Mikel Arteta is steadfast in his belief that he can turn things around at Arsenal and that he has the full backing of the club’s owners who will continue to help him overhaul the playing squad this summer.
While it’s not yet confirmed, Arsenal are facing a first season without European competition since 1996 after a dismal run of domestic form was coupled with Thursday’s painful semi-final exit from the Europa League.
Having earned praise for last season’s FA Cup success, there is now growing discontent within the fanbase about the direction of travel under Arteta. If the Gunners faltering form continues into next season the Spaniard faces the very real prospect of being sacked.
“The squad needs changing,” Arteta told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Brom.
“There were already a lot of changes in December, something that has not been done in years, but it tells us where we were. Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to back it up.”
It’s no secret that the Premier League has become more competitive since Arsenal last qualified for the Champions League under Arsene Wenger. On and off the pitch, the gap on ‘smaller’ clubs has closed and there’s a fear the decline under the Kroenke ownership is terminal.
“Time is catching up right now,” said Arteta. “It’s a trend, it’s years now that this has been happening. If the distance and the margins with the rest become too big, then it’s almost impossible to do it.
“We are still on time, and we have put some very strong pillars and foundations in the last few months to do what we have to do.”
Asked if he’s the man to turn things around, Arteta said: “Yes.”
“We know what has been going on inside here for the last 18 months. We know. We only know, the ones that are here. How we have built that is incredible.”