Mikel Arteta provides injury updates on two key Arsenal stars

Mikel Arteta lifted the lid on the condition of both Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Jesus following Arsenal’s friendly victory over Lyon.

The Gunners breezed to a 3-0 win against the Ligue 1 side out in the United Arab Emirates, while taking part in the Dubai Super Cup as a part of their preparations for the impending return of club football.

Naturally, Arsenal have plenty of first-team regulars away still representing their country at the World Cup or on leave following a recent elimination, but are still stepping up their efforts with one eye on football’s return, with the aim being to continue an incredible first half of the season.

Unfortunately, Brazil forward Jesus saw his World Cup campaign come to an end as a result of a knee injury, which the club have since confirmed he has had surgery to correct. After the win, Arteta responded ‘no’ when asked if there was a timescale for the 25-year-old’s return.

“We know that he needed some intervention in the knee and we have to take day by day, week by week and see where that takes us,” Arteta said.

When asked if injury to Jesus would influence the Gunners’ transfer plans, he responded: “What it affects is who we are as a team because he gives us so much.

“What we can do after that, when we know the timescale better and when we can have him back, we will look at the options and try to make the right decisions.”

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Smith Rowe, meanwhile, has been missing for the majority of the 2022/23 campaign, but has travelled with the squad to Dubai for their mid-season camp. Arteta said: “With Emile, he has returned to training and he’s in that process after we rehab, after a period where he had some real discomfort.

“So we are giving him time – he’s getting closer and closer. So hopefully in the next few weeks, we’ll be able to see him.”

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Austin FC sign defender Hector Jimenez to new contract through 2023 MLS season

Austin FC have signed veteran defender Hector Jimenez to a new contract, the club announced Thursday.

Jimenez was a free agent after the Verde and Black declined the option in his previous contract, but will now return to Q2 Stadium through the 2023 MLS season with an option for 2024.

“I’m very happy to return to Austin FC after so many great moments here over the last two years,” Jimenez said in a club press release. “I can’t wait to get back out in front of the fans at Q2 Stadium.”

Jimenez originally joined Austin ahead of their 2021 expansion season. Since then, the 34-year-old has made 40 appearances across all competitions, scoring once and providing three assists. Prior to signing for the Verde and Black, Jimenez represented the Columbus Crew for seven years and the LA Galaxy for three, winning a combined three MLS Cups.

“Hector’s quality, experience, and leadership are noticeable both on the pitch and in the locker room,” said Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna. “We are delighted to keep him here in Austin.”

The return of Jimenez marks the latest step in Austin’s preparations for the 2023 MLS season, in which they’ll be under more pressure to perform after finishing second in the Western Conference last campaign.

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Colorado Rapids acquire Kevin Cabral in trade with LA Galaxy

The Colorado Rapids have acquired French forward Kevin Cabral in a trade with the LA Galaxy, the two clubs announced Friday.

Colorado have sent $600k in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) to the Galaxy, while a further $400k will be paid in 2024. Additionally, the Galaxy retain a percentage of any transfer fee should the Rapids move Cabral to a club outside of MLS.

Cabral’s departure opens up a Designated Player spot on the Galaxy’s roster, while the 24-year-old will occupy the same status at his new club.

“Kevin is a dynamic and explosive attacking threat with experience both in MLS and in Europe,” Colorado executive vice president and general manager Padraig Smith said in a club press release. “He’s an exciting player with all the necessary qualities to be an impact player in MLS, and yet at 23, still has room for continued development.”

Cabral – a product of the Paris Saint-German youth system – spent two years with the Galaxy following a move from Ligue 2 side Valenciennes. During that time, he made 68 appearances across all competitions, scoring nine goals and providing nine assists, though he never quite found his best form.

“We’d like to thank Kevin for his contributions to the Galaxy the past two seasons,” Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said in a club press release. “We wish him all the best as he continues to build his career with the Colorado Rapids.”

Cabral’s transfer marks an important step for the Rapids as they seek to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023 after finishing 10th in the Western Conference last season.

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San Jose Earthquakes sign Brazilian midfielder Judson to new contract

The San Jose Earthquakes have signed Brazilian midfielder Judson to a new contract, the club announced Thursday.

Judson’s new deal keeps him with the Quakes through the 2023 MLS season with an option for a further year.

“We’re happy to sign Judson to a new contract as we continue building our roster for the 2023 season,” Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch said in a club press release. “He’s a player that’s universally liked in our locker room and does a lot of the unheralded work on the field for our team.”

The 29-year-old has been with San Jose since the start of the 2019 season, making 92 appearances for the club across all competitions so far, scoring one goal and providing a vital defensive screen in the midfield.

Prior to joining San Jose, Judson played across the top four levels of Brazilian soccer for the likes of America-RN, Avai, and Tombense.

The midfielder’s new contract is the latest step in San Jose’s preparations for the 2023 MLS season, where they’ll look to improve on a disappointing last-place finish in the Western Conference in 2022.

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Nasser Al-Khelaifi offers update on Lionel Messi’s future

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has lifted the lid on Lionel Messi’s future, confirming they will discuss his contract situation in January.

Messi made the move to PSG in the summer of 2021 after Barcelona were unable to find a way to sign him to a new contract amid their financial crisis, and after a slow first season in the French capital, the Argentine has found form again.

The 35-year-old penned a two-year deal with an option for a third, but his future at the club remains up in the air amid interest from the MLS. 90min understands Inter Miami are in discussions with Messi’s camp over a potential deal and are willing to meet his wage demands to make it happen.

Al-Khelaifi spoke to Sky Sports on the situation regarding Messi during the World Cup break, and was positive about his future: “He’s very happy, you can see that with the national team. If a player’s not happy you will see their performance not good for the national team.”

He added: “He performed fantastic this season for us, he’s scored a lot of goals and assists for the national team and for the club.

“So what we agreed together – that after the World Cup, sit down together. But both sides – our side of the club and him – are very happy, so we will talk after the World Cup.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Sean Walsh, Ali Rampling and Brian Goldfarb to look back on the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is currently thriving in Qatar with Argentina, who have been tipped to go all the way in what is likely Messi’s last World Cup tournament.

Before it kicked off, he had already weighed in with 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions for Les Parisiens this season.

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