Gilberto Silva has only gratitude for Arsene Wenger whose legacy stretches far beyond Arsenal

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Former Arsenal star Gilberto Silva believes Arsene Wenger deserves nothing but respect and gratitude for his role in shaping modern football.

After their Europa League hopes were ended by Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, the Frenchman is set to bow out after another trophyless season and Gilberto accepts the time has come for a change.

“He made the statement himself that it’s time to go. When the man says that, the only thing you have to say, especially in my case, is – ‘thanks for everything he’s done for football’ – not only for Arsenal,” Gilberto said, speaking at the Russian Matryoshka festival in Dubai on Friday as part of the 2018 World Cup promotion.

“He inspired so many people to play nice football, he helped so many players to get to a better level and I wish the best of luck to him. It will be sad to see him leave but I think he made up his mind that it’s time for him to move on.

“I hope the club find a good manager to replace him, which will be hard. Anyone who comes will have a big challenge ahead.” the Brazilian added.

A defensive midfielder in his time and part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ side, Gilberto recounted his own experience playing under Wenger.

“[He helped me] a lot. The way he works is a very simple but objective way. He told me the way he wanted me to play in the team and fit into the style.

“And I got the message that I really needed to fit well in that team because if you look at the front, side or back, you are surrounded by good players.

“If you don’t deliver, if you don’t perform, you’re out. There’s not much time. They cannot wait for you. You have to be at your best.”

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Riyad Mahrez withdraws transfer request but Leicester future remains in doubt

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Riyad Mahrez had submitted a transfer request in January.

Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has said he has withdrawn his transfer request but his future remains in doubt.

The winger asked to leave the club in January, with Manchester City reportedly keen to sign him, and missed two games as he tried to force through a move but the Foxes held firm.

“It has gone. It was in January, it’s another transfer window. I am still here – I don’t want to put a lot of things in my head,” Mahrez told Sky Sports News, when asked whether his transfer request still stood.

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Tottenham get special visit from Raul as they bid to seal top-four spot for third straight season

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Tottenham are on the verge of sealing Champions League football.

Mauricio Pochettino hopes Raul’s visit to Tottenham‘s training ground can inspire his side to book their Champions League place.

The former Spain striker was at Hotspur Way on Thursday as part of his coaching course and made a positive impact, with many of the players posting on social media about having met him.

Spurs can make sure of a top-four Premier League finish this weekend if they win at rock-bottom West Brom and Chelsea fail to beat Liverpool on Sunday, and Pochettino reckons Raul has lifted the mood.

“It was a very good impact,” the Argentinian said. “Everyone here, not only in Tottenham but around the world, you admire a legend like Raul. All that means as a player but as a professional too.

“It was fantastic to share with him, the whole day (on Thursday), and say thank you to him, because to choose Tottenham and try to learn and see how we work, that’s massive praise to us.

“I want to say thank you too because he was open to meet our younger players too. It was fantastic, 45 minutes talking about his career, giving advice to the younger players.

“Of course always it changes the energy. It was fantastic for us. But of course, our challenge is to be in the top four.

“That visit helped us a little bit but (on Saturday) we need to be ready to fight. The battle will be massive.

“West Brom are showing great character in their last few games, the capacity to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and draw with Liverpool, they are doing fantastic in the last few months and of course they have the belief still (that they can stay up).

“We are playing to be in the top four and try to play Champions League next season. I think it will be a massive battle for them, but also for us.”

Tottenham will assess the fitness of midfielder Mousa Dembele after he limped out of Monday’s 2-0 Wembley win over Watford with a twisted ankle.

The 30-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from Spurs this summer, is expected to feature again this term even if he does not make the Hawthorns.

“We need to assess him (on Friday) because we are going to train now,” Pochettino added.

“It’s not clear whether he will be fit or not. But I think we need to wait until after the training and see if he’s in a condition to be part of the team or squad (on Saturday). Still we need to assess him.

“It’s not a big issue but it’s so close from Monday’s game. We need to assess.

“If it’s not possible (on Saturday) then for sure he’ll be available for Wednesday (against Newcastle) and the weekend (final game of the season against Leicester).”

Harry Winks, a potential replacement for Dembele, is definitely out with an ankle injury of his own.

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