Mikel Arteta has warned that people won’t always understand the decisions he and the club make when it comes to rebuilding his squad but he maintains that when you have a clear plan, that doesn’t matter.
While it’s unclear how much clout Arsenal will have when the transfer window opens, the boss insists that he has clear ideas on talent identification and that his dressing room will need a bit of everything to achieve success.
He also accepted that tough decisions lie ahead; a possible hint that some players may have to go if he’s to get the squad where he wants it to be.
“You have to find a squad balance, so that you have a bit of a mixture of everything,” he told his pre-Sheffield United press conference.
“First of all; what type of personality are you signing? Do they fit with your club culture? Yes? That’s the first tick.
“After quality-wise, what do you need? You need physicality, technical ability and specificity for certain positions.
“A squad player, what do you need? You identify that in terms of the year they are in. Are they in the development phase, are they in the twilight phase, are they in the peak phase? What do you need?
“From then on, you need to make the right decisions. Some of them are tough to take. Some of them people won’t understand them, but when you have a clear plan, that works.”
While Unai Emery seemed more than happy to defer most of the responsibility for recruitment to the football executive committee, it feels like Arteta is not willing to be sidelined from the process. That may not have been immediately apparent given the business done in the month after his arrival, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out this summer.
The big elephant in the room is how much cash the club will have to play with. Not qualifying for the Champions League will be a blow. That will be compounded if there’s no European football at all. Throw into the mix the uncertainty around matchday and broadcast revenue while Covid-19 is still a threat and it means conversations with possible targets can only go so far.
While there will undoubtedly be some comings and goings, it means there will be pressure to get the current squad to improve.
“We will see what happens [in the transfer window],” said Arteta. “I’m really happy with the players I have at the moment and the way they are developing.
“Do we need to improve our squad? The answer is yes, of course we do.
“But first, with the players that we have, right now, here. Then we can go in the market and recruit and make some changes and find players that going to help them even better and it’s going to quicken the process, great.”