Mikel Arteta appeared to claim that the best players in the world still want to join Arsenal despite their recent struggles, but he must prove that is the case
Arsenal are currently in their fifth season without Champions League football and have finished in eighth place over the last two Premier League campaigns.
But that doesn’t appear to have dampened the Spaniard’s spirits on his overall outlook of the club.
Arteta splurged a whopping £150m over the summer to put his side back in contention to finish in the top four, showing exactly the ambition the club has needed since Arsene Wenger hung up his sleeping bag coat.
Snapping up two of the most exciting English talents in Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale was a costly but purposeful move.
While managing to get Martin Odegaard not to settle for a place on the Real Madrid bench must have taken some real persuasion.
But that’s exactly what Arteta has done, and it appears that he believes the shine around the Emirates Stadium has not disappeared as much as many think it has.
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“Historically this club has always been targeting the best players in the world and the best players in the world are always interested to come here and I can say that situation hasn’t changed,” he said.
“Any time I have spoken to any player, they were so willing to come. I haven’t faced any other situation and that’s one of our biggest powers, our capacity to get the attention of people to come and join our club; it’s something that is a big advantage for us.”
So if Arteta is so bold as to think he can still attract top names – the proof is in the pudding.
At the very top of his shopping list must be a striker, and a world-class one at that, to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The ex-club captain’s absence has not been felt as much as many expected, but Alexandre Lacazette is out of contract at the end of the season, and waiting to see if a 30-year-old recent outcast renews is not the sort of ambitious play Arteta has been talking about.
Dusan Vlahovic does not appear to be so keen on joining Arsenal, despite Arteta’s claims, but Alexander Isak would be a signing of true quality.
Meanwhile, in midfield Arsenal are looking incredibly light right now, and need to bring in one, if not two, fresh faces to hold down the fort.