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Arsenal have perfect successor to captain role, AC Milan eye Mustafi deal

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Here is your Arsenal morning digest for Saturday, May 23rd.

Mustafi windfall adds to transfer funds

Arsenal are going to have to raise funds ahead of any investment this summer. There are plenty of players who could be potential sale candidates, including centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.

According to TDfichajes, former Arsenal executive Ivan Gazidis is interested in bringing the German defender to AC Milan after he was told that he will not be a part of Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans.

The Italians are keen on Mustafi, who might be available for around €10 million, which would be a nice haul for a team in need of financial reinforcements. Mustafi has been inconsistent throughout his time in North London though has improved under Arteta more recently.

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Nevertheless, with a year remaining on his contract, he is a potential sale candidate that would provide a small but much-needed windfall to Arsenal’s transfer budget.

Arsenal return to training

On Friday, the Arsenal players and coaching staff returned to small group training after the Premier League unanimously voted for the next step in the Project Restart plans on Monday.

Star players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dani Ceballos seemed in good spirits, sporting new haircuts as they had been unable to get to a barbers, while young prospects like Trae Coyle and midfielder Matt Smith joined up with the first-team squad alongside fellow academy graduates Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, who are now very much considered senior players.

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Mikel Arteta and his serene hair was unaffected by lockdown having fully recovered from contacting the coronavirus earlier this year, while it was hugely encouraging to see Kieran Tierney back in action, too.

The Scottish international has missed the majority of his first season in north London, but having now fully recovered from a dislocated shoulder in December, he is set to play a key role once the season resumes.

Arsenal have ideal Aubameyang replacement

Should Aubameyang leave in the summer, Arsenal will be left with a gaping hole in the attacking positions. Their top goalscorer has provided a higher proportion of Premier League goals than any other player in the league other than Danny Ings and Teemu Pukki.

Arsenal during the break

He will take some replacing.

However, as club captain, the Gunners have the perfect successor ready in waiting: Hector Bellerin, who made his return to the squad on Friday with a new buzzcut haircut.

“People may not see me as this massive guy who shouts on the pitch all the time or what people may have as a captain in their heads,” he told the club's official website. “But there are so many different ways of leading a team. Since I was young at Barcelona, I would always be one of the three captains in the team. For me, it was a role I’m used to.

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“Obviously it’s not the same when you’re 14 or 15 as it is now because the responsibility and what you represent is completely different, but it’s always been something that I’ve enjoyed. I enjoy positions of responsibility and I enjoy being the first one on that wall.

“For me, I have been speaking to the coach for a few months and he was telling me that I could be one of the people that could represent the team. ‘I was really happy with it because I’m someone who’s been here for a long time and I know how the club runs.”

If Aubameyang does move on, Bellerin is ready to step into his leadership shoes. You can read more on this here.

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