<h2>Robin van Persie has passed himself fit for Sunday’s Manchester derby after seven weeks out.</h2><p>Van Persie has not played since damaging ankle ligaments during Manchester United’s Premier League loss at Swansea on February 21.</p><p>The Holland striker was expected to return against Aston Villa at the weekend only for Louis van Gaal to rule him out on the eve of the game, but he returned to full training on Wednesday.</p><p>And a post-training tweet read: “Back to training with the group today. Was a great session. Happy to be fit and able to play again. Looking forward to my next game!”</p><p>That game is Sunday’s derby against Manchester City, who have slipped a point behind United since van Persie last played and make the trip to Old Trafford in fourth place.</p><p>Van Persie’s absence has also seen Wayne Rooney restored to the centre-forward position, from where he has scored three times in United’s past four games.</p>

Robin van Persie has passed himself fit for Sunday’s Manchester derby after seven weeks out.

Van Persie has not played since damaging ankle ligaments during Manchester United’s Premier League loss at Swansea on February 21.

The Holland striker was expected to return against Aston Villa at the weekend only for Louis van Gaal to rule him out on the eve of the game, but he returned to full training on Wednesday.

And a post-training tweet read: “Back to training with the group today. Was a great session. Happy to be fit and able to play again. Looking forward to my next game!”

That game is Sunday’s derby against Manchester City, who have slipped a point behind United since van Persie last played and make the trip to Old Trafford in fourth place.

Van Persie’s absence has also seen Wayne Rooney restored to the centre-forward position, from where he has scored three times in United’s past four games.

<h2>Liverpool’s FA Cup talisman Philippe Coutinho worked his magic again to defeat Blackburn Rovers and set up a semi-final meeting with Aston Villa at Wembley.</h2><p>The mercurial Brazilian scored a spectacular late winner in Liverpool’s fourth-round replay win at Bolton and broke the deadlock at Ewood Park with 20 minutes left to put Brendan Rodgers’s side into the last four.</p><p>It was a performance short on quality from Liverpool in a quarter-final replay played out on a scruffy surface but all that mattered was the victory required to keep hopes of success alive this term after successive Premier League losses to top four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal had damaged their hopes of a place in next season’s Champions League.</p><p>Rodgers insists the Reds can still make the top four - but the FA Cup remains the more realistic success and would be his first trophy in his third season in charge at Anfield.</p><p>Liverpool, who will face Villa on Sunday, 19 April in the semi-finals, endured a night of hard toil in the face of a stirring challenge from Gary Bowyer’s Championship side.</p><p>Blackburn had earned this second chance with a goalless draw at Anfield last month and will feel hard done by to have not earned a place at Wembley.</p><p>The Premier League side were indebted to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for two outstanding saves early in the second half from Tom Cairney and Ben Marshall - then even more dramatically in the closing seconds as he stopped his opposite number Simon Eastwood from forcing extra time as he came up for a corner.</p><p>Liverpool produced the moment of class that mattered when Coutinho exchanged passes with Jordan Henderson before driving in from the angle in front of the elated travelling support massed into Ewood’s Darwen End.</p>

Liverpool’s FA Cup talisman Philippe Coutinho worked his magic again to defeat Blackburn Rovers and set up a semi-final meeting with Aston Villa at Wembley.

The mercurial Brazilian scored a spectacular late winner in Liverpool’s fourth-round replay win at Bolton and broke the deadlock at Ewood Park with 20 minutes left to put Brendan Rodgers’s side into the last four.

It was a performance short on quality from Liverpool in a quarter-final replay played out on a scruffy surface but all that mattered was the victory required to keep hopes of success alive this term after successive Premier League losses to top four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal had damaged their hopes of a place in next season’s Champions League.

Rodgers insists the Reds can still make the top four - but the FA Cup remains the more realistic success and would be his first trophy in his third season in charge at Anfield.

Liverpool, who will face Villa on Sunday, 19 April in the semi-finals, endured a night of hard toil in the face of a stirring challenge from Gary Bowyer’s Championship side.

Blackburn had earned this second chance with a goalless draw at Anfield last month and will feel hard done by to have not earned a place at Wembley.

