Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Edu: We have one more level

After a season in which Arsenal have exceeded expectations, the challenge facing Mikel Arteta and Edu is maintaining the club’s upwards trajectory.

The Gunners have moved from eighth to fifth to second in successive years – progress that underlines the leadership team’s ‘process’ is working – but recent weeks have also underlined how little room for error there is when competing for a title with Manchester City.

Arteta has already said Arsenal must ‘nail’ their close-season preparations which for Edu means an in-depth review of the first team’s strengths and weaknesses and a lot of time on the phone with agents.

Speaking to ESPN Brasil, the Sporting Director outlined his ambitions for the summer and how he believes the Gunners can still go up a level.

“It’s identifying very well where we can improve. If they are individual, isolated positions, if they are units, if they are ‘final third’, as we call it here, if they are midfield, defensive part. This diagnosis we already have because we already have a very clear style of play by Arteta.

“Today, you see Arsenal playing and identify with it, you know that is Arsenal’s style. So now it’s time to understand where we can boost the units, so that the team can improve and go to another level of performance. And I think there is another level, we have one more level.

“With me and Arteta talking, we find it, we believe that we have a level to improve in terms of performance. And now make a good transfer window, understand the need, to get right the athlete, the characteristics, the mentality of the athlete that we want, to once again raise the level of our squad.”

Ideally, Arsenal will get their main business done early allowing Arteta time on the training ground to test new ideas. Last year, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus were both embedded three weeks before the season began and the boss credits that as a factor for the club’s fast start.

Ahead of the Wolves match, Arteta said: “That certainly contributed to the team getting the right foundation, building the right chemistry and reaching the right level of comfort and security with the new players to give them a little bit of time to adapt to a new life in a new country and a new team.

“That happened in a natural way. We had some great players, but also some really good characters who grew into the team so quickly. We generated from the beginning while we want it and results help, which is crucial. Then we started to have good momentum.”

Arsenal carried that momentum all the way from August to April before injuries and nerves took a toll on form. The reaction to the Gunners’ late season stutter was typically over the top from some sections of the media. For all the noise, Edu says there is definitely a positive spin to put on the situation.

“Saying Arsenal ‘bottled’ is a word I wouldn’t use, we created our own frustration,” said the Brazilian.

“Nobody expected us to fight for the title. You being frustrated about not winning the title is a change of mind. It could even be considered, let’s say, positive, considering times ago. In the past, we celebrated the fourth place, the third. Today, we are frustrated with the second.

He continued: “It makes me think about some things, that the path we are tracing at the club is being positive. We cannot forget, we are in the Premier League, coming from a club that hd not entered the Champions League for seven years, fighting with the clubs we’re fighting, potential clubs from historic gaming powerhouses and financial powerhouses, too, and now putting Arsenal where they need to be.”

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Fair play to Edu, but I would argue that we have two levels to get to.

Premiership Champions and then Champions League Winners.

To get to either, we are going to need serious investment again this summer and recruitment of the players Arteta wants….in a ruthless and speedy fashion.

Johnny 4 Hats

I know it’s not easy for Edu. His job is very complex. But I really think we need to see him go out and get a massive player this window who clearly wants to join. Mudryk was absolutely desperate to come. Caicedo went on strike. But we couldn’t secure either (and yes, there are extenuating circumstances with both).  But now we find ourselves here again. Declan is clearly allowing these stories to come out. He likes us, likes Arteta, likes the project. We have to get him. Otherwise we become this club that players like but who don’t have the… Read more »

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I have a nasty feeling Man City will make a late swoop for Rice just to spite Arsenal.

Johnny 4 Hats

They might. But I wouldn’t want to go there.

Firstly, you only play 50% of games. Bar Rodri, the team is endlessly rotated.

Secondly, you have to let Pep work his magic on you which can take up to 2 years. Grealish, Ake, Aguero, Foden, and now Kalvin Phillips all had really slow starts under Pep.

Thirdly, how long is Pep going to stay after his treble?

And fourth, everyone knows they are cheating arse pricks that belong in league 2 for their crimes.

If I was a footballer, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that club right now.

A Different George

I think only someone totally immersed in an Arsenal echo-chamber could believe this. It’s pretty clear that Guardiola chooses players based on his own ideas, not to spite Arsenal or anyone else (it doesn’t hurt that he has immense financial resources to get those players). I assume he will want someone to replace Gundogan, and that may turn out to be Rice; if so, we have a lot to offer (and so do Man City). As others have pointed out, when you have a really good team (as we do), the number of players who are good enough to improve… Read more »

