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‘Mikel Arteta has the potential to become great,’ says old Arsenal pal Robin van Persie

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mikel arteta has the potential to become great says old arsenal pal robin van persie

Mikel Arteta was a good player but has the potential to become ‘a great manager’, according to former Arsenal team-mate Robin van Persie. 

The pair played together in the 2011-12 season before the Dutchman left to join Manchester United, while Arteta stayed with the Gunners for another four years, becoming club captain and helping them win two FA Cup trophies.

The Spanish playmaker retired in 2016 to become Pep Guardiola‘s No 2 at Manchester City, before returning to Arsenal as boss in December and delivering the Gunners’ 14th FA Cup trophy in a positive first campaign as a manager. 

Mikel Arteta has delivered Arsenal an FA Cup trophy in his first season as a manager

Mikel Arteta has delivered Arsenal an FA Cup trophy in his first season as a manager

Mikel Arteta has delivered Arsenal an FA Cup trophy in his first season as a manager

Former team-mate Robin van Persie says the Spaniard has potential to be 'great' as a manager

Former team-mate Robin van Persie says the Spaniard has potential to be 'great' as a manager

Former team-mate Robin van Persie says the Spaniard has potential to be ‘great’ as a manager

Van Persie said the 38-year-old was impressive enough as a player but showed even in the first few training sessions as a manager that he has bags of potential as the man in the hotseat.

‘He was a good player,’ Van Persie said of Arteta to Stats Perform News. ‘He was always fit, he connected play, he got his goals. He was good.​

‘As a coach I do think he has the potential to become great. I said that even after watching the first couple of training sessions, or bits of it. The way he comes across in the media, the way he makes his team play. It’s very promising, very positive.’ 

The pair were Arsenal team-mates in the 2011-12 season before Van Persie left for Man United

The pair were Arsenal team-mates in the 2011-12 season before Van Persie left for Man United

The pair were Arsenal team-mates in the 2011-12 season before Van Persie left for Man United

Arteta inherited a team in disarray when he took over after previous manager Unai Emery seemed to have lost the dressing room, but the team has shown visible improvements under the new guidance.

Despite this, the Gunners finished eighth in the Premier League — their lowest in the competition since 1995.

And after salvaging the season and delivering an unlikely trophy with a squad he has inherited, Van Persie feels fans need to have patience as Arteta looks to mould the side in the way he wants it, but can rest assured knowing they are heading in the right direction.

Van Persie said he could see Arteta was a rare breed even in his first few training sessions

Van Persie said he could see Arteta was a rare breed even in his first few training sessions

Van Persie said he could see Arteta was a rare breed even in his first few training sessions

‘He needs time,’ Van Persie added. ‘Sometimes you look at teams or you look at a coach and think: “Ok, this coach could have 200 years and it would not happen.”

‘When I look at Mikel, I do see change, I see the positive changes and little things happening.

‘How they work together, how they defend together. They are a shorter distance together. Going forward but defensively too. They have got better at defending set-pieces which was always an issue.’

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West Ham and Newcastle are interested in Juventus defender Daniele Rugani

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west ham and newcastle are interested in juventus defender daniele rugani

West Ham and Newcastle are among the clubs showing an interest in Juventus defender Daniele Rugani.

The Italian champions are willing to listen to offers for the 26-year-old as they look to balance the books.

Rugani, who has been on the periphery of June’s first team, has been offered to Premier League clubs with Juventus hoping to sell to the highest bidder.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani is attracting interest from both West Ham and Newcastle

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani is attracting interest from both West Ham and Newcastle

Italian international Rugani (right) is not a regular in the starting XI for the Serie A champions

Italian international Rugani (right) is not a regular in the starting XI for the Serie A champions

Newcastle though are exploring loan deals with their own budget limited following the arrival of Callum Wilson, Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser.

They had arranged to sign Rob Holding from Arsenal on loan before that was put on hold and Steve Bruce sees centre back as a priority before the window closes.

West Ham also have an interest in Italy international Rugani but are juggling a couple of options after their bids for Burnley’s James Tarkowski were rebuffed.

Watford’s Craig Dawson is understood to be one of those of interest but is also on Fulham’s list of defensive targets.

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Alvaro Morata touches down in Italy ahead of a sensational return to Juventus

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alvaro morata touches down in italy ahead of a sensational return to juventus

Alvaro Morata has touched down in Italy ahead of a sensational return to former side Juventus.

The striker left the Serie A club to join Real Madrid in 2016 but is set to rejoin the club on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid – with his exit paving the way for Luis Suarez’s arrival from Barcelona.

The club, who will have an option to buy the forward at the end of the season. shared photos of the 27-year-old arriving at the airport and he gave the cameras a thumbs up.

Alvaro Morata has touched down in Italy ahead of a sensational return to former side Juventus

Alvaro Morata has touched down in Italy ahead of a sensational return to former side Juventus

The striker left the Serie A club to join Real Madrid in 2016 but is set to rejoin the club on loan

The striker left the Serie A club to join Real Madrid in 2016 but is set to rejoin the club on loan

Morata scored 12 goals and made two assists for Atletico in the 2019-2020 season after making his loan move from Chelsea permanent last summer.

The forward never hit the heights expected of him at Stamford Bridge but fared better in LaLiga, where he managed 43 goals in 112 games for both Atletico and Real.