The Premier League side were indebted to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for two outstanding saves early in the second half from Tom Cairney and Ben Marshall - then even more dramatically in the closing seconds as he stopped his opposite number Simon Eastwood from forcing extra time as he came up for a corner.

Liverpool produced the moment of class that mattered when Coutinho exchanged passes with Jordan Henderson before driving in from the angle in front of the elated travelling support massed into Ewood’s Darwen End.

<h2>Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere says he is ready for a first-team return after playing for the Under-21 side following a serious ankle injury.</h2><p>The 23-year-old has had two operations on his left ankle, which he injured against Manchester United in November.</p><p>But he played 90 minutes in a side including Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby as Arsenal beat Stoke 4-1 on Tuesday.</p><p>“You can train as much as you like but you can’t get that match fitness unless you play,” Wilshere said. </p><p>“I feel like I’m ready to play some part. When you’re injured you look at your comeback date and the games around that time.</p><p>"The one that stands out is the FA Cup semi-final [against Reading on 18 April] but even before that we’ve got big games and we’ve got to go to Manchester United as well [on 17 May] so there’s a chance to play this season.”</p><p>Following initial surgery in November, Wilshere also had a minor procedure in February to remove pins in his ankle.</p><p>The Gunners, who are second behind Chelsea in the <a href="http://www.premierfootballnews.com" target="_blank">Premier League</a>, travel to Burnley on Saturday before they face Championship side Reading at Wembley.</p><p>Arsenal then face the Premier League leaders at Emirates Stadium on 26 April.</p>

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere says he is ready for a first-team return after playing for the Under-21 side following a serious ankle injury.

The 23-year-old has had two operations on his left ankle, which he injured against Manchester United in November.

But he played 90 minutes in a side including Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby as Arsenal beat Stoke 4-1 on Tuesday.

“You can train as much as you like but you can’t get that match fitness unless you play,” Wilshere said.

“I feel like I’m ready to play some part. When you’re injured you look at your comeback date and the games around that time.

"The one that stands out is the FA Cup semi-final [against Reading on 18 April] but even before that we’ve got big games and we’ve got to go to Manchester United as well [on 17 May] so there’s a chance to play this season.”

Following initial surgery in November, Wilshere also had a minor procedure in February to remove pins in his ankle.

The Gunners, who are second behind Chelsea in the Premier League, travel to Burnley on Saturday before they face Championship side Reading at Wembley.

Arsenal then face the Premier League leaders at Emirates Stadium on 26 April.

<h2>Liverpool are without the suspended trio of Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Emre Can for their FA Cup quarter-final replay at Blackburn Rovers.</h2><p>Boss Brendan Rodgers will also need to check on the fitness of striker Mario Balotelli after he ruled himself out of the Reds’ 4-1 loss Arsenalon Saturday.</p><p>Rovers are missing the injured trio of Jason Lowe, Shane Duffy and Chris Taylor, while Grant Hanley is a doubt.</p><p>Josh King, Craig Conway, Rudy Gestede and Chris Brown face fitness tests.</p><p>Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday has severely damaged their prospects of finishing in the top four of the <a href="http://premierfootballnews.com/" target="_blank">Premier League</a> but Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is determined to bring a first trophy back to Anfield since the club won the League Cup under Kenny Dalglish in 2012.</p><p>The Reds have scored three goals in their last four games - including a 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the first meeting at Anfield.</p>

Liverpool are without the suspended trio of Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Emre Can for their FA Cup quarter-final replay at Blackburn Rovers.

Boss Brendan Rodgers will also need to check on the fitness of striker Mario Balotelli after he ruled himself out of the Reds’ 4-1 loss Arsenalon Saturday.

Rovers are missing the injured trio of Jason Lowe, Shane Duffy and Chris Taylor, while Grant Hanley is a doubt.

Josh King, Craig Conway, Rudy Gestede and Chris Brown face fitness tests.

Liverpool’s 4-1 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday has severely damaged their prospects of finishing in the top four of the Premier League but Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is determined to bring a first trophy back to Anfield since the club won the League Cup under Kenny Dalglish in 2012.

The Reds have scored three goals in their last four games - including a 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the first meeting at Anfield.