Bleeding Gums Murphy

What I don’t understand and I’m probably a bit ignorant but if the player wants to come then surely he says to city Chelsea United when contacted I want to go to arsenal. They withdraw as they don’t want a player who clearly is not on board otherwise you end up with mudryk at Chelsea situation and then west Han have to accept our offer.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, still to this day I don’t really get the Mudryk saga. I can’t help but feel Shakhtar must’ve had some sort of control over where he went. It looked like a fecking hostage situation when he signed for Chelsea and given that Arsenal pretty much matched their bid, I just don’t get it. Why didn’t Mudryk just say “screw you, I want Arsenal. You’re going to have to accept a slightly lesser bid” ? Weird. And he’s paying the price now. He’s gone from a club with champions league football to a club that were about 3 weeks away… Read more »

Emi Rates

I’d like to take the opportunity to wish Mudryk a long and mediocre stay at his chosen club. With more money pumped in, let’s for the sake of it say another 500-600 mil (give or take), on more underachieving dross they might be able to break into the number ten sphere. Maybe even qualify for the Europa Conference League? Perhaps another European sub-league could be created just for them if they miss the number seven spot? Imagine playing number eight teams from the solid leagues of Latvia, Azerbaijan and virtually unknown tax havens like Fuckwitschtein (population 36 plus Rees-Moog). His… Read more »

Eric Blair

I guess he wants to leave West Ham to enhance his career, not stick around and waste his ability at a lower end London club and end up with the square root of all. If only, say, Man City offer what West Ham deems sufficient then he will have no choice, it’s Man City or nothing. Of course he could wait a year for a free transfer and perhaps if his heart is set on Arsenal that is one way of doing it, maybe that’s why we’re sniffing around a short term signing like Gundogan. Gundogan and Caicedo this summer,… Read more »

A Different George

Well, there is money. Let’s say Rice wants to come to Arsenal but Man United offer much more money. What would you do?


If the selling club don’t acept our offer then the players choice is stay where you are or go to Chelsea or Manure… ?


It seems clear Rice wants us, and I take Hats’ point about becoming an EOW player (”every other week’) at Citeh. What I fear is the Hammers playing us off against City’s filthy lucre and the price going ballistic.


We have never been a club that can’t attract the biggest names. It’s affording them which has been the problem. I could argue that Mudryk and Caicedo were attacted to Arsenal despite not cocming here. I think that’s clear. Attracting the big names is only part of signing a player.


Fair enough – but I also have a quiet sort of respect for the Mikedu (or should that be Gasparteta!) ‘steel’ which is we will make a generous offer, in a transparent, ethical way but do NOT try to milk us or hold guns to our heads… we ain’t buyin’ it.


We’re not chelsea, and I’m glad we’re not. I don’t care how good a player is, when they’re overpriced they’re not worth it.

Emi Rates

Anyone who chooses to play for Chelsea is a cunt.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I count three levels;

Premier League;
Champions League;
Invincibles part 2.

Let’s reach for the stars!


Champions league arguably easier to win than the prem. No need to out-perform City month after month.


It’s not always just about investment. That’s just stupid when everyone keeps saying oh we need investment, if that was the case Chelsea, spurs, utd all would be million miles ahead. There has to be some investment yes but more than that it’s about playing well together and winning


Next season will be massive for Arteta, Edu and everyone else at the club. We MUST go to the next level and actually win something big; if not the title then the Champions’ League. Another trophy-less season is just not acceptable. Playing great football for 75% of the season then collapsing at the end again should bring about the end of Arteta’s management.

We are Arsenal: we MUST be winners.

Funsho Patrick

No such pressure bro….our improvement has been exponential in the past two seasons…eke out another 10% from this squad and it’s an additional 10 points next season plus a run at the champions League….. We’ll be fine…..we trust the process…. we’re not bottlers…just overachievers


Good grief man. I get some of your sentiment but this is just stupid.


You never fail to deliver. It’s just always twaddle.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

By your standards fats United would have sacked fergie and Liverpool would have sacked Klopp


I suppose you’re right.

I just hope we can manage to finish 4th for the next 10 seasons and as usual do nothing in the Champions League. After all: we’re just little old Arsenal. We don’t have a right to actually win big trophies.

I hope Arteta stays for ever.


If we got to the semis of the Champions League, won the FA Cup, and ran City close again in the league would you consider that a successful season? Genuinely interested (others too).
I personally would say yes. Sadly we’re in the Man City era right now. Pep + unlimited budget + an already very strong squad of players = a nearly insurmountable challenge. We’ve just gotta be ready to capitalise once he moves on and make sure he next era is an arsenal one. Maybe you see that as defeatist but I think it’s just realistic.


It’s real hard to win all of these competitions now. I think the main thing is to be up there competing and doing it consistently.

If we can win something better still. If we are in the fight that should happen sooner or later, the better we get the more it will happen.

A Different George

I think success in the era of nation-state clubs means something like this for Arsenal: almost always in Europe, usually Champions League and regularly past the group stage, the FA Cup final or better every few years, and a real title challenge once in a while, which might or might not succeed. I know that sounds a lot more modest than “we are the Arsenal” rhetoric. But other people say “we are Liverpool” or “we are Man United”–and Newcastle and Man City say “how much? No problem.”