The striker scored 15 goals across two years in his first spell with Juve but Morata is arguably the club’s second choice after missing out on Suarez. 

The 27-year-old gave a thumbs up to the cameras before being driven off to finalise his move

The 27-year-old gave a thumbs up to the cameras before being driven off to finalise his move

Morata's exit will now pave the way for Luis Suarez to join Atletico Madrid from Barcelona

Morata’s exit will now pave the way for Luis Suarez to join Atletico Madrid from Barcelona

Juve had long held an interest in the Barca man and he passed an Italian exam Perugia last week in order to acquire dual nationality, with the club being unable to bring in any more non-EU players in this transfer window following the arrivals of Arthur Melo and Weston McKennie. 

But manager Andrea Pirlo admitted the move would be difficult because of the time it takes for a passport to be approved with October 5 the deadline for moves to be completed.

The complications allowed Atletico to swoop in with Diego Simeone set to pair Suarez up front with Diego Costa with Morata making way for the 33-year-old.

The Uruguayan’s six-year stint at the Nou Camp is coming to a bitter end despite him being Barca’s third highest goalscorer of all time.

New manager Ronald Koeman made it clear the striker was not part of his plans and he was told to find a new club for the upcoming season. 

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Micah Richards hits back at claims he’s ‘on air because of Black Lives Matter’

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micah richards hits back at claims hes on air because of black lives matter

Micah Richards has blasted social media users who claim he is only a football pundit on television as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Former Manchester City defender and new Sportsmail columnist Richards has developed into one of Sky Sports’ most used and highly-respected analysts in recent months. 

Whist his comments on both football and the BLM movement have been heavily praised, Richards told Sky Sports on Monday night that he believes he is unfairly targeted online, as is fellow pundit Alex Scott. 

Micah Richards has described the abuse he receives on social media about his punditry

Micah Richards has described the abuse he receives on social media about his punditry

Richards also praised fellow pundit Alex Scott, who has also been a victim of abuse online

Richards also praised fellow pundit Alex Scott, who has also been a victim of abuse online

‘If a black person, a black or ethnic minority wants a chance they’ve got to put themselves forward,’ Richards began, speaking on Monday Night Football following City’s victory against Wolves.

‘I’m here working for Sky Sports, one of the biggest networks, corporations in the world. I’m here because I believed in myself. I love working with Jamie Carragher, I love working with yourself (David Jones) and I’m in a privileged position. I did this through hard work. The hard work is not going to be tarnished.

‘I’ve got people on Twitter, I’ve got people people on Instagram: “Oh. Micah Richards is only on air because of this whole Black Lives Matter movement.”

‘But I’ve had conversations with corporations that I work for way before this and now I’m getting tarnished with the same brush “oh he’s only on TV because of Black Lives Matter.” Which is disheartening for me because I put in the work, I work every single day at my craft. 

Richards (with James Milner) won the Premier League title with Manchester City in 2012

Richards (with James Milner) won the Premier League title with Manchester City in 2012

‘I’ve been a professional footballer, I’ve won a Premier League. I’ve played at the highest level and I’m still getting stones thrown at me. If I have to fly the flag, if people want to throw stones at me I’ll happily take it because I know I put in the work.’ 

Richards also leapt to the defence of former England international Scott, who has herself been a victim of social media abuse in recent months. 

Scott, the former footballer and presenter aged 35, has been at the centre of much discussion – and relentless online trolling – amid rumours she’s set to become the new host of BBC’s A Question Of Sport, replacing Sue Barker, who was axed after 24 years. 

‘She’s absolutely incredible, one of the best I’ve ever worked with,’ Richards stated.

‘It’s even worse for her because she’s a woman and she’s seen as black as well. It’s double jeopardy. She’s in a worse position. 

Scott is also a pundit for Sky Sports and was praised by Richards for her work on Monday night

Scott is also a pundit for Sky Sports and was praised by Richards for her work on Monday night

‘She’s honestly one of the best pundits I’ve ever worked with and all you see on Twitter and Instagram: “what is a woman doing working in men’s football, she doesn’t know.” 

‘She’s played how many times for England, she knows football inside out, more than most people and to see the abuse that she gets just because someone has left their job or not had their contract renewed, it’s disheartening to see. 

‘But at the same time it shows that we’ve still got a problem. It’s that awkward conversation that we don’t want to have but we’ve got to have that conversation.’

The death of George Floyd, who had the knee of a white policeman in the US this summer pressed into his neck, triggered protests around the world and those demonstrations reached many sports – with the Premier League featuring Black Lives Matter on shirts instead of player names in June. 

Players also took the knee before kick-off post-lockdown last season – a gesture which has been retained at the start of this season. 

PL players have been taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement recently

PL players have been taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement recently

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand believes the message of taking the knee has been lost

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand believes the message of taking the knee has been lost

Yet on Monday, Les Ferdinand defended QPR’s decision not to take the knee ahead of their match against Coventry, claiming the gesture’s ‘message has been lost’ and is now akin to a ‘a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge’. 

In a powerful statement, QPR director of football Ferdinand insisted ‘taking the knee will not bring about change in the game — actions will’ and added the gesture ‘has reached a point of ‘good PR’ but little more than that’. 

‘Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted,’ Ferdinand said. 

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