Mikel Arteta says he’s pleased with how Arsenal have strengthened key areas of the squad heading into the second half of the season but he admits the January transfer window was tough to navigate and the club had to adapt their plans.
It’s well documented that the Gunners attempted to recruit Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk and Moises Caicedo from Brighton only for Chelsea to gazump them on the former and to be told the latter wasn’t for sale.
With the clock ticking, Arsenal made the practical decision to recruit two older players – Leandro Trossard and Jorginho – knowing they needed bodies to give themselves the best chance of competing for the Premier League and Europa League titles.
“It was a really tricky one but I think at the end, it’s a really positive one,” said Arteta when asked to reflect on the business Edu had completed.
“We had three main, key areas and positions we wanted to improve and fulfil. And we’ve done it. With Leo, we bring a player who already knows the league, who has been performing at a great level, that has the versatility that we needed and adds quality and goal threat to the squad, especially after the injury to Gabby [Jesus].
“With Jukub, a young talent with incredible potential, that is going to adapt really well to our way of playing and we didn’t have a back-up [left side) centre-back for the whole season.
“And then the last one, with Jorge, a player that when you look at his CV, his playing record, his quality, I think we made some really decisions there.”
Arteta also touched on why he decided to let three players on the fringes of the squad depart on loan.
“Sambi needed time and games to develop the talent that he has. I think in Palace, we found the right club with the right coaching staff as well. Hopefully, that will work out.
“Marquinhos needed minutes, it’s going to be a really tough but good test for him to play in the [Championship] league in a great club [Norwich].
“Then with Cedric [Soares], as well, he was demanding minutes and it was difficult to promise that to him. He’s a player that we all loved and it’s been a difficult decision to let him go but we had to respect his will to play.”
In total, Premier League clubs committed £815 million to transfers in January with London rivals Chelsea responsible for a third (£280 million) of that outlay. Arsenal’s portion – £55 million – wasn’t insignificant, especially given it dwarfed the total spent by clubs in Italy (£25 million) and Spain (£25 million).
“It’s the context that we live in,” said Arteta when asked about the way English sides splashed the cash.
“We had, on our side, the possibility to do certain things we didn’t do in the summer and we are always willing to improve the squad.
“I think the squad is still in a moment that we cannot waste any opportunity to evolve it, whether it’s to give players minutes or improve and add depth to the squad. I think every team tries to do the same and that’s why it’s so competitive.
He added: “I’m really happy with what we’ve done. What you’ve planned and what you can actually do in this industry normally it doesn’t happen so you have to mould and adapt. We’ve done that.
“The most important thing at the end, is that the profile, the person and the qualities that we bring to the squad make us better. I have no doubt that we’ve done that.”
We’ll know better at the end of the season but I reckon we did well in this window. Back-ups where we needed them and we got three more than decent players cheaper than buying either one of our other targets (who are both young, realtively inexperienced and hence a risk).
Hope that the season bears this out.
I think so too. Time will tell.
Helps having such a strong team at the top of the league, even the players we didn’t get were desperate to come.
Seems kind of a snowball effect when you are trying the build a squad. The quality bargains want to come, the top players who ran down their contracts, the most talented youngsters.
When you are in a weaker position you have to use more money and/or be more patient and build it up.
Still gutted about Mudryk. Arsenal would have been unstoppable with him. Trossard is a brilliant recruit though and offers reinforcement across the front line. The title will be decided in the games against City most probably, so hopefully we have enough to come through those matches without losing ground to them.
We are not losing ground to City.
We can currently afford to lose to them both times and still win it. We beat everybody else, just about.
They can always lose games too.
That actually just reminded me of 2015/2016. We beat Leicester home and away, but they still won the league ahead of us.
Those Man City games are important of course but they are only 2 games out of 19 remaining.
Oh and we finished above Sp*rs that season as well.
Just have to average more points than them over the remaining games, and we have a bit of a cushion
The whole Mudryk thing reeks of a big elaborate hustle by shaktar with mudryk’s willing collaboration. Shaktar were determined to have an auction for the player and i’m convinced those tweets from mudryk helped that…a bit like saying….”look what i’m about to do if you don’t stop me”.
I’m pleased Arsenal learned from the Pepe saga and walked out when the price got silly, both in up front fees and wages.
No idea how Mudryk will do, no-one knows, it’s a huge gamble. Not a calculated risk, a gamble.
You shouldn’t really be paying anything like for a player with that experience from that league. He looks really promising, but it’s not smart.