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Your extreme entitlement opinions belies a weak mentality. No one is entitled to anything in life.


Fats will still post this comment next season even if Arsenal have the title sewn up in March and loses the CL final to a combined 11 of Real, Napoli, Inter, City and Bayern.
Are you the angry man on tweeter?

Eric Blair

I hate to break it to you mate, but we’ve never been perennial champions. We have phases where we have a great team and pick up a few trophies, followed by some fallow years. We’re not Real Madrid where we expect the CL every season and if we don’t we sack the manager and start again. To be honest, I like it that way. Imagine only being satisfied by a positive score line in the 90th minute of the last game of the season? Sounds boring to me. It’s like going out for a night and the only acceptable outcome… Read more »


Fatgooner, I will be very happy, no over the moon next season if: Arsenal play their exciting, attacking football again, and the fan connection Arteta has restored continues next season Arsenal compete for top 3 in the PL, and reach the quarters of the CL Arsenal WIN the FA cup and/or even the Carabao cup. A trophy’s a trophy, and winning (one of) these cups could be a perfect stepping stone for those higher level goals later. But stop dreaming about the PL or the CL next season, it’s just not going to happen YET. And stop demanding success. Demanding… Read more »


Hey fatgooner, you should be Chelsea chairman, would suit you down to the ground.


As a supporter, I just want us all to remember that no two seasons are the same. There will be ups and downs next year too and we have to help the team when they’re down too. I mean these guys deserve it, they’re good lads doing their best. That’s all we can ask of them really.

Greg in Seattle

Not only are they good lads doing their best, they are doing it with a style and approach that is a freaking joy to watch.


When you look at the plan MA and Edu had for the club it was improvement and qualification for the Champions League. You would have to say that the disappointment of not winning the league aside, we are way ahead of schedule. Whether this translates to going closer or actually winning it next season remains to be seen but I don’t think next season is a do or die season for MA at all. Catching a team like Man City is no easy feat but with the right signings and learning from our mistakes we will get there. Lets end… Read more »


Hopefully that level is a step forward and not making more convenient signings of other teams’ geriatric midfielders

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Jorginho has certainly improved our squad and we won more points with him than we would have with retaining Lokonga.

Obviously we missed out on Douglas Luiz last summer and Caicedo in January, but you can’t expect us to sign every single player we bid for.


What I’m saying is that edu needs to have a deeper list of alternatives to add competition to a position we’ve been lacking depth at since last summer instead of making a mockery of his own professed transfer strategy.

Greg in Seattle

The opportunistic moves for Trossard and Jorginho when both were deemed surplus at their clubs were absolutely brilliant. Ready-made adds to a title run with no adjustment period required.

I appreciate that they are not just after talent, but also mentality monsters with focus and drive. This is one reason I am a little worried about how ESR is viewed.


How on earth do you know how long Edu’s list is? Hacked his phone?


How long will it be before Arteta and co’s project will be complete? He is entering his 4th season and has an FA cup to his name. What if we win nothing next season despite spending a tonne of money again? Are we to be satisfied by coming close, whilst playing good football 75% of the time? There has to be a time limit. Who knows, even Arteta might decide to leave himself if he thinks the job will never be completed. Not everyone will succeed at the most important aspect of sports. Winning actual trophies.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

There’s really no such thing as a complete project in football.

Arteta has improved us significantly and with the age profile of the squad we’re looking good to compete for the next few years.

It took Alex Ferguson 7 years to win his first league with United, they then won 13 leagues in 20 years.


Fine, splash out on the finest lineup of 30 yr olds money can buy, if that’s your idea of a project.


Rice £100m
Caicedo £100m
Cancelo for Tierney (I know)
Harry Kane £100m (I know, I know)

Balogun sold £30m
Holding £15m
Nelson £25m
Xhaka £15m
Partey £25m
Pepe £20m
Patino/Various Kids/Tavarez/Sambi £20m total

Total outlay £150m, variety and strength across all positions.

What’s the problem Edu? 😉


Problem is on our bench, withou injuries on the pitch we’d be fine.


Bearing in mind Arsenal are 8 points adrift on 81 points they need to go up 2 levels. Most years you need about 100 points to beat City, so this year they have dropped off a bit.

Red Arrow

Our amplifier can go to 11!


Edu has a huge job ahead this summer. Finding the extra quality we need, adding sufficient depth that Mikel can trust and selling. We all know the extra quality is going to be expensive. The pool of players will be smaller and the competition stiffer. We won’t get all of our 1st choice targets. Sufficient depth will need to come with shrewd buys, much like this winter window. Adding this will be important to allow rotation and insulate when injuries occur. Selling will be an important aspect of this window. We have a lot of players to move, more than… Read more »

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