ARSENAL were expecting to play Manchester City in the Premier League tonight – but that has been POSTPONED for a second time.
Meanwhile, the club are confident of snapping up Layvin Kurzawa, but they face a race to sign Bukayo Saka to a new contract or risk him leaving for one of their rivals.
Get all the latest Gunners news and gossip here…
The international players’ union has backed calls for a TOTAL shutdown of football in response to the coronavirus.
Manchester City’s rescheduled Prem clash with Arsenal, due to be played this evening, was postponed shortly after midnight after Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelis Marinakis revealed he had contracted the virus.
In a statement issued from their headquarters in Amsterdam, FIFPro said: “Cross-border travel and attendance at games create a high risk, affecting everyone from spectators and players to match officials and club staff.
“To provide a reliable and clear course of action which puts people and public health first we ask authorities and competition organisers to take transparent, reasonable and consistent decisions across the football industry based on government advice.
“Professional footballers, like other workers, are concerned about themselves and their families and friends being exposed to the coronavirus during their daily lives.”
Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are “doing what it has to do” to keep Bukayo Saka at the club and out of Manchester United’s clutches.
His displays as emergency cover have caught the eye of Arsenal’s rivals, with United widely-reported to be readying a swoop.
Saka is into the final 18 months of his £3,000-a-week contract at The Emirates with the Red Devils one of those monitoring the situation.
However, the teenager’s manager has now revealed the club are “having conversations” to secure his long-term future.
And that could net the ace a huge pay rise believed to be around £35k-a-week.
PEP SEAL OF APPROVAL
Despite the game being called off, Pep Guardiola had heaped praise on Mikel Arteta, ahead of their reunion.
The Manchester City boss said: “I'd say he's doing incredibly well, his ideas are already implemented and it is getting there day by day.
“Arsenal will have success with him on the bench.
“I said three years ago that I was convinced he'd be a manager when the opportunity came.
“Mikel decided it was right for him. He loves Arsenal.”
Arsenal released a statement of their own which read: “The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low.
“However, we are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.
“The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff — who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match — will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.
“Everyone at Arsenal Football Club wishes Mr Marinakis a swift recovery and we look forward to the players and staff returning to work on Friday in preparation for our match at Brighton.”
Arsenal stars are in coronavirus quarantine and the club's Premier League clash with Manchester City is off tonight after they met a virus victim.
It comes after Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for the virus after visiting the Emirates.
He was at the stadium when the Greek side knocked the Gunners out of the Europa League on February 27 and the club revealed a number of players met him after the game.
The game is the first Premier League match to be called off over the deadly virus, which has so far killed six in the UK.
A Premier League statement said: “Following medical advice, Arsenal FC and Manchester City FC consider it is necessary to postpone their fixture due to be played this evening to give time to fully assess the situation.
“The Premier League has therefore agreed that tonight's game will be rearranged.”
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