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Branislav Ivanovic ‘ready for the challenge' and has plenty to offer after West Brom sign veteran former Chelsea defender

The Baggies lost their first game back in the top flight

Shrivathsa Sridhar
Wednesday 16 September 2020 16:33 BST
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Premier League 2020/21 in numbers

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic says he has plenty to offer West Bromwich Albion after the 36-year-old free agent joined the promoted Premier League side on a season-long deal.

Ivanovic made more than 350 appearances for Chelsea and won nine major titles with the London club before leaving for Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2017.

He returns to England's top flight as Slaven Bilic's sixth signing since West Brom's promotion, following the arrivals of Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira, Cedric Kipre, David Button and Callum Robinson.

"I'm so happy to be back," Ivanovic told West Brom's website.

"I know Slaven from before. He's amazing and I hope together we're going to be a success. He understands football and looks like a guy who everyone wants to play for.

"I missed English football ... I looked to be back in the previous year but it didn't happen, so now I'm happy to be here and I'll try and do my best. I can give something more. I'm completely different... I'm ready for the challenge."

Ivanovic's arrival is a boost for West Brom, who conceded three goals without reply in a Premier League defeat by Leicester City on Sunday.

They host Harrogate Town in the League Cup later on Wednesday before travelling to Everton in the league on Saturday.

Reuters

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ARSENAL TRANSFER ROUND-UP

Latest Arsenal transfer news with Atletico stars offered for Lacazette

The Gunners look to strengthen before the deadline after a winning start to the season

Jack Rathborn16 September 2020 16:33
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LEICESTER CLOSE IN ON SIGNING OF FORMER ARSENAL TARGET

Leicester are 'one step away' from signing Roma winger Cengiz Under, according to La Stampa journalist Matteo De Santis.

The 23-year-old, out of favour with the Serie A club, has been linked with Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham in the past.

But he is now on the verge of a loan move to the King Power, which will include an obligation to buy.

The deal is expected to cost the Foxes €28m.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 15:59
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MARTINEZ REVEALS DISCUSSION WITH ARTETA BEFORE EXIT

Emiliano Martinez has detailed the conversation he had with manager Mikel Arteta before leaving Arsenal for Aston Villa.

The Argentine could not keep his place ahead of Bernd Leno despite his excellent form at the back end of last season.

And he decided to pursue a new challenge, admitting that his time at Arsenal was occasionally frustrating.

“I think I won three FA Cups, three Community Shields [when he wasn't involved], but actually I wasn’t part of the team, I wasn’t getting the minutes that I needed,” Martinez told the club’s official website.

"So I never felt that I won it. I was part of the team, but I never felt like it was mine.

"And I had to go on loan after loan after loan to come back and have a chance to become the keeper I am today.

"And when I won those trophies [FA Cup and Community Shield], it was 'this is me'. Arsenal obviously they tried to retain me and obviously I spoke with Mikel, I spoke with the club.

"But they understood my decision and they respected it. And that’s Arsenal, you know. When you give everything for the club they will respect you.

"So I am grateful to be the player I am and the person I am. I came here as a young boy, single, from Argentina, from a poor country, a poor family. And I’m leaving with a wife, with a kid, and as a man. And everything is because of Arsenal as well.

"I just want to say to the fans that they should trust the process, they are doing really good work with Mikel and his staff and I wish them all the best."

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 15:41
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ARSENAL MOVE CLOSER TO SIGNING OF ICELANDIC GOALKEEPER

Arsenal are on  the verge of completing the signing of Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson, according to Sky Sports

The Gunners hope to have the deal done before Saturday’s Premier League game against West Ham.

The 25-year-old must be registered by midday on Friday to be eligible for a place in Arsenal’s squad for that game.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 15:22
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VILLANS PROMISE TO TAKE CARE OF NEW GOALKEEPER

Aston Villa have assured Arsenal that Emiliano Martinez will feel at home at his new club.

After the £20m transfer was confirmed earlier today, Arsenal’s official Twitter account wrote: "We wish you all the best with @AVFCOfficial."

"We'll take care of him," Villa posted in response.

Martinez had been at Arsenal since he was a teenager, but clearly felt the time was right for a new challenge.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 15:09
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VILLA BOSS DELIGHTED TO SIGN ‘HIGHLY RATED’ MARTINEZ

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said he is “really pleased” to have secured the signing of Emiliano Martinez.

The Gunners decided to cash in on their backup goalkeeper after his exceptional form towards the end of last season.

And Villa, in need of a new No.1, were the club on hand to take advantage.

“We are really pleased with the signing of our new goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez,” Smith said. “We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.

“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to buy a top-class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our club for the long term.”

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 14:58
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MARTINEZ LOOKING FORWARD TO ‘GOOD SEASON’ AT VILLA

Emiliano Martinez has revealed his excitement following his move from Arsenal to Aston Villa.

The transfer, confirmed earlier today, set the Villans back £20m, and the goalkeeper is expected to become Dean Smith’s No.1.

Martinez, who spent over a decade at Arsenal, is looking forward to the new challenge.

"I’ve been around in the UK for 10, 11 years already and I know Villa’s history and I know how big Villa is,” he said.

“Obviously I trust the manager, I trust the goalkeeper coach and the club’s ambition.

“That’s why I decide to come here. I believe the club is going forward.

“I’ve been at Arsenal 10, 11 years fighting for my spot. When I won the FA Cup and the Community Shield, I spoke to my family and said ‘it’s time to have a new challenge’.

“When Aston Villa gave me the opportunity to fight for the spot and play loads of Premier League games and that’s why I decided to come here.

“I trust the process and I trust the manager’s playing style.

“I truly believe that we can do a good season at Villa.”

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 14:48
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ARSENAL COULD STILL SIGN ‘FOUR OR FIVE’ PLAYERS BEFORE WINDOW CLOSES

Arsenal might still sign another four or five players before the close of the transfer window, according to journalist Raphael Boucher.

The Gunners are prioritising the additions of midfielders Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar, while a new goalkeeper is expected following the sale of Emiliano Martinez.

Arsenal could also bring in a left-back if Sead Kolasinac leaves the club in the next few weeks.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 14:31
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GUNNERS COULD NET 40% OF FORMER PLAYER’S TRANSFER

Arsenal could be set for a welcome cash boost following the imminent sale of former player Chuba Akpom.

A report from Greek outlet Gazzetta claims the Gunners will receive 40% of the €3m fee set to take the striker to Middlesbrough.

Akpom, who came through the youth ranks at Arsenal, is set to return to England after two years in Greece.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 14:00
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MUSTAFI COULD BE SOLD THIS SUMMER

Arsenal are open to selling defender Shkodran Mustafi before the close of the transfer window, according to the Sun.

The Germany international is one of five players the Gunners could look to move on in the next few weeks. Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac are also reportedly deemed surplus to requirements.

Mustafi has struggled for consistency since joining Arsenal from Valencia in 2016 and high profile errors have seen his reputation decline at the Emirates.

The arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes, who impressed on his debut against Fulham, means Mustafi is no longer needed.

Arsenal also want to raise more funds to strengthen in other areas of the pitch.

Callum Rice-Coates16 September 2020 12:45

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