To get you started, we’ve got some stuff from Mikel Arteta. In a long interview with the official sitereflects on the season, what went well, where we went wrong, etc., and sums it up at the end like this:
I think we’re at a point in our journey where we’ve built a lot. We have a great foundation and have become really competitive, but now I think it’s time to hit the reset button and start over.
We have to be faster, more determined and ruthless because the dimension that is opening up now is bigger, but the margins are really small, so we have to be really smart.
Our goal at the beginning of this season was to secure football in the Champions League and we did. Of course, expectations change when you do what we do, but in the end, we just didn’t have enough depth to cross the line. They will be the focus of this summer.
We all want improvement, and that will be difficult. It’s not impossible or anything like that, but it’s going to be much harder to improve the season we finished 2nd compared to the season we finished 5th. Margins are thin, he says, so what we do in the transfer market this summer will be crucial to that.
When he talks about being ruthless, I think he means making decisions about current players. Some will be sold to generate funds to reinvest in different players, I think that’s a given. Maybe it also talks about how we buy. It’s a very competitive market when you’re a Premier League club because of how much money is pouring in – especially compared to other countries.
I think we will see a lot of big deals between English clubs. We are already being linked with players from West Ham and Brighton and we know that Arteta values Premier League experience when it comes to recruiting. No doubt we’ll be keeping an eye on a few players trading overseas, and I’m expecting some Tomiyasu-style transfers to bolster the squad. In January, we already brought Jakub Kiwior, and it was very similar to a postponed summer transfer. I think there may be such a couple among a few bigger names.
The output aspect of this will be fascinating. In some cases, you can see that this is obviously the right moment for the player to move on. I’m preemptively sad for Emile Smith Rowe and I hope things can turn around for him because he’s such an exciting player to watch when he’s fit. But you’re looking at the roster right now, reading the rumors circulating and wondering how Edu and co will handle the sheer number of departures.
Sales has not been a strong point in recent years. Some of it is understandable given the players we tried to transfer and the deals they made – sometimes the legacy of our Champions League stature – but Arsenal are now an uphill club. The tide raises all the boats and so on so it will be very interesting to see what we bring for Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Smith Rowe (if he’s on that boat), Flo Balogun, Charlie Patino, Nuno Tavares, Nicolas Pepe, Cedric, Albert Sambi Lokonga and maybe one or two others who were linked to other clubs. It’s a big boat.
When Arteta talks about being smart, I look at the reported interest in Mason Mount and wonder how it fits. I think he’s looking at Mason Mount, who scored 13 goals and recorded 16 assists for Chelsea in 2021-22, not the one who delivered much less this season. Judging a player based on what he has done at Stamford Bridge this year is probably not a fair reflection, but the old football saying that you are only as good as your last game comes to mind. It would be expensive, and according to David Ornstein, he’s leaning towards Man United anyway, but how exactly Arsenal will replace Xhaka will be a key part of next season’s puzzle.
If not Mount, I don’t think Gundogan either. Could it be Declan Rice with someone else, or maybe Thomas Partey still in a deeper role? I suspect that mobility is an asset we are looking for in this position. Another from left field, as long as you can make it while trying to fill one of the most important roles on your team, wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
It’s all ahead of us in a busy summer schedule. Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale will play for England until June 19. There will also be others with international commitments, including some players we are trying to buy. Will it affect our ability to make deals if they go to their countries? let’s see!
Anyway, we’ll talk about transfers and more in tomorrow’s Arsecast, join us – and we’ll have all the news on the news all day long News from Arseblog.
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