<h2>Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood is definitely without a trio of key players for their key game with QPR.</h2><p>Alan Hutton limped off in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester United with an ankle problem and has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game along with Scott Sinclair and Ashley Westwood.</p><p>Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson (both calf) are doubts along with Tom Cleverley (adductor) and Aly Cissokho (groin) - although they are training - while Libor Kozak is sidelined as he continues to recover from a broken leg.</p><p>QPR are without Chilean winger Eduardo Vargas and South Korean left-back Yun Suk-young for Tuesday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Aston Villa.</p><p>Vargas is ruled out with a knee injury sustained in the 4-1 win at West Brom while Yun will not travel to Villa Park for precautionary reasons after suffering a head injury in the same match.</p><p>Hoops boss Chris Ramsey is also without knee-injury victims Richard Dunne, Leroy Fer and Alejandro Faurlin while Darnell Furlong is still sidelined with a calf problem.</p>

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood is definitely without a trio of key players for their key game with QPR.

Alan Hutton limped off in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester United with an ankle problem and has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game along with Scott Sinclair and Ashley Westwood.

Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson (both calf) are doubts along with Tom Cleverley (adductor) and Aly Cissokho (groin) - although they are training - while Libor Kozak is sidelined as he continues to recover from a broken leg.

QPR are without Chilean winger Eduardo Vargas and South Korean left-back Yun Suk-young for Tuesday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Aston Villa.

Vargas is ruled out with a knee injury sustained in the 4-1 win at West Brom while Yun will not travel to Villa Park for precautionary reasons after suffering a head injury in the same match.

Hoops boss Chris Ramsey is also without knee-injury victims Richard Dunne, Leroy Fer and Alejandro Faurlin while Darnell Furlong is still sidelined with a calf problem.

<h2>Manchester City’s hopes of retaining their title suffered another huge blow with defeat at Selhurst Park.</h2><p>Glenn Murray put Crystal Palace ahead with a tap-in from close range before Jason Puncheon fired in a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box.</p><p>Yaya Toure’s fierce strike pulled a goal back for fourth-placed City but Palace held on to move up to 11th.</p><p>City are nine points behind Chelsea and also below Arsenal and Manchester United, who they play on Sunday.</p><p>And Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who have played a game more than Chelsea, have now lost their past four away matches.</p><p>Having slipped to fourth after victories for Arsenal and derby rivals United on Saturday, City were under pressure to come up with a win of their own.</p><p>But they were almost caught cold inside 60 seconds when Martin Kelly picked out Wilfried Zaha with a low cross, but the winger blasted over.</p><p>City, who had not won in their four previous visits to London, responded well, dominating possession and pinning Palace back to the edge of their own box.</p><p>But they could not find a way through, with Palace keeper Julian Speroni twice making brilliant saves to deny David Silva, while Sergio Aguero hit the post from just outside the box.</p><p>And the home side stunned the champions on 34 minutes when they took the lead.</p><p>Joe Ledley flicked the ball on for Scott Dann, who was denied by Joe Hart only for Murray to turn in the loose ball for his fifth goal in five games.</p><p>It got worse early in the second half when Fernandinho brought down Murray on the edge of the box with a rash challenge, and Puncheon curled a precise free-kick past Hart.</p><p>Pellegrini was short of attacking options on the bench, with January signing Wilfried Bony unable to travel after injuring an ankle in training.</p><p>But City continued to press and felt they should have had a penalty when Fernandinho’s low shot bounced up onto Murray’s hand.</p><p>The Brazilian was then denied by a goal-line clearance from James McArthur.</p><p>Toure was the man to make the breakthrough for City, lashing home a loose ball from 15 yards with 12 minutes remaining.</p><p>The Ivorian almost snatched an equaliser with a deflected shot that looked like it was going to loop over Speroni, but the Argentine scrambled back to punch clear.</p><p>Palace held on for their third victory in succession to continue their improvement under Alan Pardew.</p><p>But City go into Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford having won just 18 points from their past 12 games - eight fewer than their fierce rivals.</p>

Manchester City’s hopes of retaining their title suffered another huge blow with defeat at Selhurst Park.

Glenn Murray put Crystal Palace ahead with a tap-in from close range before Jason Puncheon fired in a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box.

