Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal need to “reset” after a difficult start to the season, but insists the club’s transfer policy is something everybody at the club “believes in”.
The Gunners have got off to the worst possible start this season, losing their opening three league games by an aggregate score of 9-0. A thumping win over West Brom in the Carabao Cup has done little to lift spirits at the club, with a disgruntled fanbase left seething by the performance put in during a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City just before the international break.
Arteta’s hand was weakened that day by injuries and illness, but the club have confirmed that key personnel will be back for the game against Daniel Farke’s Norwich – who have also got off to an appalling start after promotion back to the top flight – including Thomas Partey and Ben White.
There is obvious room for improvement on the field but there has plenty of dissection and analysis of Arsenal’s transfer business off it. The club forked out over £140m in transfer fees – more than any other Premier League club – with emphasis put on signing players with re-sale value in the future and time to develop and improve.
That policy, among other things, was something Arteta addressed in his latest pre-match press conference. Here’s what the beleaguered Arsenal head coach had to say.
“We have tried to explain the project and the decisions that we have made over the last few months in the transfer window,” Arteta said.
“The amount of changes that we’ve had in two or three years is almost 30 players. Edu explained it like I’ve tried to explain it. We have all participated, trying to create and build this project obviously led by the owners. It is a project that we believe in, that we have to assemble.
“It was the option that we believe is best for the future of the football club. We all take responsibility because we were all involved in the decision. Now we have to make it work. The complexity in football is that you want to build a medium, long-term project with immediate results.
“And we have to embrace that because there is no other way in football, you’re going to have to have results and we are ready to do that.”
“I am really looking forward to having everybody available and trying to start the season the way we want,” Arteta added.
“We don’t want to use any excuses but we know how difficult the start was with injuries and a lot of covid issues we had, and extremely difficult games to play. We have to reset now, we need to start and hopefully get everybody back on track, and start to improve our game, which is what we have to do.”
“It always is at Arsenal. The pressure is always there to be as high as possible in the league table.
“We need that first win. We’re playing in front of our fans after a disappointing start so it is down to us to provide everything that we have performance-wise, to gain a result at the end.”
“We need a work permit first, the club is trying to hard achieve that in the next couple of hours. He is back in the country right now and I will meet him for the first time today probably and train with him.
“He’s been playing so he should be completely fit and yeah, we’ve been impressed so that’s the reason why we signed him.
“He has got the capacity to play in any position in the back four. He has done it all across the back four and in a back three as well. He gives us versatility, he gives us different qualities in that right-back position.
“He’s a player that we’ve followed for a long time and he brings qualities that we didn’t have in the squad.”