Mikel Arteta says he’s been talking with Technical Director Edu about the January transfer window, and while he appears keen to add to his squad, he was uncertain about what the club could do in the market.
The Gunners have been linked with creative midfielders like Christian Eriksen, Salzburg’s Dominik Szoboszlai, and summer target Houssem Aouar, but the Covid-impacted finances and the need to shift players to free up money from the wage bill and make space in an already bloated squad make next month somewhat uncertain.
Speaking ahead of the Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna, the Arsenal boss was asked about potential deals next month, and said, “We are planning. We’ve been talking with Edu and the club about things we can do in January.
“At the moment it’s pretty difficult and unpredictable. As well in terms of places [available in the squad], we are very restricted at the moment.
“We’ll see what happens. Things will move in the market and we’ll be prepared to do something knowing the limitations of that market in January and the limitations we have as well to sign players.”
It’s clear that Arteta wants transfer market activity, telling DAZN this week that he feels he’s short of the players he needs to play the system he wants.
““We want to move to a 4-3-3,” he said, “but for that, you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it.”
Some of that may come from internal solutions, with a crop of exciting young players on the cusp of the first team, but a significant part has to come via transfers. Having been backed this summer by the ownership to bring in Thomas Partey, it remains to be seen if KSE will free up funds in January.
Things are also complicated by Brexit, with new rules for player recruitment due to the loss of free movement between the UK and EU countries.
And after a third successive home defeat, the Spaniard was sanguine about what it’s going to take get things back on track.
“Even when we were winning we are still a long, way away from what I want,” he said.
“When losing you obviously see things even further. Again, the margins from where we were losing or winning sometimes they’ve been really, really small but there are reasons for it.
“It’s going to take time. I’m sorry.”