Yaya Toure’s fierce strike pulled a goal back for fourth-placed City but Palace held on to move up to 11th.

City are nine points behind Chelsea and also below Arsenal and Manchester United, who they play on Sunday.

And Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who have played a game more than Chelsea, have now lost their past four away matches.

Having slipped to fourth after victories for Arsenal and derby rivals United on Saturday, City were under pressure to come up with a win of their own.

But they were almost caught cold inside 60 seconds when Martin Kelly picked out Wilfried Zaha with a low cross, but the winger blasted over.

City, who had not won in their four previous visits to London, responded well, dominating possession and pinning Palace back to the edge of their own box.

But they could not find a way through, with Palace keeper Julian Speroni twice making brilliant saves to deny David Silva, while Sergio Aguero hit the post from just outside the box.

And the home side stunned the champions on 34 minutes when they took the lead.

Joe Ledley flicked the ball on for Scott Dann, who was denied by Joe Hart only for Murray to turn in the loose ball for his fifth goal in five games.

It got worse early in the second half when Fernandinho brought down Murray on the edge of the box with a rash challenge, and Puncheon curled a precise free-kick past Hart.

Pellegrini was short of attacking options on the bench, with January signing Wilfried Bony unable to travel after injuring an ankle in training.

But City continued to press and felt they should have had a penalty when Fernandinho’s low shot bounced up onto Murray’s hand.

The Brazilian was then denied by a goal-line clearance from James McArthur.

Toure was the man to make the breakthrough for City, lashing home a loose ball from 15 yards with 12 minutes remaining.

The Ivorian almost snatched an equaliser with a deflected shot that looked like it was going to loop over Speroni, but the Argentine scrambled back to punch clear.

Palace held on for their third victory in succession to continue their improvement under Alan Pardew.

But City go into Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford having won just 18 points from their past 12 games - eight fewer than their fierce rivals.

<h2>Chelsea’s Diego Costa will miss Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ukraine and a friendly with the Netherlands after picking up a hamstring injury.</h2><p>The striker, 26, sustained the injury during Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Hull on Sunday.</p><p>Costa, who scored his 20th goal of the season, was replaced by Loic Remy with 15 minutes remaining.</p><p>The Spanish Football Federation  said Costa will return to Chelsea for medical treatment.</p><p>Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Malaga’s 21-year-old striker Juanmi as cover for Costa.</p>

Chelsea’s Diego Costa will miss Spain’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Ukraine and a friendly with the Netherlands after picking up a hamstring injury.

The striker, 26, sustained the injury during Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Hull on Sunday.

Costa, who scored his 20th goal of the season, was replaced by Loic Remy with 15 minutes remaining.

The Spanish Football Federation said Costa will return to Chelsea for medical treatment.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Malaga’s 21-year-old striker Juanmi as cover for Costa.

