Mikel Arteta has reiterated that he’d love for Arsenal to get their transfer business done quickly but warned that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is making things difficult on a number of levels.
The Gunners are thought to be targeting an attacking midfielder during the January window but need more fringe players to leave to make room in the squad and to help make a deal more financially viable.
Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have already joined Schalke and Nice on loan respectively and it’s expected that Matt Macey, Sokratis and even Mesut Ozil could depart this month.
As for incomings, aside from the recruitment of youngster Omar Rekik from Hertha Berlin, it seems Gunners fans may need to patient, in part because negotiations on the phone don’t lead to speedy resolutions.
“At the moment, the market is really complicated,” Arteta said on Thursday, just hours before Arsenal confirmed a short-term £120 million loan from the Bank of England.
“The situation around every club is not easy and to get negotiations going is harder because you cannot be face-to-face, you cannot travel to another country to make a deal happen like that.
“Everything has to be through the phone or Zoom. It can go either way.
“I can tell you what I would like and that’s from day one to have the squad that I want and the players out and in, sorted. I think it’s really complicated right now.”
After a number of reports of players breaking Covid-19 regulations over the festive period, Arteta also warned of the mental health challenges posed by the pandemic.
“It’s affecting everything,” he said. “It’s affecting the transfers, it’s affecting us financially.
“As well, it’s affecting some players who are here and they’ve been stuck for a year and they really realise they need to go back home, they need their family to be happy, they need their family next to them.
“It’s a bit of a mixture. Players are experiencing different feelings that are new to them.
“It’s why I keep insisting that this virus is about mental health, not just physically how you are feeling. Mental health is a big, big thing and we have to pay more attention to that.”