Unai Emery says he’s excited to work with his reshaped Arsenal squad and believes they can close the gap on last season’s runaway top two; Manchester City and Liverpool.
The Gunners recruited six new players and moved on 20 during a hectic summer that also saw a number of Academy graduates earn promotion to the first team.
With some of the squad returning late from international duty, a few faces likely to leave and injured players stepping up their rehab, it’ll take a few weeks for things to calm down at London Colney, but the foundations are in place for another tilt at the top four.
Facing the media ahead of the opening game of the season with Newcastle, the boss was asked which players he’s looking forward to working with.
“All of them,” he said, “and I want to show and say to our supporters that I am very excited to work with Pepe, David Luiz, Ceballos, Martinelli, Kieren Tierney, and with Willock, Nelson, Bukayo and Xhaka, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Leno, Emiliano, Matteo.
“We need every player and I want to achieve with every player our best performance. My challenge and objective is to achieve some titles in my present and future here.
“I want to achieve the top four to get into the Champions League, but above all my first and top challenge is to improve each player in his career.”
Emery also took a moment to assess Arsenal’s rivals. While he accepts that we might not challenge the top two for the title, he insists that cutting the gap should be a priority.
He said: “Last year we reduced the distance with some other teams and at the moment I think Man City and Liverpool are stronger than others at the beginning, but we want to reduce the distance to them and compete with them We want to reduce the points difference with them.
“After, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United have the same objective as us. Last year there were less points difference between us and this year is another challenge for them and for us to achieve the top four.
“Other teams are coming back and signing very good players and working very well. Everton, West Ham, Leicester, Wolves, Watford…the Premier League is the best competition in the world.
“We are going to work and be with a big challenge to compete in this competition to find the top four.”