Football results provided by whatsthescore.com

<h2>Arsene Wenger says Wojciech 
Szczesny is still a great goalkeeper and has backed the Pole to prove 
his class in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading at Wembley.</h2><p>Szczesny has not 
played since the FA Cup quarter-final win at Manchester United after 
losing his place to David Ospina following some poor performances 
and negative off-field headlines.</p><p>But Wenger believes the Polish goalkeeper is good enough to return between the posts against Reading on Saturday.</p><p>“I believe that before a game you prepare mentally and there is no special problem,” said Wenger.</p><p>“I
 replaced Wojciech because he had a bad game. I still think he is a 
great goalkeeper and I want him as well to have the opportunity to show 
that.</p><p>"On Wednesday night, I watched PSG against Barcelona and 
they (Barcelona) played their goalkeeper number two (Marc-Andre ter 
Stegen) in the Champions League game. Why? Because you need to give them
 as well competition.”</p><p>Wenger continued: “They know the rules. It is based on merit.</p><p>"If you have a disastrous game you don’t play in the next one, but as well the first priority is the quality of the competition.</p><p>"You are right (Ospina has done nothing wrong), but if Wojciech remained number one, Ospina would play on Saturday.</p><p>"Once
 you have the rule, based on the fact Wojciech had a good game 
against Manchester United and there is no special reason to drop him 
(now) for Saturday.”</p><p>Asked if Szczesny had a long-term future at 
Arsenal, Wenger replied: “I hope yes, but at the moment it is very 
difficult to answer that question. What is important is Saturday.”</p><p>Szczesny’s attitude since being dropped has impressed Wenger.</p><p>“He has trained well, and is very focused,” the Gunners boss said.</p><p>“The
 problem is to repeat the level of concentration. Wojciech has a 
good potential of focus, but take any goalkeeper in any club, you don’t 
have many who play every absolutely all the games in Europe. They need 
their moments of (a) breather where they can recharge and focus again.”</p><p>Wenger, though, warned against anyone expecting the jersey was theirs to keep.</p><p>“At the moment it can change again on the performances of Ospina and the performances of Wojciech,” he said.</p><p>“We are in a competitive world and you have to accept that nothing is definite, every day it can change.”</p><p>The Arsenal boss added: “As I told you many times it is our job to fight for your places, no matter how difficult it is.</p><p>"I accept that it is difficult. But when you choose this kind of job, you know it is down to competition.”</p><p><a href="http://www.thegunners247.uk" target="_blank">The
 Gunners</a> head into this weekend’s Wembley showdown firm favourites as 
they aim to defend their FA Cup crown but Wenger insists there will no 
air of complacency against the Sky Bet Championship side.</p><p>“It is 
exactly the same (pressure as in 2014), maybe the environment is 
less (pressure), but yourself you have exactly the same. You want to go 
to the final and get there. You have to absolutely spot on with 
everything,” he said.</p><p>“You can always imagine the consequences of not going (through).</p><p>"You
 want to keep the positive vibes in the team and around the 
club, therefore there is only one way, and I have enough experience to 
know how big this game is.”</p>

Arsene Wenger says Wojciech Szczesny is still a great goalkeeper and has backed the Pole to prove his class in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading at Wembley.

Szczesny has not played since the FA Cup quarter-final win at Manchester United after losing his place to David Ospina following some poor performances and negative off-field headlines.

But Wenger believes the Polish goalkeeper is good enough to return between the posts against Reading on Saturday.

“I believe that before a game you prepare mentally and there is no special problem,” said Wenger.

“I replaced Wojciech because he had a bad game. I still think he is a great goalkeeper and I want him as well to have the opportunity to show that.

"On Wednesday night, I watched PSG against Barcelona and they (Barcelona) played their goalkeeper number two (Marc-Andre ter Stegen) in the Champions League game. Why? Because you need to give them as well competition.”

Wenger continued: “They know the rules. It is based on merit.

"If you have a disastrous game you don’t play in the next one, but as well the first priority is the quality of the competition.

"You are right (Ospina has done nothing wrong), but if Wojciech remained number one, Ospina would play on Saturday.

"Once you have the rule, based on the fact Wojciech had a good game against Manchester United and there is no special reason to drop him (now) for Saturday.”

Asked if Szczesny had a long-term future at Arsenal, Wenger replied: “I hope yes, but at the moment it is very difficult to answer that question. What is important is Saturday.”

Szczesny’s attitude since being dropped has impressed Wenger.

“He has trained well, and is very focused,” the Gunners boss said.

“The problem is to repeat the level of concentration. Wojciech has a good potential of focus, but take any goalkeeper in any club, you don’t have many who play every absolutely all the games in Europe. They need their moments of (a) breather where they can recharge and focus again.”

Wenger, though, warned against anyone expecting the jersey was theirs to keep.

“At the moment it can change again on the performances of Ospina and the performances of Wojciech,” he said.

“We are in a competitive world and you have to accept that nothing is definite, every day it can change.”

The Arsenal boss added: “As I told you many times it is our job to fight for your places, no matter how difficult it is.

"I accept that it is difficult. But when you choose this kind of job, you know it is down to competition.”

The Gunners head into this weekend’s Wembley showdown firm favourites as they aim to defend their FA Cup crown but Wenger insists there will no air of complacency against the Sky Bet Championship side.

“It is exactly the same (pressure as in 2014), maybe the environment is less (pressure), but yourself you have exactly the same. You want to go to the final and get there. You have to absolutely spot on with everything,” he said.

“You can always imagine the consequences of not going (through).

"You want to keep the positive vibes in the team and around the club, therefore there is only one way, and I have enough experience to know how big this game is.”