Not unless Chelsea want them, in which case you’re better off going for somebody else. It’s high risk what they are doing. As we’ve seen with United spending lots of money doesn’t guarantee success …
What Chelsea did was go all in with a pair of 8s. You might get lucky and win the lot. You might not.
There have been very few player sales in the top 5 leagues over £70m that have been successful. Pepe is our example. Read an article awhile ago that looked at all these player sales over £70m and there were very few that were worth the money. I trust the club to spend appropriately, build the squad over time, resign our young talents and let Mikel work his magic with the lads. I started following the club in 2006, that CL game as tragic a conclusion that it was cemented my love for Arsenal. It’s great being top of the table,… Read more »
The media makes us believe we need luck and we are not good enough to win the league. But actually, it is City that is not good enough. We are not just winning, we are playing good football.
For me, if we are having same points at this stage, I still wholeheartedly believe Arsenal will win the league.
Moreover, we will get a minimum of 4points from City.
3 at home and they can’t beat us at Etihad.
Arsenal should just be fit, not injuries to key players. Let the “what ifs” don’t come.
Mudryk is like the girl you fancy who after a couple of dates, and very much out of the blue, picks some other guy with a bigger car. He seemed promising but now his breath reeks of Tadd Bully’s cock. He’s not even worth thinking about and I couldn’t be more over him if I tried.
City have played 6 games after the WC while we’ve played 5, yet the gap remains the same, and potentially bigger by 3pts since they’ve lost one game.
City catching us will be easier said that done, the two matches with them considered. I am almost certain they won’t beat us at our home, and when CL football starts, their divided attention might make matters trickier for them. We don’t need to take EL as seriously.
90 points should be the minimum Target for the title this season.
On the positive side we did strengthen the squad which was the main aim of the exercise after all. For my money, Trossard looks – on paper at least – likely to be the best of the three signings, but we’ll only know after they’ve all played quite a few games. The window certainly didn’t go as planned though (and there was clearly months of planning regarding Mudryk). The move for Caicedo looked all a bit “rushed” rather than a fully formed Plan B to me. Two huge offers (way over his worth in my opinion and anyone else’s bid)… Read more »
Given the current set up of football clubs (where managers/head coaches no longer hold the purse strings), I find it a bit odd that Mikel is asked about the wider context of spending in the PL compare to the rest of the rest of Europe or even society in general when other managers generally don’t. Have Potter or Howe been asked questions about their owner’s spending? Or even Nathan Jones or Gary O’Neil, whose clubs have spent similar levels to us? Mikel handles these questions well, but should he even be asked them? Or is this simply a hangover from… Read more »
Of course Potter and Howe have been asked these questions, as Pep always was as well. And Howe, like Pep, has been asked many questions about the ownership of the club. That doesn’t mean he answers them very convincingly, but they are definitely asked.
Jorginho and Trossard are quality signings, they’ll fit straight into the squad, and I think they’ll get the Europa League games while we keep a few of our essential players fresh for the Premier League home stretch.
With Elneny and ESR injury issues, we would have been looking at Lokonga and Nelson to fill those gaps. So significant upgrades indeed.
I know nothing about Kiwior but it was definitely an area we needed another upgrade. Relying on Holding in case of injury to Saliba or Gabriel was far too risky.
A very decent transfer window.
Jorginho and Trossard are quality signings,the two will perform above expectations. Bravo to Aerta and Edu one thing is certain Arsenal FC will be crowned champion at the end of the season.
I don’t think Arsenal should be competing for Europa Premier League titles: we don’t have the depth for both.
Our focus should be the latter only.
*Europa and Premier
Disagree. As Nainsley pointed out, it will be important to keep the squad game fit in case they need to fill in for a PL start due to knocks and injuries. Also, it is not the mentality the manager is trying to create in the squad playing competitive games every three days. We have not won a European title in decades and TBF our record in Europe as a big club is not what it should be. I would welcome the Europa league trophy into our cabinet and it would be a real sign that we can get over the… Read more »
Kudos to the recruitment team, they did a wonderful job. Bring on Everton!!!
I remember when the Geordies were not the unpalatable shits they are now, and were leading the table by something like 13 points and playing champagne football. Instead of buying solid squad players to see them through to the end, the spent big on Asprilla, who was one of my favourite players at the time. It seemed to torpedo them as Keegan tried to fit too many stars into the team, at the expense of the team. We’ll never know how it would’ve worked out with Mudders and Caicedo, but I’m pretty satisfied that we can play the same great… Read more »
I agree with all that. Also, Caicedo might be available in the summer should we still need him.
I have a feeling that ship has sailed.
If it has there are other players.