Mikel Arteta has denied that his recent comments about how important it is to improve the squad are a challenge to the board and the owners.
He says that everyone involved is working very closely together to help realise Arsenal’s ambitions, and that the working relationships are solid, but also that he will continue to push for improvements at all levels.
It had been widely interpreted that his words were a way to put some pressure on those above him, but he insists that there is harmony across the board – so to speak – and that they’ll coordinating their efforts to improve the squad when the transfer window opens.
“If that was misinterpreted, that wasn’t my intention, said Arteta of his Sky Sports interview after the 2-1 win over Liverpool.
“We work so closely with all the hierarchy at the club, and the owners, to put the plan that we need to take the place forward.
“Everybody has the same ambition, we are all in this together, but if you ask me if I know right now what I have and how I can do it, I’m sorry but I don’t know because there are a lot of questions we cannot resolve in the situation we have right now.
“One, financially. The other one because we don’t know if we are in Europe, also because we have players [with whom] we don’t know what is going to happen.
“That’s the reality. It’s not about sending a message. We are all with the same objective, to try and bring the club back as quickly as possible fighting with the top teams in the country and in Europe.
“That’s it, and I want to do it as quickly as possible.”
Arteta also made it clear that he has a direct line of communication with the ownership, and doesn’t have go through Head of Football Raul Sanllehi to raise matters with Stan and Josh Kroenke.
“I speak with them and I have a really, really good relationship with them,” said the Spaniard.
“When you mention that I’m quite surprised because I don’t need to do that [go via an intermediary] – I can make a phone call and speak to them, and they’ve been very supportive from the first day I joined the club.
“They were participating in the decision to bring me back here, with Raul, with Vinai, with Edu, there are no gaps or frictions.”
Admitting that the context of the job he initially took has changed because of Covid-19, and that some of the assurances he’d have been given at the time have had to be altered, Arteta still made it clear the squad has to be improved.
“I am very ambitious because I can only think about this football club moving in one direction, and I’m going to push with everything I have,” he said.
“My job is to do that, first of all with the players that we have. And it’s not just about the players, if I can improve a staff member, with somebody that is going to give us an extra yard on something, I will push to do that.
“The first thing is to improve the players we have, I think we’ve done that so far, and we can go to the next level, of course we can go.
“But in the meantime, we need sometimes … specificity to bring the club quicker to those positions.”
He really doesn’t pull any punches, does he?