In yesterday’s press conference, Mikel Arteta outlined why Arsenal have to be bold in the transfer market this summer even if the club’s finances are rocked by Covid-19 uncertainty and a lack of European football.
In essence, he called on the club to give him the necessary players to execute his philosophy and to speculate to accumulate in the hope of returning to the Champions League. He admits it’s a risky policy but also pointed to the risk of doing nothing and the gap between us and our rivals growing ever bigger.
Ahead of Liverpool’s visit to the Emirates this evening, the media, understandably, wanted to get Arteta’s take on the turnaround at Anfield in the last few years. Since Fenway Sports bought the Reds for £300 million in 2010, they’ve diligently reshaped every area of the club both on and off the field. Success in Europe and on the home front in the last two years has been their reward.
After squandering the cash raised by the sale of Luis Suarez, Liverpool learnt the hard way that reactive buying is bad and recruiting players that solve specific problems is good. They came to recognise the importance of patience, as shown by their lengthy pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.
While time is always of the essence for coaches, especially when results aren’t going your way, Arteta says he’s willing to bide his time in the search for the right profile of player.
“At the end of the day, everything that comes through our door has to be top, top quality,” said Arteta.
“That’s the demands of this club. It cannot be any different. If we have to wait for the right player to do that, let’s wait.
“Everything that comes through our door, it has to be something that increases, significantly, the level of the team.””
When you consider that our recent attempts to outsmart the market ended with us panic buying David Luiz and then recruiting another centre-back, Pablo Mari, it’s hard to feel a huge confidence in the football executive committee.
That said, while Unai Emery was, for the most part, happy to let those above him make decisions on recruitment, it definitely feels like Arteta will be far more involved.
It also sounds like he’s happy to shop around, looking for local bargains and stars alike.
“They [Liverpool] got a good mixture, as well, they bought players from Monaco, from Italy; it’s a good mixture.
“You need players that have the experience in the Premier League and they’ve done it here so in terms of adaptation the process is much quicker.
“As well, they bought players with European experience as well, playing in big national teams with big responsibility. Don’t forget, for a big amount of money as well.”
This summer is certainly shaping up to be one of the most challenging in the club’s recent history. There are tough decisions ahead. Here’s hoping Arteta’s bullishness pays dividends. The transfer window will open for 10 weeks, starting 27 July and ending 5 October