Mikel Arteta says he’s facing an important week as Arsenal step up their plans for the summer transfer window.
Disappointed that the Gunners ended the 21/22 campaign in fifth behind neighbours Sp*rs, the Spaniard’s focus has already shifted to strengthening his squad for next season.
The club have big decisions to make about the future of three out of contract stars and need to hold honest conversations with those on the fringes of the first team and a bevvy of players returning from season-long loan moves.
Having missed out on Champions League football, Arteta and Edu will also know they have their work cut out securing first choice targets. Already there are reports of competition for first choice Gabriel Jesus.
Asked when he starts thinking about next season, Arteta told Arsenal.com: “Now, because I cannot stop now. We have a very important week to make some decisions as well and start to set the platforms for what we’re going to do in the summer. We are ready to do that and we need to start to go.”
On the futures of Mo Elneny, Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette – all of whom will be free agents in July unless new contracts are offered – Arteta continued: “I will speak to the three players now or tomorrow and after that, we need to start to move on but we have clear ideas of what we want to do.
“It’s been decided [what to do with them] but it’s very difficult to communicate it, what they deserve is to have a little bit of what they had today. But to do it earlier, one way or the other with three situations like that is very, very awkward and it could affect the team. So as a club we have to do the right thing in the right moment and sometimes to combine those two issues is not easy at all, but we will try to do the right thing.”
Having reshaped the squad with six signings last summer, it will be interesting to see how much new blood Arteta feels is necessary to take the Gunners to the next level. It’s clear with a busier schedule, he’ll need more personnel which may make being ruthless with existing squad members more difficult.
“From my side, I will do and the club will do what we have to do and what we think is the best thing for the club to move forward and do it with the integrity and the honesty that we’ve always done it.
“Those players know individually their situation, when it’s going to be communicated, and then that situation happens face to face the way that they deserve.
“The standards of this club have to be to win, and the moment that we don’t look at that with a timeframe or when we are going to win, we are not going to get there.
“So my aim is to win the biggest trophies and my plan is to win here and what we have to do before that to be able to reach that level.”