Mikel Arteta wouldn’t be drawn on the recruitment of David Raya in his first press conference of the new Premier League season but the Spaniard’s loan deal from Brentford is expected to be confirmed before the end of the day.
The 27-year-old’s arrival will be the fourth addition to the first team squad this summer, but will he be the last? That’s the question that was put to the manager in advance of his team’s season opener against Nottingham Forest.
“At the moment we are not planning on doing anything but the window is very unpredictable, things can happen, things that probably we don’t wish, so at the moment we are happy with what we’ve got,” he said.
Quite what he means by “things that probably we don’t wish” is unclear, but possibly it’s unforeseen injuries.
It’s no secret that Arsenal are trying to shift a number of fringe players before the transfer window shuts on 1st September.
Nicolas Pepe, Cedric Soares, Alex Runarsson, Arthur Okonkwo, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney, Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Marquinhos and Folarin Balogun could all depart in some form or another.
If any of the above end up sticking around – most likely Holding and Tierney – Arteta admits it’s up to him to make them, and other players who aren’t playing every week, feel valued. He also wants to create an environment where everyone is thinking about the team first and foremost.
“I think you have to treat everybody the same, and that’s important,” he said.
“You have to make them important and in order to do that, they have to play football matches. Football is a collective sport and only 11 players play, and then there are another 11 players most of the time that are not happy with the situation. It’s how we deal with that, and how they accept their role because it’s going to change.
“Every three days we’ll have a game and that’s going to change, and it’ll tell you a lot about the human being and the professional – when you are playing and when you are not, what is your actual contribution to the team? Whether it is not to play at all, or play when is needed to help the team win games.
“Then we want players that have that feeling that they are happy when the team wins, because it is a team sport and that’s where we have to be.”
🗣️ “In football, it’s a collective sport and only 11 players play and there’s another 11 players most of the time. They are not happy with the situation – It’s how they deal with that.”
Mikel Arteta on the added depth in Arsenal’s team and how he keeps everyone happy. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/5pHYL6HN63
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 11, 2023