Football

Arteta lining up summer targets for Arsenal with Gunners ‘planning everything’ for next window

The Spaniard admits work has already begun on identifying players that could be drafted into his ranks at Emirates Stadium

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal have already started planning for the summer transfer window, with the Gunners in the process of lining up potential targets.

Work over the winter saw the north London outfit trim their squad, with deadwood such as Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi cleared from the Emirates Stadium decks.

There is still much to do, with a 10th-place standing in the Premier League proving as much, but Arteta is confident that he and technical director Edu can make an ambitious club more “competitive”.

What has been said?

Arteta has told Sky Sports on the work being done heading towards another recruitment window: “We are planning everything for the summer, the same with the board, with [chief executive] Vinai [Venkatesham], with [non-executive director] Tim [Lewis], and with the owners.

“We are very clear on how we want to do it.

“When you have to change 10 or 12 things in one window [as in January] it’s a lot, and that has some consequences with what has happened in previous months and what is going to happen in the following months.

“We still have quite a lot of things to do, but we will get to the point, hopefully, where it’s just ticking off a few things and the stability is there, because you need that as well to be consistent and be competitive.”

What approach will Arsenal be taking?

The Gunners recognise that quality additions are required in order to raise collective standards.

Every effort will be made to land the right players that fit into Arteta’s system and toe the line when it comes to expected behaviour on and off the field.

Arsenal will, however, be careful not to block the path of those emerging out of a productive academy system, with great pride taken in an ability to keep bringing through the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

Arteta added: “It’s about doing things in the right moments, when they can shine, when they need protected and when they have the right players around them as well.

“It’s not about playing all the young players in every game, but we are putting a plan together, so they have space around the squad, space in the team, and we have the right flow between the players so they can become really important at the club. That path is being created.”

The bigger picture

Arsenal’s appeal to prospective additions will increase if they have continental football on the agenda next season, with avenues to Europe still open in 2021.

A top-six finish is there to be shot at, while progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League – where they will face Slavia Prague – means major silverware and qualification for the Champions League is still up for grabs.

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