Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal could move for World Cup talents in January; reacts to Ben White return and Premier League title prediction

Mikel Arteta preparing for an Arsenal match

Mikel Arteta has hinted that Arsenal could sign some players who have caught their attention at the World Cup during the January transfer window – after which he hopes they can continue their title charge.

Arsenal won the Dubai Super Cup with a 2-1 victory over AC Milan in their latest mid-season friendly on Tuesday. It followed their victory over Lyon on Thursday. This time around, goals from Martin Odegaard and Reiss Nelson put them in a strong position by half time.

Odegaard’s effort was a free kick after a foul on Eddie Nketiah, which the captain curled in. Next, Nelson took aim after being set up by Fabio Vieira; his strike skimmed off Odegaard to leave Ciprian Tatarusanu helpless in the Milan net.

The Serie A champions responded with a goal from English defender Fikayo Tomori in the latter stages after Marquinhos had given away a free kick. However, Arsenal maintained their advantage.

As has been the case after every game in this tournament, a penalty shootout followed. Arsenal again won by converting four of their spot kicks and only letting in three from Milan.

Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes, Marquinhos and Mohamed Elneny all scored from the spot, before Matthew Smith saw his effort saved. But it didn’t matter, because Rade Krunic aimed wide for the Rossoneri straight after.

He was the second Milan player to miss after Brahim Diaz was denied by Karl Hein with their second effort of the shootout. Ex-Arsenal man Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali and Marko Lazetic were the ones who did score for the Italians.

The signs are that the Premier League leaders will be able to preserve their momentum after the World Cup break.

Being active in the January transfer window might help them further, especially knowing that they will have to fill the void left by the injured Gabriel Jesus.

In terms of transfers, Arteta said after the game: “We are looking and we are very active looking at the possibilities. If we can find the players that can strengthen the team we will try.”

Asked if anyone at the World Cup has come to his attention as a potential target, he replied: “There are a few for sure, and a few national teams, what some of the national teams are doing is very interesting and it shows where the game is and how the game is evolving.

“Any individual player I will keep it to myself.”

Mikel Arteta reacts to Ben White return

The game marked a return to action for Benjamin White after his early return from England’s World Cup travelling party for personal reasons.

Starting at right-back as he has for most of the Premier League season, White played the whole first half.

Asked about his thoughts on the defender’s return, Arteta responded: “Very pleased. Everybody has been giving him a lot of support and love.

“We know the reasons he had to leave the camp. We are delighted to have him back and he looked in really good shape.”

There were allegations that White left the World Cup group because of a bust-up within the camp. However, England manager Gareth Southgate played down that theory.

Arteta has also jumped to White’s defence after having to deal with allegations about his character.

The Arsenal boss added: “We can’t control that. I know who Ben is, what he needs, what his character is and how happy we all are to have him at the club.”

At the end of his press conference, Arteta was reminded that many people believe Arsenal can win the Premier League this season.

Giving his own take, he answered: “I hope so. I hope they are right.”

Arsenal are next in action on Saturday, when they take on another Italian side – Juventus – in a friendly. The competitive action will return on Boxing Day, when they host West Ham in the Premier League.

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