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Willian in talks over Arsenal exit, says Arteta

FOOTBALL By Reuters | August 26th 2021
Arsenal's Willian reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium, London, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP)

Arsenal's Brazil winger Willian is in talks over a potential exit from the Premier League club, manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday, adding that more transfer moves were a possibility before the window closes next week.

Willian has struggled for form since arriving at Arsenal from Chelsea last year and has been linked with a transfer to Corinthians in his native Brazil by British media.

"We are having some conversations with him and the agent. We're evaluating the position we're in," Arteta told a news conference ahead of Saturday's league clash at Manchester City.

Arsenal have been among the league's biggest spenders in the close season, adding Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares.

Arteta, however, said the north London club could strengthen further before the window closes on Tuesday.

"We've already done a lot of things. Ins and outs... I think it's 16, 17 deals in total, with some renewals," Arteta said. "There are still some things to do in the last few days because there are still some question marks and deals that can happen."

Arsenal lost their opening two league games to promoted Brentford and European champions Chelsea, but beat West Bromwich Albion 6-0 in the League Cup second round on Wednesday, despite missing several players due to injury and COVID-19.

Arteta confirmed that White and goalkeeper Alex Runarsson would miss the City match because they had still not recovered from coronavirus and that he had a few other injury concerns.

"(Bukayo Saka) was limping after the (West Brom) match. We'll see how that knee reacts but he had a knock," Arteta said, adding that Brazil defender Gabriel was inching closer to a return and had begun training with the team.

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