Mikel Arteta is preparing his Arsenal side to take on the League Champions (and current European Champions) at the Emirates this evening, and after our disappointing defeat to a weak Tottenham side in midweek, there are not many people that fancy our chances.
But, inevitably, Mikel Arteta was asked about Liverpool’s success and the way that the Gunners have now dropped out of Champions League contention for four years in a row now. He was asked by the Mail how hard it now is for Arsenal to regain their place in at the top table, and he replied: “Harder and harder because that’s obviously something that has to feed each other. If you are not in the Champions League and you say “OK, I don’t invest because I don’t have the financial ability to do it”, but the other clubs invest, then the gap becomes bigger.
‘If I do want to invest and risk, and then I don’t reach it, what happens? So at some stage you have to make a decision, whether I want to aim to make that gap closer and go for it, or I stay where I am.
‘You see many good examples of teams that have done it [risked] and they have come back to their habit [of being in the Champions League].
‘While I am sitting in this chair I’m not [stopping seeing Arsenal as a Champions League club], because that’s the only thing that I think of this football club.’
‘Then, at the end of the season is, OK, see the direction we want to take, agree on the ambition of the football club, realise that where we are the demands are going to be huge – it doesn’t matter what we do, that’s never going to change because it’s linked to our history and our success – and move from there.
‘Put our plans together where we can achieve that as quick as possible.’
So, Mikel clearly wants to see some real risk taking by the Arsenal owner and to invest in the summer transfer window to try and reduce that gap quickly. It will be interesting to see if succeeds in that quest. If one thing is certain, it is that Arsenal need to ‘speculate to accumulate’, which is surely the whole point of Stan Kroenke?