Mikel Arteta reveals summer strategy with three Arsenal transfers in play; Xhaka rant addressed
Mikel Arteta suggested Arsenal’s transfer policy will be a familiar one this summer, and danced around the explosive comments made by Granit Xhaka earlier this week.
The Gunners are hoping for a favour on final day if they are to break their five-year absence from the Champions League. Arsenal must take care of their own business and defeat Everton on Sunday. Should they do that, they require already-relegated Norwich to beat Tottenham if they’re to secure fourth spot.
Should that scenario not unfold, Arsenal will return to Europe next season, though in the Europa League.
Opinion is split on whether the current campaign has represented progress in north London. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Mikel Arteta began with a lengthy assessment of the season.
“It’s been a long journey and a very challenging one this season but I think we have come a long way as a club,” said the Spaniard (via Football London).
“As a team I think we have transformed the energy of the club and we’ve done it together. We’ve done it together with our people.
“Now I can sense I have the support to take the next step. We’ve done I the way we predicted. We are back in Europe, we don’t know where, hopefully it will be Champions League, and after that we want to take the club to the next level.
“To do that we have a clear plan. There’s no secrets, we need resources and we need to improve the quality and the depth of the squad.”
Arsenal transfer strategy to mirror last summer – Mikel Arteta
Arsenal were the biggest spenders last summer, forking out around £140m on six new first-teamers. When asked about his transfer plans 12 months on, Arteta suggested the club will take a similar approach.
All six players Arsenal signed last summer were aged 23 or under at the time of arrival. That indicated the club were placing an emphasis on hungry young stars with a point to prove and their best years ahead.
The absence of UCL football may harm their appeal to prospective targets. Arteta acknowledged the difficulties his side will face in the market, though stressed they’ll aim to repeat the success they had in the window last year.
“We are going to have certain resources, not unlimited resources, certain resources,” added Arteta.
“We don’t know what the rest are going to have which I assume is going to be challenging because now it’s not a top three, it’s a top eight or 10 teams that are involved.
“That’s why we have to find a way to do again what we did last summer.”
Three Arsenal transfers in play
Referencing Arteta’s comments, a second Football London article reaffirmed the club’s interest in two signings that have been heavily linked.
Man City’s Gabriel Jesus and Leicester’s Youri Tielemans were both confirmed as targets. Furthermore, the report added Bologna’s Scottish left-back, Aaron Hickey, is also being eyed.
Finally, Arteta addressed the explosive comments made by Granit Xhaka in the aftermath of their defeat to Newcastle.
Arsenal produced their worst display of the season at St. James’ Park. The timing of the lowly performance at such a crucial moment in the season added to their pain.
Post-match, Xhaka took aim at the younger elements of Arsenal’s squad when suggesting certain players had frozen when it mattered most.
When asked if the midfielder had overstepped the mark, Arteta appeared keen to move on from the rant.
“You have to ask him exactly what he meant or who he was pointing at,” added Arteta.
“I prefer not to comment too much but when you allow people to speak in front of the media, you have to allow them to say what they feel. Unquestionably, knowing Granit, that’s what he felt.”