverpool's 2-0 win at Preston North End sets up Jurgen Klopp's team for a shot at Leicester City, with the Reds drawn at home for the tussle with Brendan Rodgers' team.

All ties are due to be played in the week commencing December 20.

Liverpool are looking to win the competition for a fourth time in the 21st century, and for a record ninth time in all. The Reds and Manchester City currently have the most titles in this competition, with eight apiece.

Leicester have won the EFL Cup on three previous occasions, most recently in 2000 when they beat another Merseyside club, Tranmere Rovers, in the last EFL Cup final to be played at the old Wembley Stadium, prior to its demolition.


EFL Cup quarter-final draw:

Tottenham v West Ham

Arsenal v Sunderland

Brentford v Chelsea

Liverpool v Leicester City

Poor, poor Southampton.

For all the progress Ralph Hasenhuttl has made since their October 2019 mauling at the hands of Leicester City, here they are again. 9-0. Again.

Manchester United made hay at Old Trafford, reigniting their Premier League title bid by equalling the competition's all-time largest winning margin - the second time the 20-time English champions have accomplished the feat, albeit with a near 26-year gap.

Saints' teenage debutant Alexandre Jankewitz was sent off in the second minute and it got unimaginably worse or implausibly better from there, depending on your point of view.

Here, we look back at the times one-sided encounters in England's top flight have spun wildly out of control.

Manchester United 9-0 Southampton - February 2, 2021

After Jankewitz was dismissed for a shocking studs-up lunge on Scott McTominay, Hasenhuttl perhaps should have checked the date and feared the worst. February 2 is Groundhog Day. Aaron Wan-Bissaka got United off and running in the 18th minute, with Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani more familiar sights on the scoresheet either side of a Jan Bednarek own goal. Anthony Martial came on at half-time, but even after he scored in the 69th minute and McTominay did shortly afterwards, the game could have meandered towards a conclusion. Instead, the roof fell in on Southampton as they crumpled entirely under late strikes from Martial and Dan James after a Bruno Fernandes penalty and a red card for Bednarek.

Southampton 0-9 Leicester City – October 25, 2019

Ryan Bertrand - one of seven Southampton players to feature in both 9-0s - was the Jankewitz of the piece as he was sent off for a challenge in the build-up to Ben Chilwell's 10th-minute opener. Youri Tielemans was granted ample room to double the lead, then Ayoze Perez began romping towards a hat-trick that he completed a minute before Jamie Vardy's headed second made it 7-0 in the 58th minute. A James Maddison free-kick and a Vardy penalty took this defeat into uncharted territory for a home side in the Premier League.

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town – March 4, 1995

For nearly a quarter of a century, Alex Ferguson's United were out there on their own. Andy Cole scored five after Roy Keane began this rout in the 15th minute. Mark Hughes hit a quickfire second-half double and Paul Ince also got in on the act. Peter Schmeichel watched it all unfold from the other end, just as his son Kasper did in goal for Leicester at St Mary's all those years later.

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan Athletic – November 22, 2009

Wigan had a slither of hope when Paul Scharner pulled a goal back to make it 3-1 before the hour at White Hart Lane. Ultimately, the only significance of that strike was to keep them off the top of this list. Jermain Defoe did his best Cole impression, rattling in five goals from the 51st minute onwards, while Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Nico Kranjcar piled on the pain. Remarkably, Peter Crouch's ninth-minute header was the only goal of the 10 scored before half-time.

That same season, Wigan lost 8-0 at Chelsea, who beat Aston Villa by the same margin at Stamford Bridge two years later. Newcastle United claimed the division's first 8-0 scoreline at the expense of Sheffield Wednesday in 1999, with Alan Shearer scoring five.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – October 18, 2014

The St Mary's faithful at least know what it feels like to be on the joyous end of what they have endured in the past two seasons. The boot was definitely on the other foot here, although what exactly Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini and his boots were trying to achieve when he inexplicably walloped into his own net after 12 minutes remains anyone's guess. Graziano Pelle scored the first of a double six minutes later. Jack Cork, Dusan Tadic and Victor Wanyama also netted, with Patrick van Aanholt and Liam Bridcutt joining Vergini in putting through their own goal.

Manchester City 8-0 Watford – September 21, 2019

When City raced into a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes against Watford last season, double figures looked to be on the cards for the first time in the Premier League era. David Silva netted from close range inside a minute, with Riyad Mahrez winning a penalty for Sergio Aguero before scoring himself. Bernardo Silva opened his tally on the way to a hat-trick, with Nicolas Otamendi a more unlikely first-half goalscorer. Kevin De Bruyne masterfully orchestrated the destruction of a side City demolished 6-0 four months earlier in the FA Cup final and wrapped up the scoring with an emphatic strike into the top corner.

Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester United 8 – February 6, 1999

The biggest away win the Premier League had seen until Leicester went about their savagery. This seemed fairly standard stuff for Alex Ferguson's majestic treble-winning side as Dwight Yorke and Cole both scored twice against an overmatched Forest, who would finish the season bottom of the table. Standard, that was, until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emerged from the bench and pilfered four goals in the final 11 minutes at the City Ground. Apparently, he has passed on the wisdom of targeting flurries of late goals against bedraggled opponents.

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