Mikel Arteta says Arsenal can take a lot of positives from this season but he now wants the club to press the “reset button” knowing they face a vital summer getting ready for the challenges ahead.
While the pain of failing to win the title is still raw, the Spaniard accepts the progress made in the last 10 months has exceeded expectations, both on and off the pitch.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, he reflected: “We have achieved reaching the Champions League with five or six games to go and we’ve finished second. I think we have developed a lot of players and taken them to a very different stage of their careers and they have contributed to the team exceptionally well. We have created and developed a huge relationship with our fanbase and created something special around the team
“So if I look at it that way, there are a lot of positives to take from the season, probably more than was expected with the capacity, ability and resources the team had. But, as well we spent 248 days on top of the Premier League, and at the end, we didn’t have enough, or show enough, to win it.”
Champions League football coupled with increased expectations on the terraces are sure to add pressure to a young squad that up to now has been learning on the job.
There is a need to add depth in several areas and for the recruitment team to be decisive when the transfer window opens in June. While they’ve done well pivoting to secondary targets in recent transfer windows, they have also struggled at times to get deals over the line for first-choice candidates.
“I think we are in a moment of our journey where we have built a lot,” said Arteta.
“We have a great foundation and we have become really competitive, but now I think it is time to press the reset button, and go again.
“We have to be faster, more determined and ruthless [this summer] because the dimension that opens up now is bigger but the margins are really small so we have to be really smart.”
The Gunners have already been linked with a host of Premier League players including Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and Moises Caicedo. There are also expected to be high-profile departures with Granit Xhaka leading the way. It’s going to be a hectic few months.