Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arteta: Great clubs don’t worry about upgrading players

Mikel Arteta says great clubs don’t worry about making personnel changes as it’s part of a constant cycle of improvement.

Since taking over as head coach at Emirates Stadium in December 2019, the Spaniard hasn’t been afraid to marginalise and move on players if he feels they drop short of the required standards or don’t fit with his philosophy.

Some have left through the front door, like Granit Xhaka this summer, others have been unceremoniously dumped via pay-offs or sent on repeated loans until their contracts run out.

He makes no apologies for being so ruthless and recognises that he’s as at risk as anyone else.

“You look at the great clubs, they might have a decent side but they won’t worry about getting in better players to keep improving,” he told his pre-Community Shield press conference.

“That’s what we have to do. We have to try to be better and if the margins that we have within the squad we believe are not enough, or we cannot keep improving, then we have to look somewhere else to try to make that. But that goes to every individual, and the first one is myself.”

Having enjoyed a thrilling campaign last time out, one that far exceeded initial expectations but ultimately left all concerned disappointed, Arsenal now face increased expectations, especially having dropped another £200 million on new recruits.

Arteta says he and his players need to tackle that head-on.

“When you do better, the expectations will be higher and as well the way we have recruited. I think it takes that and not only the position, but the team, the way the team was playing and the performances that we’re putting on the pitch and the environment that it was created around the club, I think promotes that [more expectations].

“But we need to be very clear that what happened last season means nothing, you know, that we have to start now the season in the best possible way and earn the right again and try to build that momentum.

“For sure [we should enjoy those expectations] because this is where we want to move the club.

“We have to be able to enjoy and promote and then grab the opportunity that we have in front of us with a lot of motivation and desire to try to accomplish everything that we want to do.”

There’s a lot resting on young shoulders – the Gunners will again have one of the youngest squads in the league this season – and Arteta is expecting new leaders to emerge to fill the vacuum left by Xhaka.

He said: “We have to promote leadership from other areas and there are very young players there as well that now they’ve been with us for a while and they have to start to look forward and take initiative and go another step further because that’s going to be needed for sure.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

While I agree with him, I think the need to upgrade in attacking cover is more pressing. Kudus is about to join Brighton for 35m. We know how good Brighton’s recruitment is. And this is a guy who can play right across the front three. GJ’s injury woes are probably not going away and, as good as Trossard is, that’s not a viable 15 games a season option. Let’s sneak this Kudus deal and wait for Raya. I know we won’t. And I know I know nothing. But that’s what I’d be looking at. Raya is free in 12 months.… Read more »

Larry mccarthy

Kudus a goal every four games and plays most of his games in midfield and sometimes on the wing.Good player but not what we need

Johnny 4 Hats

I’ve watched over 1 minute 40 of Kudus on YouTube so I think I can make up my own mind thanks mate.

Funsho Patrick

I agree on getting him next season for free! Put the money to backing up saka especially…still don’t totally understand his plan for centre forward


Forwards are the most expensive players by far and we have just spend more than 200 mio on players. You can‘t become a team with top quality alternatives for all positions in 2-3 seasons when you’re coming from team with the likes of Mustafi, Kolsinac etc. We have fixed goalkeeper, defense and midfield over the last 2 seasons. Attackers will be on the list next summer. Until then we have Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard, Havertz, Nketiah, Nelson, Smith Rowe and Vieira who can play in several of the 3 forward positions. Don‘t exactly get where this „oh my god, we… Read more »


Imagine Ramsdale does his ACL or shoulder in September. That vulnerability is why we must upgrade on Turner. Otherwise is it like when Saliba disappeared – we have no adequate replacement and can’t play our game. And if Raya is available, why not?




Goalkeepers are not really susceptible to ACL injuries, but I take your point. I’m just not that convinced by Raya.

For me Jesus seems a lot more fragile now he is being asked to play more games at Arsenal and I’d put money into a dedicated centre forward with Balogun not really committed.


What do you expect what kind of dedicated striker we are able to get for the 25-30 mio we‘re about to pay for Raya, when we want 50 Mio for Balogun who we consider not good enough? If you want a real alternative to Jesus or Saka, you have to pay a lot. And I don’t think we’re able to do that this summer after the Rice, Havertz and Timber deals. And I’m happy we’re not signing players anymore who aren‘t first or second choice but just affordable. I rather wait a season and then invest big in the additional… Read more »


Not £30m. The Balogun money, plus whatever you allocated for Ray, so more like £80


Maybe the Balogun money IS the money we‘re offering for Raya? Do you think we have endless cash reserves?

Santi’s Thigh Grab

This is the way.

Goldman Sack

very sensible, with outfield players we can make do with more than capable temporary covers


I like that you at least named a concrete player instead of the usual vague “but we need to upgrade up front” tirade. But I agree with Mr. McCarthy here that that isn’t the prolific goalscorer we need that would be a definitive upgrade over Eddie or Balogun or Trossard as 9. If we’re to spend a bunch of cash on a player there it needs to be a real upgrade, not just a shiny new toy that in a year will look just like the other toys

om suley

kudos to Brighton

Another Paul

You know nothing, John Snow

Johnny 4 Hats

But if I know that I know nothing, then I must know something.


I’ll stick to trusting Arteta thanks

Johnny 4 Hats

You’re trusting the Arsenal manager over me, a random bloke off the internet?

