“That gap has to be closed” Arteta sends a message to the Arsenal board

Mikel Arteta became Arsenal’s manager late last year after the Gunners made a poor start to the season under Unai Emery.

The Spaniard walked into a huge rebuilding job even though Arsenal has already spent over £100 million in the summer on the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney.

Despite their summer business, Arsenal has fallen behind the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

Manchester United and Chelsea have also been strengthening their team lately, and next season’s title and top four battle promises to be one of the most competitive in recent seasons.

Arteta has urged the Gunners to close the gap on their rivals after name-checking the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Wolves and Leicester City who are strengthening their team.

He said as quoted by The Sun: “It looks like (Liverpool and Man City) at the moment and what happened in the table for the last two or three years suggests that.

“But things change very quickly. Look how Liverpool have evolved in the last four or five years.

“Man United as well is looking really strong at the moment.

“They are making a lot of good decisions. Leicester the same, Wolves with the season they are having.

“It’s going to be a challenge but that gap has to be closed.

“For us, the margin that we have for improvement is still very, very big.

“We don’t know how the market is going to be. We are pulling different plans together to see what we are going to be able to do.

“At the moment the uncertainty is still big. The way we are going to finish the season will dictate a lot of things financially as well.

“We have to be a bit patient and see what happens. We’re seeing different things.

“The way Chelsea is dealing with the market is different to the rest at the moment, but Bayern Munich are also being really aggressive.

“If you ask me, we cannot be a team that has to sell its best player to try to bring in and improve our squad, that’s for sure.”

Arteta has signed Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares since he joined the Gunners and he will look to add more quality players to his team this summer.

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  1. With respect to Arteta, the gap will not be closed by bringing in the likes of Mari, Soares and Luis but in the development of Saka, Martinelli,Willock,ESR etc allied to a quality DM and CB.

    1. With respect, I suspect Arteta has a far better grasp on the quality of Mari, Soares and Luiz than you do. Luiz’s career has been exceptional by the way with very few mistakes leading to goals prior to his joining us. There is narrative with Luiz that doesn’t add up if you look through his time with both Chelsea and PSG he very rarely made mistakes leading to goals. It was classic talking fodder for pundits who can’t hack it in the actual managerial world like Neville or Souness but bank on saying popular quotable things. Mari is an unknown quality and Soares is proven at a decent level not kick on special but proven and trusted. Obviously we need more but Arteta has said as much too.

      1. lmao, are you for real? His whole career he has been known as a better distributor of the ball than defender? You haven’t watched much EPL if you dont see the mistakes Daivd Luiz has made for Chelsea. He lacks concentration at many moments and if he didnt play next to world class players like Terry all the time he’d be a joke, just like he is for Brazil.

    2. We have always been poor on the market, always rushing for cheap and some injured players that has costed the team alot.we have been also manipulated by agents who sale us fake players .Hope we will get it right this time

      1. Always?
        Vieira, Anelka, Overmars, Petit?
        Sanchez, Cazorla, Ozil?

        Come on.

        OK, so in recent years, we have had fewer successes and more failures, but ‘always’ – really??

        PRetty sure most clubs in Europe wish they’d signed Martinelli, even if not Pepe at the moment……….

        1. No one in Europe would pay more than 40 mil for Martinelli pre-corona. We obviously wouldn’t sell for that so we were guaranteed to keep him. They are all watching to see how does with an extended run in the highly competitive football which hasn’t happened yet.

          I said lesser leagues so Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez coming from La Liga are bad examples especially as Ozil/Sanchez came from Real/Barca. Anelka/Overmars did hit insane levels although Overmars was 24 (at a time when scouting was poor enough for him to slip the net.) Still exceptions not rules. Ronaldo’s 1st season with united resulted in just 4 goals. Can’t find the assists as this stat has been buried in simple searching for some reason (used to be able to find it instantly.)

          1. To add further Uniteds record goalscorer Rooney scored 11 in his 1st year. Henry our record goalscorer scored 17 which is good but not the twenty fans require (after a massive drought where it was common for most fans to proclaim he couldn’t hit a barn door.) Giroud hit 16 twice in his career, 1st in his 2nd season where it was declared he wasn’t a 20 goal a season man. Point is, it is rare that people hit the ground running, its why United are so lucky they got Fernandes because that doesnt normally happen. They also paid 80mil for Maguire who is still struggling now (at fault for goals last game that they won.)

          2. Final argument Reyes had a better 1st season than Ronaldo and we were at that point happy we’d missed out.

    3. “..allied to a quality DM and CB…”
      I guess that’s the gap-closing Arteta is talking about. Budding home grown talent must be done alongside with acquiring established quality to make a good balance.
      And I dare say I don’t understand our club’s philosophy of “qualify for Europe and spend”. I think it should be the other way around. If we don’t spend to strengthen that team, we will fall further back next season. Arteta can’t be expected to perform any miracles

  2. Perhaps spending money wisely would be more suitable. The club has spent money, but on the wrong quality player.
    35 million for Mustafi, 18 million I think for Sokratis, and 8 million on Luiz. Perhaps using it for a top CB rather than a scattershot approach would have worked better.
    We need to identify players to improve us, which we’ve been poor at doing overall.

