Mikel Arteta says he’s impressed by the job Edu is doing at Arsenal and praised the Brazilian for sticking to the long-term vision the pair agreed when he joined the club.
The technical director sat on the panel that hired Arteta in December 2019 and they’ve since developed a strong bond as part of a streamlined football operations team that has had to deal with the financial fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As another transfer window comes to a close – the third of their tenure together – it feels like the squad rebuild is gaining much-needed momentum.
While Edu has overseen questionable strategies and bad mistakes – most notably the agent-led recruitment of the recent past and our failure to send William Saliba on loan in the summer – the January exits for Sokratis and Mesut Ozil, as well as Sead Kolasinac’s move to Schalke, where he’s due to be joined by Shkodran Mustafi, have been important steps towards a leaner first-team wage bill.
The 42-year-old has also found time this month to recruit Martin Odegaard and Mat Ryan; two players needed in problem areas of the pitch.
All in all, it’s been a decent window for the Gunners and Arteta has been quick to praise the man pulling the strings.
Facing the press on Monday morning, he said: “I think he [Edu] is doing a great job at the club since I joined, the clarity that he showed when they came to try to convince me to join the club and then to stick to the plan we have and the way he is going about it, I am really impressed with him.
He also joked: “Probably in the last year, I have spoken to Edu more than anyone else in my life!
“That’s what my wife says because of the things we have to go through, with coronavirus as well, the transfers, luckily enough we have a great relationship, a great understanding and we support each other in a great way.
“It is lucky that if you have to talk to someone many times around the deadline day that the relationship is strong.”
Edu has a few irons in the fire that are likely to keep him busy up until 11pm. In addition to Mustafi’s proposed move to Schalke, it sounds as though Newcastle are trying to loan Joe Willock. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also weighing up his options with West Brom seemingly back in the driving seat after Southampton pulled out of negotiations.