Arteta: ‘Arsenal will only sign the top players’

Boss defends inactivity in the January transfer window

Thursday, 10th February — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta IMG_7781 (1)

MIKEL Arteta has defended Arsenal’s underwhelming January transfer activity, insisting the club will only splash the cash on “the best players”.

With no new incomings arriving in time to boost the Gunners’ bid for a top-four finish, and Pierre-Emerick Aubame­yang allowed to join Barcelona on a free transfer, it could be argued that Arsenal actually ended the window weaker.

Arteta (above) now has to rely on an attack led by either Alexandre Lacazette, who has scored three times in the Premier League so far this season, or Eddie Nketiah, whose four brief appearances off the bench have produced zero league goals.

Sticking to the somewhat overused mantra of “trusting the players” that he already has at his disposal, Arteta maintains that he and technical director Edu went into January with “a very clear plan”.

The Arsenal boss said: “We did what we believed was the right thing to do, first of all with the players that we had to let leave.

“The squad composition and the contract situations were catching up in many of those situations and we had to make decisions and be fair as well with players who have not had a lot of minutes this season.

“Edu and his team did a fantastic job and they continue to do that, but we are very clear: we only want the best people and the best players at this club, and when we are in a rush or there are different pressures – and the reasons are not the right ones to get a player onboard – we decided not to do it.

“Again, when we have to replace or improve the squad, it can only be with a player that we are certain of. First of all, that they’re the right person and the right character to join, and then they’re a player with the quality to straight away impact the performance of the team and our capacity to build a future around him as well.”

Having swapped warm-weather training in Dubai for what promises to be a tough trip to Wolves tonight (Thursday), Arteta says his squad has returned from the Middle East ready to “have a real go” for the remainder of the season. He added: “I trust the players, the quality that we have, the spirit, the togetherness that we have around the team and that we can achieve what we want.

“We are going to need a high level of performances, we’ll need our supporters onboard – that will be so key – and we are going to have a real go. But again, we can only go game by game.”

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