Al-Hilal midfielder and reported Arsenal target Ruben Neves will remain with the Saudi Pro League club during the January transfer window, according to The Athletic journalist David Ornstein.
The Gunners were recently linked with an interest in the Portugal international as manager Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his options in the middle of the park following injury to Thomas Partey.
Newcastle United also want to sign the former Wolverhampton Wanderers star on loan to cover for the banned Sandro Tonali, but Premier League clubs are expected to vote in favour of a block on clubs loaning players from within their own ownership group next week, which is meant to work in the favour of Arsenal as both Al-Hilal and the Magpies are owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF).
However, Neves, 26, has no plans to join the Gunners or Newcastle in January having established himself as a key player for the current SPL leaders.
He is also happy and settled at the Riyadh side and there have so far been no approaches or negotiations for him.
Al-Hilal have also lost Neymar to a long-term injury while Neves’ fellow midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is currently on the sidelines, so the last thing Jorge Jesus’ side want right now is to sell such a key player during the winter transfer window.
Paul Merson: Arsenal will win the Premier League title if they win their next five games
Arsenal are top of the Premier League table after 13 games and will be desperate to go one better this term after finishing second last season.
The Gunners are just a point ahead of Manchester City and two points ahead of Liverpool and Aston Villa, so they are not clear favourites to clinch the title.
However, Paul Merson believes Arsenal could win the Premier League if they pick up all the points available from their next five games.
The games are coming in thick and fast ahead of the festive period, and it is a time of the campaign when teams can establish themselves as key contenders and challengers for the league title.
“Five games before boxing day, big five games coming up for every team,” Merson said on Sky Sports.
“If Arsenal get through this, I think Arsenal win the league.”
The North Londoners play Wolverhampton Wanderers later today before facing Luton Town later on Tuesday.
They travel to face Aston Villa next Saturday before facing Brighton & Hove Albion afterwards.
A trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on December 23rd is next with West Ham United and Fulham their last games of the year before Premier League action resumes on January 20.
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Nico Williams signs new Athletic Bilbao contract amid Premier League interest
Athletic Bilbao forward Nico Williams signs a three-year contract extension with the La Liga club, amid reported interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Athletic Bilbao have announced that in-demand forward Nico Williams has signed a new three-year contract that runs until June 2027.
The 21-year-old, who was due to see his original deal expire next summer, has been heavily linked with a possible exit from the La Liga club amid reported interest from a plethora of top European clubs.
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid have allegedly expressed their interest in Williams, with the former understood to have made contact with the player’s agent earlier this season.
A number of Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa have also been credited with an interest in the highly-rated forward.
However, Williams appears to have ended speculation about his future as he has put pen to paper on a new long-term contract with boyhood club Bilbao.
IRABAZI. 𝗪𝗜𝗡. GANAR. 𝗪ILLIAMS𝗜ÑAKI𝗡ICO #NicoWilliams2027 #AthleticWIN 🦁 pic.twitter.com/tuRiWJH9gc— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) December 1, 2023
“I’m very happy to be here in Bilbao, I’m very happy to be here with my people and with this great family that his Athletic Club,” Williams said as quoted by the club’s official social media account ‘X’.
“I have to thank my teammates for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been here since I was 11 years old, but it’s been a very long journey all the way from the lower age groups.
“I [have not] forgotten all those coaches I’ve had, they have all helped me to be who I am today. This is a dream come true, I am happy and I have to keep working hard.”
“To be honest, I’m very happy to be staying at my home,” Williams added. “Hopefully we can achieve the goals we’ve set and if everything goes right we’ll get into Europe.
“I have to thank the fans too, they’ve supported me from the first minute, in the good times and the bad, which is important.
“I hope to pay that back, starting on Saturday (against Rayo Vallecano) and make them proud of us, as were going to keep fighting with a lot of spirit”.
❤️ Muy feliz y agradecido.🏿 Por mi familia, por los míos, por mi gente, por vosotros.Sigamos disfrutando ✨🦁 @AthleticClub pic.twitter.com/oqSotsxRyk— Nicolas Williams (@willliamsssnico) December 1, 2023
Commenting on Williams’s new deal at a press conference on Friday, head coach Ernesto Valverde has said that the announcement sends a “beneficial message” to the youngsters in Athletic’s youth system.
“It’s something we’ve been expecting for a while,” said Valverde. “It’s important for us, for the stability of the club, knowing that young players like Nico can be here for a long time.
“It’s good for the players, for us and for the club’s general outlook. This benefits us in many ways, for what he brings us on the pitch and for the message it conveys to the players working at Lezama.”
Since making his senior debut in April 2021, Williams has made a total of 96 appearances for Bilbao in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and registering 14 assists.
The 11-cap Spain international chipped in with nine goals and six assists in 43 games last season, and he has since contributed with one goal and seven assists in 11 La Liga matches this term, with Bilbao currently sitting fifth in the top-flight table.
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