    1. Those were years apart and the Sokratis one is way higher than reality it was around 10 mil.

      Go look up what City have spent on CB’s since Mustafi signed and compare multiple 40 mil + some who never made any impact at all, some like Stones who played but haven’t kicked on. 35 mil for mustafi was average at best not large spending. Laporte there only true quality cost 65 mil euro and there were almost certainly performance related fees too and they spent more than mustafi on at least if memory serves 3 other cbs. Stones/Otamedi/the guy that failed completely and without looking it up there might be more.

      1. Not saying are CB policy has been great, obviously but the idea Mustafi was a major outlay is so false it does wind me up. There is well in to double figures CB’s who cost more to rivals with only Laporte/VVD really excelling both of which cost double.

      2. My point was look at the amounts wasted on those CB’s. Sokratis cost to us was around 18 million and Sven wanted Diallo instead. Don’t need to spend a ton, just need to properly identify talented players.
        Personally big mistake ousting Sven and trusting in Raul. Based on Sven’s comments, he may have a good point.

        1. I agree just when it’s in context that we never spent much money on CB’s at all. Less concerned with Sven because what id of seen has been smart moves since.

        2. Also you miss the fact that City have wasted way more on CB’s than us. It’s an important fact.

        3. well said, Sokratis was such a bad buy and made mislintat look bad. It’s about clever scouting if Arsenal cannot afford the very thin pool of top defenders in Europe. Going for a cheap, lazy option like Sokratis, and David Luiz are what has doomed us these past few seasons. A move for someone like Saliba was much much better.

          1. I’d argue Sokratis did exactly what was on the tin. Wasn’t particularly clever but it wasn’t particularly bad just as advertised and worked out as such. No big upside but did a job. No one was claiming Dortmund were struggling or lacked ambition when he played week in week out there on these forums.

            The fact fans can ignore Saka directly stating Luiz’s influence on him (in his contract signing) always staggers me. You wanted him to sign but ignore his comments on Luiz because they don’t fit your views on things. Very similar to how fans used complain that Arteta was captain when everything you heard from the team was he was practically a coach already. Why I have faith in him now and faith in Luiz given both Saka’s and Arteta’s comments on him never mind his exceptional defensive record at Chelsea/Psg and his multiple Mustafi+ transfer fees.

  3. Arsenal are unlikely to have considerable funds to strenghthen the squad this window. Given that if the gap is to be closed then we’d have to primarily rely on nurturing existing talent and place an inordinate amount of focus on the coaching tactics being deployed.

    On a position by position basis though, below are my views

    Goalkeeper – Leno and Martinez should suffice
    Left back – While Tierney is great, we can look to replace kolasinac (especially considering his current wages)
    Right back – while there are rumours linking bellerin with an exit, it’s likely that we’ll have to spend a significant amount to replace him. Given that, I find it unlikely that we’ll sell him. Meanwhile, Soares is an adequate back up
    Centre back- While everyone’s been crying for additional recruits, I find it unlikely. We’ll definitely be having Saliba, Mari, Holding and Luiz in the squad next season. Given the game time Mustafi has been getting, his departure also seems unlikely. Not quite sure about Chambers, but the only realistic departure seems to be Sokratis. Given that we already have 5-6 senior defenders.
    CDM – this is where I’m hoping we spend some money. Partley would be the perfect addition. Luiz and Chambers can also play well in this position. They can deputize whenever needed
    CM- I’m hoping we extend ceballos’s loan. He’s been playing well. Shows grit and is creative. Xhaka also seems to have made a place in Aretas team (though I’m not the biggest fan). Guendouzi, Willock and ESR should be are sufficient as back up. This would leave scope got generating funds by selling torreira. I’m also. Hoping that we’re able to get rid of Ozil. He’s been draining resources at arsenal while offering little value.
    LW – Saka and Martinelli should be played here for now. While I’d like if a senior player is recruited, it’s important that the youngsters get a good amount of game time to aid in their development
    RW- with more time to acclimatize to the Premier league, pepe is sure to get better next season. Nelson has also shown moments of promise
    Striker – I hope we extend Aubameyangs contract. 250k salary and a 3 year contract (as is being reported as his demand) should be offered to him. Nketieh should be given game time as well. This means lacazette should be dispensable, plus funds generated from his sale would be desperately needed.

    Let’s hope we finish the season on a high and get much better next season. COYG

    1. Good analysis. CDM and CM are where I also expect most of our funds to go. CB, although we are all crying out for one, is unlikely to happen unless there is MAJOR movement. That means Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding all getting good offers and moving on. And unsure Mustafi and Holding will want to be let go just yet so that leaves us sorted next season in terms of CB’s. A shame because ask Arsenal fans and not a single CB we have is reliable. The extension of David Luiz’s contract, and purchase of Pablo Mari for me makes it clear Arteta likes what he has for CB. I think these two decisions will come back to bite us. At least DL is just one year, but all I see Mari as is future deadwood.

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