Arsenal latest: Including Sunderland team news and Andre Santos

All the news and gossip from The Emirates this Friday.

Team News now ahead of the game with Sunderland this weekend and Arsenal face a potential defensive crisis. Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out with an ankle problem while Laurent Koscielny faces a late fitness test after injuring his calf playing for France in midweek. Sebastian Squillaci and Ignasi Miquel have been put on standby to replace him. Despite previous reports to the contrary Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey will be fine after recovering from slight niggles in midweek. Francis Coquelin returns while Gervinho could also feature after returning home from African Nations duty with the Ivory Coast. Kieran Gibbs remains injured.

Sunderland also have an absentee from the international break. James McLean is almost certain to miss the game with an ankle problem.

Arsenal are so desperate to offload Andre Santos they may risk letting him return to Brazil before the end of the season. The left-back has been lambasted for his performances this season and could move to Brazilian side Gremio on loan after they missed out on Emiliano Insua.

Santi Cazorla has been speaking of his joy at playing for The Gunners with the main reason being their footballing philosophy being very close to the one of his national team. He was speaking about how much he enjoyed the tiki-taka style of Arsenal’s play and how it feels just like playing for the best national team in the world.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that former players Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp are both on the wish list to take over as the next head of youth development at the club. Long serving legend Liam Brady is expected to stand down in 2014 and the search for a new man to take the role has already begun. Vieira is currently in a similar role at Manchester City while Bergkamp is assistant manager at Ajax.

Arsenal have allowed Benik Afobe to take in another loan spell in the Championship. The England youth international has previously featured for Bolton Wanderers this season but that loan finished in January and he will now spend time at Millwall where he will hope to make a bigger impact than he did at The Reebok.

Rumours linking Arsenal with a move for Stevan Jovetic in the summer are growing momentum. The Montenegrin is currently at Fiorentina who claim he is not for sale however the recent acquisition of Giuseppe Rossi has seen that idea put in doubt. Any deal is believed to be worth in the region of £25 million.

And finally some good news ahead of the Champions League tie with Bayern Munich as the German outfit are threating over the fitness of their midfield talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German international is struggling with an ankle injury and he may miss the tie.

What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal ahead of the weekend?

image: © wonker

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch