Arteta talks Sanchez, signings and Wenger’s beach header

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Arseblog News pottered down to Puma’s flagship store in Carnaby Street last night where we unashamedly quaffed free champagne before being treated to a sneaky peak at our new kits and a ten-minute roundtable chinwag with lego-haired, Spanish beauty Mikel Arteta.

Back in pre-season training after a summer soaking up rays on the beach, he reflected on Spain’s demise at the World Cup, his own future at the club, the pressure facing Aaron Ramsey and – in light of the news announced just moments before we sat down – the prospect of working with new signing Alexis Sanchez…

Mikel, Arsenal have just announced the signing of Alexis Sanchez! What do you make of that?

I’m really happy; everybody has been waiting for a big signing like this. He’s a proper player, he has good experience, he’s got the technique and he’s got the pace. I met him this morning and he looked very excited, I think he’s going to be a good fit.

How’s his English?

[Laughs] His English is not great…as is the case with 99% of the South Americans, but he will try. He was very interested…although perhaps a bit worried about it, but he’ll be fine. We have a very humble squad and the players will look after him. He’s got plenty of Spanish lads to talk with. We’ll look after him.

How good is it to secure his transfer ahead of a rival like Liverpool?

It’s true, he had many options and he’s decided to join us. This makes us really proud. He likes the Arsenal style because it’s very similar to what he’s experienced at Barcelona.

How encouraging is it for the players to see the club sign such a big name?

I think it’s a big statement from the club to say early on, “OK, let’s go and get one of the best strikers in the world.” They’ve convinced him to come and we’ve done it. We’ve been lucky to get that pace and that creativity that he can bring to the club. I can’t wait!

Do you think the dynamic of the team will change with Sanchez?

I think he brings pace and I think we were missing that last season when Theo [Walcott] and [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain were injured. At one point we were playing with Cazorla, Wilshere and Giroud with all three coming in [to collect the ball]. Arsenal is a team that enjoys breaking quickly, we need that speed to break teams down. [With Sanchez] we get that back and we become more powerful and will be harder to deal with.

Has this summer felt different, have you been able to enjoy it more after the FA Cup success?

Yes! When you win something it’s a different summer. We took a lot of pressure off our shoulders. The way the final panned out as well, going 2-0 down, they [Hull City] made us work really hard. This has to be the start, I don’t think one year [of success] is enough for Arsenal football club, we have to aim for bigger things. I think we have the capacity now to fight with all the teams and we have to start showing that consistency over the next few years.

You spoke back in May about your desire to sit down with the club to discuss a new contract, has there been any progress on that front?

I had my conversation with the manager, he knows my opinion and I know his opinion and we’re all good. That’s all I can say. I can’t stop the rumours, but you can be sure that I’m really happy here. I feel valued, I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and I like it. Until the club thinks something different about me, I’m happy here.

You’re wearing the ‘Forever’ [home] shirt, so you kind of have to stick around for a little bit… 

[Laughs] I wish! If only I was 20, I’d be around to see all the different kits, but it’s not the case. But yeah, I’m happy here.

Seeing as you’ve had a chat with the manager, who’s next on the shopping list? Who have we got coming in?

One of them is almost done I think. We have to see, I don’t think it’s going to stop there. They’ve got more targets. I don’t think players should get involved in that at all because we’re doing our work. It’s another part of the club and they’re doing really well so let’s just be patient.

What’s it like working with Arsene Wenger?

He’s a very demanding manager. He’s a very straightforward manager as well. You know what you’re getting with him and you know exactly what he wants from you. If you’re fair, you’re right and you’re honest you’re never going to have a problem.

What did you think of his header on the beach in Rio?

[Laughs] Yeah! I was surprised. He looked younger than what he is. He’s a very fit man. He’s probably one of the few who could wear the tight fit shirts! You [pointing to Robbie from ArsenalFanTV]…I’m not so sure!

Arsene’s still out in Brazil while you guys are already doing your push-ups and press-ups at pre-season, is that a cause of amusement in the camp?

Yeah, Arsene’s still there. I think he’ll be back with us on Monday. It shows you how much he loves football because even when he has a break he keeps watching football. [In the meantime] I think the fitness coaches are going to be keeping a real close eye on us given how we’ll look in these tight shirts.

There’s a lot of young guys training with you in pre-season, are there any you’d pinpoint as ones to watch this season?

I wouldn’t like to give names but there are a few. Arsenal have always been one of the best clubs in Europe for producing young players and you’ve seen some of them [the new crop] already. I’ve got one which is my preference but I prefer not to give any names. He’s a number 10…

Have you enjoyed the World Cup? What did you make of Spain’s early exit?

I was disappointed but I can’t really criticise them as they’ve been absolutely amazing for the last four to six years. What they’ve given to the country is outstanding. It’s the end of an era probably but it’s not the end of ‘tiki-taka’ because now we have the Germans doing something very similar. I think everybody has been enjoying [watching] them a lot. I think Spain had the best generation of midfielders that Europe has ever produced but it looks like the Germans have taken over.

Have you had a favourite moment?

Being Spanish I haven’t had a favourite moment yet! Hopefully if the Germans win the cup it’ll be a very nice moment and I’ll be really happy for them.

What did you make of Brazil’s semi-final thumping?

I felt so sorry for them. Unfortunately last season we had similar disappointments against big teams. When they were suffering that defeat I was really feeling sorry for them especially in front of their own crowd. That makes it even harder. I think it’s going to be tough for them to digest.

How did you cope with the big defeats against Liverpool and Chelsea last year? They must have been very deflating, but you came back to win the FA Cup…

I still don’t think I’ve really digested it [the Chelsea game]. As soon as you mentioned it I felt something in my stomach. In that moment you just want to dig a hole and go down it. You’re not honouring your club, the shirt…you’re very frustrated. But these things happen in football and you have to accept that and you have to learn.

Are you confident that those lessons have been learnt? And are you optimistic going into next season?

Yes I am, I am because I know the quality we have, the desire, the character. Also because all the players have shown a very good mentality when things haven’t been going well. When everybody is winning, when you’re lifting the trophy and being told you’re the main man, it’s easy. When people criticise and ask questions of you, then you see how people really are. I’m telling you with this group it’s top drawer.

You played a lot of games next to Aaron Ramsey last year, how good do you think he can be?

The improvement he’s made is going to be very demanding on him as everyone is going to expect something big…those seasons aren’t easy. Aaron has the character and the ability to do it again. The way he trains, the way he prepares himself is top drawer and he knows now he’s one of the main guys. He needs to stand firm and deal with it [the pressure].

How good is it having Abou Diaby back?

He’s one of the players I like the most. I’ve felt so sorry for him; he’s been so unlucky with injuries throughout his career. When you look at him after a month of training some of the stuff he does is amazing, his physical ability is great. If we can add that to the squad it’ll be amazing.

You’re setting off for New York in a few weeks to play the Red Bulls, are you looking forward to a first pre-season in the USA?

It’s going to be big change. Last summer it was a very busy schedule in pre-season, this year it’s very quiet. I think those three or four days in New York will be very good, we play against the Red Bulls which will be a good test. Hopefully we’ll enjoy it.

And you get to catch up with Thierry Henry again…

Yes…and Tim Cahill!

__

Thanks to Puma for their impeccable hospitality last night. You get the feeling they really want to pull out all the stops for Arsenal having sealed such a big deal. It bodes well for the future given the night’s much repeated mantra ‘Stronger Together’.

Tip of the hat to @Gunnerblog, @RobKelly2, @ArsenalFanTV, @GeezyPeas whose questions all feature in the above transcript. There were a couple of other participants, but sorry I didn’t catch your names…

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onearsenewenger

speaks like a proper arsenal man.

Formerly Known As El Capitano

I love Arteta, he takes a lot of stick sometimes which I think is undeserved.
He’s speaks very highly of everything Arsenal, and has shown a real commitment to the club since he’s joined.
He’s done a pretty decent job for us over the seasons in that DM role which is a position I think he is still adapting too.

Such a great feeling reading all of the interviews from players like him and how much of a difference winning the FA Cup last season.actually has made.

fabulous

I’m guessing the number 10 he’s referring to are either Olsson or Zelalem. On another note how great was his response on the Chelsea thumping? Absolutely love this guy!

Thegunninggunnerthatguns

Olsson isnt a number 10. More like an 8!

Arsenal Till I die

Could be Dan Crowley

Ramsey's spirit

the good news is if dan does get first team and earn 1, theres a ready made mr crowley song lol

Radu

Yeah, I was thinking Zelalem too. That guy’s going to be a superstar, mark my words!

DR

Yeah, made me laugh when I considered that if he played a whole season behind Walcott and Sanchez he could finish with a dozen or more assists in his first season.

It would never happen, at least I hope we don’t end up having to rely on a 17-year-old, but that kid can split defences.

joeos

Could be Eisfeld, who is little older than them.

Miranda

Has to be Toral, surely?

DR

Doesn’t he play deeper? Like Busquets but with creativity, and a soul?

Miranda

No, not when I’ve seen him, he’s a classic number 10. He hasn’t played much at all recently, though – the injury curse.

cygan

Sanchez

ace

Me 2 artetas great one of my favourite players to be honest

DöubleDöubleDöuble

It sounds like the tight fit shirts are scaring the players into making sure they’re in tip top shape for the coming season. Grats Puma. Also, why no in depth questions about the subject that every Gooner truly cares about…Arteta’s haircare regime?

gunnermite

Its santi am worried about

Arsenal Till I die

“One of them is almost done I think” – I bet my right testicle that he’s referring to Debuchy

Ramsey's spirit

big words, how will you feel if its somebody like lars bender first? talk about mixed emotions lol

Bonker Jonker

Did he say so? and then request you not to put it in print? Just curious. (Though your answering in the affirmative would defeat the purpose)

WengersNoseHair
Ramsey's spirit

Really like Arteta, hes a most unusual player in that he has a very good head on his shoulders, i think he would make a cracking coach when he retires in 4 or 5 years, i hope we can find a youth coaching spot for him when he does.

TV5

I think his contribution on the field has been excellent from day one and you can see he is a massive influence when it comes to the team going about things in the right way. Always very professional. One concern and I think he knows it. We talk about what a great leader the likes of himself and the BFG are, but we can’t ignore the fact that they were on the field for our big away thumpings last season, when we seemed to lose all our defensive discipline. He doesn’t hide from it and he mentions it regularly. Hopefully… Read more »

Tom

“Arsenal is a team that enjoys breaking quickly, we need that speed to break teams down. [With Sanchez] we get that back and we become more powerful and will be harder to deal with.”

– My heart jumped several times while reading that quote!

Ali

I think the number 10 he was talking about is Dan Crowley.

Unnecessarilystupid

John Terry is a cunt.

Trex d' Gunner

A simple fact of life. I dare anyone to counter this fact

faym

mourinho is a cunt?

Ralph77

Also true

warm

top man

2014-2015 = the year we've been waiting for

Arsenal FC: the only football team to boast three players on display at Madame Tussauds!

When the reveal happened they were standing in the window as still as dummies but Cazorla was the first to crack and started smiling.

Topgunner89

Gotta love Santi. That guy never stops smiling!

Also, who knew Flamini was taller than Arteta??? Probably everyone, but I just realised when I saw that pic!

SommerMatt

Ha. Poor Robbie

DöubleDöubleDöuble

I expect Daily Mail’s next headline to read: “Arteta mocks Arsenal fan, and Ozil is really rubbish and smells of poo.”

Zorro in the box

Great interview, and underlines again the importance of keeping someone like Arteta at the club. I’m not one for the bandwagon that great players necessarily make great coaches and managers, but Arteta has the leadership, character and charisma to do so. Hopefully he will be able to do that with us, joining a line of ex-players taking that step.

For now though, exciting times ahead!

Johnny Jensen's Bender

You’ve seemed to have changed your tone from your Sky Sports trolling days..?!

AmericanSchmoe

Fucking love Mikel

Harish P

Arteta is… top drawer.

Very good Q&A actually, thanks to everyone involved for giving us this.

G

Love him! That’s all I can say.

Will

What a great interview! Really sounds like we’re in a great position with the squad and further signings.

dmcle

So well spoken, so professional.

And he loves Tim Cahill, therefore I love him.

John Terry is a cunt.

AS17

first changed my name to AS17 for Alexis Sanchez. also realised it could mean alexandre song with same number. holy shit. but so glad for this day. can see a reason why Arteta cant go on to become captain

Zelalem

Pretty sure he was talking about me lol

Crew

Unrelated, but does anyone think the Arsenal players may feel uncomfortable in the new Home Kit? I’m not just referring to how tight the kit is but also the red “Patches” on both Shoulders. Can’t it distract them? It’s like constantly having something annoying on your shoulders. Not criticizing, just hoping the players will feel good in their new kits.

WengersNoseHair

It’s Man $ity that are looking over their shoulder and kacking themselves, not us.

Moxrex

I think this is a very valid point. These small things can lead to loss of concentration during key moments.

Ry

Love Arteta! Mr. Consistent himself. Some of the criticisms laid on him in recent seasons are ridiculously unfair, in my opinion. His professionalism, humor, intelligence (on the field & off), pass completion rates, amount of headers won considering his size, penalty kick conversion rates, hair, fake teeth, and leadership are all top notch!

lonsdale

Drawer! Top drawer!!!

Gandalf

If you didn’t know his history, you’d think he was an Arsenal man through and through.

I feel bad that we need an upgrade for him, his attitude is spot on. One of those rare players that make me feel that way.

Alfonso Sanchez

Am I the only one who’s unreasonably excited about what he says about Diaby?

Arsepedant

No, you are not. In the rare times when Diaby was fully fit, he was the first name on the France teamsheet. He’s an absolutely brilliant player, and I think a lot of people are going to be thoroughly amazed at what they see him do this coming season.

lonsdale

I seem to recall having this conversation before….

Think I’m gonna go cry in a dark room now.

Desert Fox

With any luck, the new fitness chap we have could give him a totally different regime to follow which may work in our favour. A fit Diaby would be great to see.

Eric Blair

I don’t care who we bring in, this man must stay with us until the end of his career, his attitude and leadership skills are irreplaceable.

medix

Along with Rosicky.

arsené Wenger's sidekick

The only constant is that John Terry Is a thundercunt

Arsepedant

Fantastic interview, thanks for posting it. Arteta really is a total class act, isn’t he?

KiwiGooner

Great article. Thanks so much for keeping us all informed. Am incredibly excited about the upcoming season. COYG

IvanCampo

I may be drunk but I write this with as much seriousness as possible. I think there are a select few players who really “get what it means” to represent Arsenal and be the heroes of the fans. I think guys like Arteta and Mertesacker completely understand this and I’d hate to see this sort of indefinable “Arsenalness” disappear. Fundamentally though I think in the last 10-15 years AW is the real driver behind what I love about Arsenal.

Dom

The comments are all so positive! Must be a record… Also, anyone else notice we are top of the table right now, and it’s impossible for anyone to go ahead of us for a few months

santori

Don’t understand where people think we are going to fit in another DM. We have Arteta and Flamini. Arteta is good for another season before we need to visit the issue. We also have the possibility of (on at very least certain occasions) the power and straight line dribbling strengths of Diaby. The squad is very deep as is. Debucchy at RB is a priority. Next to that a back up keeper and we must surely need a CBack before adding in any other area. Vermaelen cannot force himself into Meterscielny and may leave. Miquel should be given one last… Read more »

Desert Fox

Unless we went with someone like Mascherano – could play the deep lying midfield role and cover at CB if needed.

Think the next few signings we bring in are probably going to be versatile, squad-like players. Maybe even James Milner?

dgaj

Too many extremely likable characters in this squad. Makes me… uncomfortable.

MrsArteta

Mikel Arteta is just incredible. Good response from him. Wat a commited player. I hope to c d best of U Mikel

paddy

“Vermaelen can’t force himself into mertersecker and may leave”. That’s quite an assertion. Unrequited lust in the defence. Who would’ve thought it…