<h2>PER MERTESACKER believes the experience of facing Wigan last season in 
the FA Cup semi-finals will help them reach the final again this year.</h2><p><a href="http://www.thegunners247.uk/" target="_blank">The Gunners</a> will once again put their defence 
of the trophy on the line when they face Championship side Reading on 
Saturday at Wembley.</p><p>Arsene Wenger’s side are heavy favourites to progress to the final and have won 16 of their last 18 matches.</p><p>Arsenal
 scraped past Wigan at this stage 12 months ago, Mertesacker scoring an 
82nd-minute equaliser before the Gunners prevailed 4-2 on penalties.</p><p>And the World Cup winner believes the lessons learnt from that near upset will ensure Arsenal do not underestimate the Royals.</p><p>“We felt [pressure] last season a lot,” he told Arsenal Player.</p><p>“No one expected us to lose, for Wigan to go through and that will be the case again.</p><p>"We
 are more prepared but you are never perfectly prepared. There will be 
different situations and the team will have to grow in the match again, 
we will have to face the expectations and pressure.</p><p>"But with our level of confidence and with the team in good shape at the moment, I’m very confident.</p><p>"The energy is really great in the team, we have a fantastic squad and the most important thing is that feeling.”</p>

PER MERTESACKER believes the experience of facing Wigan last season in the FA Cup semi-finals will help them reach the final again this year.

The Gunners will once again put their defence of the trophy on the line when they face Championship side Reading on Saturday at Wembley.

Arsene Wenger’s side are heavy favourites to progress to the final and have won 16 of their last 18 matches.

Arsenal scraped past Wigan at this stage 12 months ago, Mertesacker scoring an 82nd-minute equaliser before the Gunners prevailed 4-2 on penalties.

And the World Cup winner believes the lessons learnt from that near upset will ensure Arsenal do not underestimate the Royals.

“We felt [pressure] last season a lot,” he told Arsenal Player.

“No one expected us to lose, for Wigan to go through and that will be the case again.

"We are more prepared but you are never perfectly prepared. There will be different situations and the team will have to grow in the match again, we will have to face the expectations and pressure.

"But with our level of confidence and with the team in good shape at the moment, I’m very confident.

"The energy is really great in the team, we have a fantastic squad and the most important thing is that feeling.”

<h2>Arsenal man moves closer to Gunners debut with Spanish passport</h2><p>Arsenal’s Wellington Silva has taken another step towards finally 
playing for the Gunners next season as he has received a Spanish 
passport.</p><p>The Brazilian is currently on loan at Almeria and has spent the last 
five years at various Spanish clubs looking to secure a work permit to 
finalise his move to England.</p><p>And he now looks set to play for the Gunners next season as he has been granted Spanish nationality.</p><p>“A
 good thing is slow in coming, but it has arrived with the greatest 
satisfaction in the world. Spanish nationality!” he wrote in Spanish on 
his Twitter page.</p><p>Wellington may now be eligible to play for Arsenal, but whether he gets into Arsene Wenger’s side is a different matter.</p><p>An
 attacking midfielder and winger by trade, he faces competition with the
 likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Alex 
Oxlade-Chamberlain at the Emirates Stadium.</p><p>At 22, he has 
plenty of time to improve but interest from Sevilla suggests his Arsenal
 career could come to an end before it has even begun.</p>

Arsenal man moves closer to Gunners debut with Spanish passport

Arsenal’s Wellington Silva has taken another step towards finally playing for the Gunners next season as he has received a Spanish passport.

The Brazilian is currently on loan at Almeria and has spent the last five years at various Spanish clubs looking to secure a work permit to finalise his move to England.

And he now looks set to play for the Gunners next season as he has been granted Spanish nationality.

“A good thing is slow in coming, but it has arrived with the greatest satisfaction in the world. Spanish nationality!” he wrote in Spanish on his Twitter page.

Wellington may now be eligible to play for Arsenal, but whether he gets into Arsene Wenger’s side is a different matter.

An attacking midfielder and winger by trade, he faces competition with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the Emirates Stadium.

At 22, he has plenty of time to improve but interest from Sevilla suggests his Arsenal career could come to an end before it has even begun.

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