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Transfer rumour: Arsenal target Celtic defender Van Dijk

Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk: the best footballer called Virgil of all time? Credit: PA

Arsenal have been linked with a January swoop for Celtic's beatboxing defender Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk, 23, is a Dutch Under-21 international who will surely improve and become a regular for the senior national side.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Gunners have earmarked a budget of £20m for Arsene Wenger to spend on new players.

Transfer rumour: Man Utd and Arsenal vie for Vlaar

Vlaar
The hardest footballer ever to wear a cardigan? Credit: PA

Manchester United want to use Aston Villa centre-back Ron 'Roncrete' Vlaar – who was very impressive for the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup – to fill the leaky hole at the heart of their defence.

So do Arsenal, but Louis van Gaal knows Vlaar personally of course, so United are considered the red-hot favourites to seal the deal.

According to the Express, Villa have priced their captain at £12m.

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Arsenal team news v Hull: Arteta returns

Arteta
Mikel Arteta. Credit: PA

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is expected back in the squad for Saturday's Premier League game against Hull following a calf problem.

Defender Calum Chambers is suspended, while Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) is also out, so Spain international full-back Nacho Monreal could partner Per Mertesacker at centre-half.

Midfielder Mesut Ozil (knee) faces around two months on the sidelines. England forward Theo Walcott is set to play for the Under-21s on his return from nine months out with a knee problem.

Midfielders Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Serge Gnabry (knee) are both also stepping up their rehabilitation along with striker Yaya Sanogo (hamstring) and France forward Olivier Giroud (fractured foot), but full-back Mathieu Debuchy (ankle) is a longer-term absentee.

Provisional Arsenal squad: Szczesny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Welbeck, Ospina, Flamini, Rosicky, Podolski, Coquelin, Diaby, Campbell.

Hull to assess Diame for Arsenal trip

Mo Diame
Hull midfielder Mo Diame. Credit: PA

Hull will assess Mohamed Diame following a long journey back from international duty before their trip to Arsenal this weekend.

The Senegal midfielder played in Tunisia on Wednesday night and will meet up with his team-mates in London before a decision is made on his availability.

Sone Aluko also had a quick turnaround from Nigeria, but manager Steve Bruce has no new knocks to add to Robert Snodgrass (knee) and Allan McGregor (shoulder).

Provisional Hull squad: Harper, Jakupovic, Davies, Dawson, Rosenior, Robertson, Chester, McShane, Elmohamady, Meyler, Diame, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady, Ramirez, Jelavic, Aluko, Quinn, Hernandez, Ben Arfa.

Gallas retires

William Gallas has retired from football at the age of 37.

The former France defender, who took in the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham during his career, has told French TV he has decided to call it a day.

Gallas will on Thursday night give a full interview to Sport Confidential about his decision, but in a quote carried by L'Equipe he said: "It is something that is not easy to announce.

"You think that you can continue, but today I cannot."

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