Per Mertesacker admits Arsenal lost their way trying to buy big stars to close the gap on other clubs at the top of the league but he’s optimistic Mikel Arteta has things back on track.
While the Academy Manager didn’t cite specific transfer duds or how far back he thinks mistakes were being made, he clearly hasn’t been a fan of throwing money at players without an underlying philosophy being in place.
Last summer’s business, which included the recruitment of six players aged 24 or under, marked a clear change in policy that, combined with the introduction and development of in-house talent, appears to be laying stronger foundations for the future.
“We are in a state of upheaval and are building a team capable of development, which should be peppered with players from our own youth and professionals from abroad,” Mertesacker told German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung.
“In the meantime, we had lost our way. We tried to make the connection to the top faster with costly commitments. We fell on our face with that.”
Mertesacker also praised manager Mikel Arteta for the clear guidance he is offering the young talents coming through the ranks while highlighting the Spaniard’s coaching style is in contrast to Arsene Wenger, who regularly allowed players to make their own decisions.
“It is not easy to find successors who bring good ideas and who at the same time involve club employees,” said the BFG.
“Mikel has a different knit than Arsene, is intense and focused. He tries to be very active as a trainer, to respond to the new generation and to clearly show what is required.
“The current generation needs more requirements, while in my time much more was regulated in dialogue with one another.”