Mikel Arteta says he’s pleased with Arsenal’s transfer business even if the club were thwarted in their last-ditch attempts to add strength in depth to the midfield and flanks.
In total, the Gunners recruited five players for the first team for an outlay in the region of £120 million. We recouped £23 million from 10 permanent departures (five for a fee) and capped off the transfer window by sending 24 players out on loan.
While recent injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny have taken the shine off things a little, with everyone fit, the squad, on paper, looks to be in a far better state than this time 12 months ago.
Despite having three bids for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz rejected, Arteta was keen to stress the positives of a busy summer.
“No,” he replied when asked if he was disappointed not to sign another midfielder.
“We had a lot of things still to do in the squad, you see the amount of departures, compared to the number we have recruited.
“The club has done a phenomenal job, and put everything on the table to try to bring in the players and the profile that we wanted.
“We did business pretty early, but unfortunately in the past 72 hours Thomas [Partey] got injured in the same place as last time, and then Mo [Elneny] has a long-term injury.
“Then we had to react in the market and we tried, but at the end of the day we have to bring in the player that we feel is right for the team and for the club and we didn’t manage to do that.”
He added: “We pushed to strengthen the team and bring the best possible people and players into this football club and we have managed that to a certain level.
“Then we have our limitations; time was a big limitation in what happened in the last 72 hours with our midfield. We tried to act but we couldn’t find the right player.”
While attempts to sign players on deadline day always has a whiff of panic about it, the fact the Gunners had a budget in mind and refused to go above and beyond it suggests we maintained a level of restraint, even if it comes back to bite us in the arse.
On not panicking, Arteta said: “I think we have learned a lot from that [the past] and there’s still the players that we have to get out.
|We only have to bring in top talent, top quality people through that door and be very disciplined and in those moments you can make a huge mistake that can cost the club and the team a lot – not just in the near future but a little bit ahead, and we want to avoid that as much as possible.”
While Arsenal tackled the summer with a clear plan to recruit players with specific qualities in key positions, the boss says it doesn’t mean the club will be immune from reactive last-minute deals in the future.
“No, because yesterday we could have done something if it was the right player, the right deal and something that we could afford, because sometimes you have to react to something that happened and we would have done that.
“Yesterday it was a real possibility and we tried, but then we kept the decision to say that it has to be the right player for the team and for the club.”