Arsenal’s 'toxic' dressing room revealed
Arsenal problems this season have gone bad to worse as the Mirror reveals the club's "toxic" dressing room. The Gunners have had their worst-ever start to a Premier League season and currently sit in 15th place, with just 14 points from 14 matches. The Mirror believe that one of the factors behind Arsenal's relegation form is the divided dressing room. Some members of the squad are unhappy with the treatment of exiled pair Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The duo are described as "big characters and personalities" - but both were omitted from the Premier League and Europa League squads for the current campaign by manager Mikel Arteta.
Paper Round's view: You can't please every player in your squad but it was a bold decision to leave Ozil out of the squads for the season. Sokratis might be a "big character" but it's clear that he's not good enough to make a difference - even in this underachieving Arsenal side. However, Ozil most definitely would. The Gunners are clearly lacking creativity at the moment and Arteta hasn't done himself any favours by sidelining one of the most creative footballers of his generation. There isn't an easy way to fix the problems at Arsenal - but the Premier League side definitely need to dip into the transfer market and add a creative midfielder to their squad in the January window.
Arteta to be backed in winter window
The Mail report that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be backed in the January transfer window. The Gunners are severely underachieving this season and the board genuinely now fear that the club are being pulled into a Premier League relegation battle. A creative midfielder has been made a "priority" for the winter window, with the north London side only managing to score 12 goals in their 14 league matches so far this campaign.
Paper Round's view: Arteta needs to be backed by the board... but how much money are they willing to give him? The Arsenal manager was forced to pick between Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar late in the summer transfer window and it's now become clear that the Gunners needed both. Will the board hand Arteta the funds to complete a belated deal for Aouar in January? If not - they might just end up with another short-term loanee like we've seen in the past with the likes of Denis Suarez and Kim Kallstrom. The January window may lack value - but the Arsenal board made their own bed after failing to properly back their manager in the summer.
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Stones set for new contract
Manchester City are set to reward centre-back John Stones with a new contract following his recent form, according to a report from the Telegraph. The 26-year-old had fallen out of favour at the Eithad, featuring just 16 times in the Premier League last season, but vowed to stay and fight for his place in the team in the summer. Stones started the season as fifth-choice centre-back under Pep Guardiola, but has now formed an unstoppable defensive partnership with new signing Ruben Dias. The England international has 18 months remaining on his current contract but will be offered a new deal to extend his stay at City.
Paper Round's view: It's an inspirational story really. Stones sat behind Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Eric Garcia in the pecking order prior to the start of the season, but backed himself to fight for first-team football and now he's proved his doubters wrong. The Three Lions defender grabbed his opportunity with both hands and has kept a clean sheet in each of his last nine appearances for his club this season. Managing to keep Laporte out of the City side is some feat and next Stones will be eyeing up a return to the England set-up ahead of this summer's European Championships.
Liverpool won't let defender leave on loan
Liverpool are set to block a loan move for central defender Rhys Williams following a string of impressive performances so far this season. The Sun state that the 19-year-old was wanted by numerous clubs in the Championship - including Middlesbrough - but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp wants Williams to stay at Anfield. Liverpool are currently facing a defensive crisis due to the long-term injuries of first-choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Williams made his Premier League debut for the defending champions in a clash against title rivals Tottenham last week - a match which Klopp's side won 2-1.
Paper Round's view: Sometimes being around the first team, training and being in match-day squads can be more beneficial than being sent out on loan. Yes - Liverpool probably need Williams to stay at the club in case they need to call on him again, but Klopp probably believes it will aid his development in the long-term too. The youngster has made nine appearances so far this season for a club that has won the Champions League and Premier League in recent seasons. No offence - but it's a different kind of experience compared to playing in the Championship. It could be a huge breakout season for Williams and he now has the chance to fight for his opportunity at Liverpool.