Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hinted he foresees another busy summer for the club in the transfer market as they will almost certainly be back in Europe next season. The Gunners missed out on continental football for the first time in 25 years last season but are close to returning to the European stage.
The club spent over £100million last summer buying Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard as Arsenal invested in youth without any of their summer acquisitions over 24 years old. The strategy paid off with Arteta’s side currently fifth in the Premier League table, level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham, one game less.
Regardless of whether Arsenal qualify for the Champions League or Europa League, they will need a bigger squad to compete at domestic and European level. Balancing a return to continental competition with their improved form in the league will be by Arteta next challenge; but the Gunners boss is confident he will receive the necessary funds to do so.
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When asked if he foresees another busy summer in terms of player recruitment, Arteta said: “I expect that, yes. I think both competitions [the Champions League and Europa League] require a much larger team because the number of games you play is much larger in both of them, so I don’t think [which you qualify for] makes a big difference or changes a lot.
“If you can afford it financially and we don’t have to do the squad turnover that we had to do, if you ask me what I want is 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers. You have to go a long way in the aspects you see on the ground, there are a lot of things to put in place, and it takes time.
Arsenal’s hopes of a first top four finish since the 2015/16 season have been dashed this week due to injuries to key duo Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney. The Gunners allowed a host of players to leave the club in January, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Calum Chambers and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but did not sign any replacements.
However, Arteta doesn’t regret the decision to allow the players to leave the Emirates in the latest transfer window. And suggested that even if they had stayed with the Gunners they were unlikely to feature.
“They were players we weren’t really using. And you put them in context now, I don’t know how many they would have played. You don’t know, I don’t know.” .
“We made a decision on what we thought was the right thing to do for the team and for individual players who were asking for the opportunity to play football because they hadn’t had minutes for several months. “