MIKEL ARTETA asked Arsenal to back him in the transfer market — and the response has been a £128million spree.
But the Gunners manager bristles at any suggestion that splashing the cash — the biggest outlay by any Premier League club so far this summer — leaves him with no excuses.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is fired up on his return for the GunnersCredit: Getty
Ex-Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale is already in full training with Arsenal, having only joined on FridayCredit: Getty
Mikel Arteta insists his long-term rebuilding of Arsenal is on trackCredit: Getty
But he said: “You haven’t heard me once put up any excuse. Completely the opposite. Adapt and do the best.
“The thing is, what the expectation is and what the potential is. If that measure is level, then you are OK.
“If that measure is not level, you are never going to get anybody satisfied. It’s as simple as that.”
Spaniard Arteta was frustrated by the reaction to Arsenal’s 2-0 opening defeat at Brentford, when a Covid outbreak deprived him of strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette at short notice.
But the Gunners boss acknowledges that the club are giving him the tools he needs to revive their fortunes.
Arteta said: “We had a much better context this summer to work on what we wanted to do.
“The other windows and with everything that happened, there were difficulties in place.
New Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale reunites with England squad-mate Bukayo Saka during training at London ColneyCredit: Getty
“We are now trying everything that we discussed and everything that we are capable of doing.
“There are things that we are not capable of doing — the market has been really complicated.
“But we are still happy with what we have done.
“Most of all, I’m really happy with the club, the unity we have to make decisions and how focused we are on achieving what we believe is the right thing for the club — now and for the future.”
Their immediate future is a London derby today against Chelsea.
While Arsenal have spread their spending across five players in a bid to address the squad’s lack of quality and balance, the European champions splashed out an eye-watering £97.5m on just one man — returning striker Romelu Lukaku.
Premier League champions Manchester City still hope to sign Harry Kane and break the British transfer record they have just set by bringing in Jack Grealish for £100m.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka is focused on helping Arsenal improve on last season’s mediocre finish of eighth spotCredit: Getty
Arsenal are working in a different market as they try to bridge the gap and Arteta said: “We are trying to bring the players in that we can and that we can afford with the money. They can help us achieve what we want. But Chelsea will have a different plan.
“What I’m saying is that what we want to do with the club is bring it back to where it was.
“We are going to do that. The timing of it is a little bit more complicated than people think.
“But the only aim is to do that. The only aim tomorrow, and this season, and the following matches, is to win every single time and nothing else. Can we now achieve that as quickly as possible? That’s the only objective we have.”
How much time rookie manager Arteta will be given to show signs of improvement is an open question.
The Spaniard remains the bookies’ favourite to be the next Prem boss to leave his job after their poor eighth-placed finish last season.
It’s never just been down to me — it’s down to us. We’re a club that tries to make the right decisions to move forward.
That meant the Gunners missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years.
But Arteta is keen to stress that there is collective responsibility, that it is not simply a case of owner Stan Kroenke and technical director Edu delivering new signings and the rest being down to him.
Arteta added: “It’s never just been down to me — it’s down to us.
“We’re a club that tries to make the right decisions to move forward.
“It’s never been down to me when we have success, titles, or when we have difficulties. It’s down to us and it will be that way in the future.”
ARSENAL (likely) vs Chelsea: Leno, Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney, Lokongo, Xhaka, Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang.
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