Mikel Arteta is certainly not being subtle in his messaging.
Having warned his employers before the visit of Liverpool how much of a challenge it would be to emulate Jurgen Klopp’s achievements without spinal surgery to address Arsenal’s weaknesses down the middle of the park he was not about to let another opportunity pass by without hammering home his point.
Does it concern him that Arsenal may not have the funds to strengthen his hand next season, he was asked. “A big concern. You just have to see how they build those squads.
“There’s no magic. You need to improve the squad with quality, quality players. You need bigger squads to compete in this competition.”
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He shrugged. “There is a challenge.”
It has been a consistent theme of Arteta’s since before the Premier League resumed. The day before his side travelled to Manchester City and just after Chelsea had activated Timo Werner’s £53million release clause he warned “if we stand still that gap will become bigger and bigger”.
When the opportunity came up to talk transfers Arteta would emphasise the value of being aggressive in a winter that is expected to be subdued. Immediately after a statement win at Wolves he spoke about how his side didn’t have the ability to do what he wanted them to. On July 5 he spoke of a “very, very big” margin for improvement if the club invested.
Compare and contrast with Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s head of football. He has not spoken since Premier League football returned and his last public comments on transfers came at a fans’ forum in early May.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of movement,” he said of the summer window. “The feeling is that this crisis is going to bring a new normality.”
Inevitably it is not in his or Arsenal’s interests to project too much optimism, to indicate that there is untapped wealth at the Emirates. Equally the Gunners have not been acting like a club planning on spending big, preaching poverty to their own playing staff when they asked them to take a 12.5% pay cut. Still no other Premier League club has agreed anything more than a deferral.
KSE loaned Arsenal the money to redeem early the bonds issued for the building of the Emirates Stadium, meaning the club now owes money to ownership rather than financial institutions. The club insist that the decision was about funding the day-to-day running of an institution that lost any means of income for months and even now is without several crucial revenue streams.
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