Mikel Arteta is aware that he needs to strengthen his Arsenal squad but he maintains that his priority in the short-term is making sure his players feel valued and ensuring he gets the best from them in the remainder of the season.
While clubs like Chelsea have laid down a marker by securing the big-money signing of Germany international Timo Werner, the Spaniard is trying to persuade key players, young and old, that the Gunners are similarly ambitious despite the financial hit of Covid-19 and three years without Champions League football.
One thing is clear, whether he has money to spend when the transfer window opens or not, he is desperate to close the gap that has opened between us and our traditional rivals.
“We’re trying to put a plan together to improve what we have,” said Arteta when asked about transfer plans.
“We haven’t been able to do or achieve the results we wanted in the last three years.
“There’s a reason behind it and if we stand still obviously that gap will get bigger and bigger. I haven’t come here to accept or to do that.
“The challenge for all of us, is first to improve the players that we have and then to improve the squad in the right positions in order to give us the best possible chance and tools that we need to compete at that level which is getting higher and higher each year.”
Back in early April, Arteta seemed to suggest that the club had a number of potential scenarios when it came to summer transfer dealings. Asked if that was still the case, the boss seemed to hint that none of them fully accounted for the way Covid-19 has taken a toll.
“The plans I had were not considering the coronavirus and all the side effects that it has had. We know what we have to do to improve the team, that’s for sure. Whether we’re able to do it the way we want, that’s a different story.
“My focus right now is just to improve the team, to get the results that we need to give us the best chance possible to get into Europe, to convince the players that this is the right place for them, the right environment, and then work from there.”