Arsenal defender Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arsenal return with Zinchenko a doubt + Cedric transfer talks

Arsenal are now back from Dubai, with attention switching firmly to Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash against Crystal Palace at the Emirates.

Back to back defeats in the league, to West Ham and Fulham, make it imperative that Mikel Arteta’s side get back to winning ways at the weekend – with the gap between themselves and leaders Liverpool currently standing at five points.

Arteta will be speaking to the press on Friday afternoon at London Colney and it will be interesting to get his thoughts on how things currently stand at Arsenal.

He admitted after the FA Cup defeat against Liverpool that his side needed a ‘reset’ after a difficult few weeks and so it is perhaps no surprise that a lot of focus during the training camp in Dubai was about recharging minds, as well as bodies.

Oleksandr Zinchenko remains a doubt for Saturday. He missed the games against Fulham and Liverpool due to a calf problem and whilst Arsenal are optimistic he will return soon, it is not yet clear whether he will be ready to face Palace.

Gabriel Jesus is expected to play following his knee problem, while Thomas Partey and Fabio Vieira are closing in on their returns following lengthy lay-offs.

It’s been a quiet month at Arsenal on the transfer front. Those who were hoping that the mid-season break would be the catalyst for business to be done have been left disappointed.

Nothing has really changed. It’s impossible to rule out the prospect of any new arrivals before the end of the month and the club are open to adding to the squad should a realistic option present itself, but it still feels unlikely that anything significant will happen.

This isn’t just an Arsenal thing. I can’t remember as quiet a January across the Premier League. Spurs are the only club to do anything of note so far and that is no real surprise, given they sold Harry Kane relatively deep into the summer window.

Cedric Soares could leave before the end of the month. Sources close to the player have confirmed to me that talks over a potential move to Besiktas are ‘intensifying’, although nothing has been agreed.

Given the relatively small size of Arsenal’s squad and the availability issues they have at the back right now, letting players go is hardly at the top of the agenda, but Cedric is one who the club would not stand in the way of leaving.

He’s currently nowhere near the team and Arsenal would be more than happy to get his wages off the wage bill for the remaining six months of that hefty four-year deal he was handed back in 2020.

We’re not at that stage yet, but from my understanding we could see some movement when it comes to the Portuguese defender over the next fortnight.

Anyway, that’s it from me for today. Don’t forget to watch or listen to today’s Inside Arsenal show, where I take a closer look at what’s going on with Cedric and discuss comments made by Victor Osimhen about a potential move to the Premier League.

I’ll be sitting down with James Benge for this week’s Inside Arsenal extra-time on Thursday afternoon. If there’s anything you want us to discuss then just get in touch on any of my socials to get involved.

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