Mikel Arteta is keen to improve the players he already has at Arsenal. This is how the Gunners will solve their transfer problems.
The Arsenal squad requires investment. Anyone who watches even an iota of football and pays an iota of attention to the Gunners’ fortunes would be able to tell you that. For club that professes that its ambition is to challenge for the biggest titles and trophies in world football, their squad is simply not good enough.
If the Mikel Arteta project is to be a successful one, and the early signs certainly point to that one day being the case, the club will have to competently support him by assembling a capable squad that can compete with the best teams in the Premier League. The coaching brilliance of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola had a major impact on Liverpool and Manchester City, but the teams also improved because of their recruitment.
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Nevertheless, the paths of Klopp and Guardiola are telling for Arteta at Arsenal. With the north London outfit likely struggling for wealthy finances like City or major assets to sell on like Liverpool, Arteta will have to improve the players that he already has at the club, as he hinted at in his press conference this week:
“At least we had some time to train a few things that I wanted to start implementing. It is nice to have a few more players back, a few from injury, and a bigger group where we can be not just match, post-match, recovery, pre-match all the time. So I am pleased, and when the weather is like this, even better <…> I’m expecting big things from the players I have at the moment, the players that are recovering from injuries. That’s the biggest expectations from my side, they’re there.”
And this is what Klopp and Guardiola did.
Many of the crucial players for both Liverpool and City were either inherited by the managers and improved — Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva — or bought and coached up once they were at the club — Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte.
There are very few players at Liverpool and City who are not better now than they were two or three years ago. The coaching of Klopp and Guardiola has improved them. Yes, the recruitment plays a massive part in their success, without question, and this is something that Arsenal will have to master under Arteta, but at the heart of successful teams is the improvement of players.
Ultimately, this is why Arteta hired: to improve the talent already in the squad. And make no mistake, with this crop of young players alongside a burgeoning group of senior players, there is talent there, if a little short on depth and elite quality. And this can definitely be the solution to Arsenal’s financial deficiency.
Arteta is renowned for his coaching qualities. We will see whether they take effect over the coming weeks, months and years. But if Arsenal want to close the gap without the financial freedom and asset-movement of their rivals, it is Arteta’s coaching that will have to be the solution.