Reckless. I hope it works out for you man.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I’m with the general consensus on the replies – we lost the title last season due to the Saliba (and Tomi) injury. I don’t want to be sat here in 12 months saying we lost the title due to the ramsdale injury. With Kiwior and Timber we’re set in defence, and with Trossard and Havertz to add to Eddie we have decent cover up top – personally I trust nelson to be good cover for Saka and I think if push came to shove Jesus would be shifted right and we’d play trossard/Havertz/Eddie through the middle if Saka was crocked… Read more »


We gotta bring in a decent back up to Jesus if this statement is true. Eddie just isn’t going to cut it. He isn’t a top 4 striker.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

We have Eddie, trossard and Havertz (and possibly even ESR at false 9 which has been eluded to in the past) as back up. These are 3 or 4 varied options depending on the opponent – and Arteta has stated that he wants us to be unpredictable – so whilst we may not have a recognised back up that has the full faith of the crowd, we certainly have plenty of options and a flexible approach


I’ve always really liked the idea of ESR as a 9, i feel like he has all the attributes but he’s missing experience ar that position and I don’t know how he gets it without it being a massive gamble, even in the cups there’s always someone like Eddie you have to give minutes to. The fact we haven’t seen Smith-Rowe there this preseason suggests to me Artera might have given up on that idea…



Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I don’t think ESR is a realistic option at false 9 – but arteta made some comments about him that suggested he did. For me ESR is a player who excels at taking the ball on the half turn and progressing – this is more suited to 8/10. I don’t see him as someone who can play with his back to goal and protect the ball or collect it in difficult positions – all of which Jesus excels at (and is a necessary trait in a formation that looks for goals from the wide players as much as the striker)


“taking the ball on the half turn and progressing” that’s pretty classic behaviour of an Arsenal number 9. The other stuff you mention, I don’t think our strikers are usually required to do those things as much as traditional 9s. And to the extent they do I do think ESR can learn to do them, he certainly has the stature and body type for it, probably more so than Jesus. But for that he needs experience at that position, and like i said, no idea how he gets that.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I do sometimes wonder if these factors are why we haven’t seen ESR in the first team in the second half of the season when he was fit again (training for new positions this season). That said I don’t see what ESR being able to accomplish what jebus can – there’s natural aggression and fight in jebus that cannot be taught


that might be true… Jesus’ competitive fire is as good as you’ll find

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

It’s a very underrated quality – you can have all the quality in the world but it takes something extra to give you that edge (ozil vs odegaard)


p.s. you’re referring to “false 9” but you’re talking about the attributes of a real 9. A false 9 doesn’t need any of those attributes, Fabregas for example was a (very successful) false 9 at Barcelona and Spain. ESR can easily be a false 9, don’t think there’s any question about that, the question is whether he can be an actual striker, which is what Arteta hinted at last season and I think might have given up on.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I respectfully disagree about what is required from a false 9 in our system. Jebus receives a lot of speculative passes and he is very good at taking control – for me this is the step down when Eddie starts – Eddie does not have the same qualities with his back to goal, and whilst ESR has potential world class qualities in some areas, playing with his back to goal is not one that springs to mind for me


Jesus isn’t a false 9 though is he, pretty sure he’s an actual 9

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

For me he is not a traditional no.9 – he drops deep and plays more as a 10 than a 9 – firminhio played at 9 but I’d not call him a 9 or a 10 or a false 9 – he was a traditional 9 that brought others into play


So why not give Balogun a chance?


Money money money…

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

…Girls girls cash cash.
But yes, it is down to money. We see city and Chelsea making serious money from selling young assets at opportune moments – £50m+ per summer and rising from youth players. It is a healthy model if there are buyback options and sell on clauses involved

Naked Cygan

Enough talk. Let’s see some good stuff on the field.


I agree with arteta, this is a different arsenal now than the one we have been used to for all these years, the team will finally have 2 quality players for each position and no one player can test on his laurels and expect to stay in the starting 11 including ramsdale. Last year in the 2nd leg of the europa tie with sporting arteta ruthlessly dropped turner, o think that signalled that he didn’t fully trust him. I like turner but he is clearly not comfortable with his feet, going to Nottingham forest is good for him and I… Read more »

om suley

i just fucking love this philosophy. it echoes all of the successful organisations of recent history.

who honestly, at this point may year thought “if we don’t win the league this year it will be a disappointment” ?

it’s a big thing.


A Ramsdale injury is a crisis that will lead to a downgrade in a position that can send jitters throughout the squad like it did with Saliba last season at RCB. I was surprised by this move and the price at which it’s being discussed, but we are a serious club now. We’re building a squad that can compete for four trophies. I prefer getting used to this than wondering whether Chambers and Vermaelen can play in MF.


That last part makes the difference between the eras pretty glaring… amazing how far we’ve come.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I was thinking exactly the same – and I can remember clearly being part of that cohort who was like “Chambers is worth a try at DCM as we can’t do any worse”

Santi’s Thigh Grab

When you put it like that, I think my god how far we have traveled under this Manager. Arteta is of single minded focus in improving the levels of all positions every year. No one individual within the club is exempted from this scrutiny, every marginal gain is explored and analyzed. Supporters get attached to players, the Manager is focused on the club, no position is exempted from scrutiny. This is how you make a great club. Long may it continue.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

“Trust the process” became a bit of a meme at one stage when MA was paying serious money to release established players from their contracts. It was questionable and high risk behaviour – but I think he has earned a lot of credit for the outcomes and deserves our trust for what he has achieved in a short time (some would prefer to highlight that we “failed” to win the league last season and “bottled it”, that mindset is amusing to anyone who has any sense of perspective)


We need to go after Kudos. He’d be a great back up for Saka.


I don’t know what the kid does


There are some good tactical breakdowns out there from the likes of Arsenal vision and Goonertalk

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