Mikel Arteta admits that Arsenal are now ‘looking at options’ this month after trimming an ‘unmanageable’ squad during the January window.
Arsenal‘s focus this month has been on securing exits for a number of fringe players, the likes of Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba departing on loan to Schalke and Nice respectively and reaching an agreement for the termination of Sokratis’ contract.
Mesut Ozil’s exit is also expected to be finalised in the coming days with the club understood to have agreed to cancel the remaining months on the German’s deal, the playmaker in talks with Fenerbahce over a free transfer switch to the Turkish side.
Arteta says the north London side will now focus on incomings ahead of the window’s deadline, with a creative midfielder on his wish-list with Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard reported as a potential loan target.
“We are in that process right now,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference. “We’ve done the first part (trimming the squad) more or less and now we are focusing on the second phase.
“Obviously this market and the context makes it really difficult but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do.
“We are looking at various positions because the movements that we’ve made in this transfer window with some players leaving the club leaves us a little bit short in certain areas. If we can then we will do it, if we can’t then we will just keep going with what we have.”
Arteta admits he was left with an ‘unmanageable’ squad following the club’s summer recruitment as a number of unwanted players failed to secure moves away, the Spaniard having omitted both Ozil and Sokratis from the Gunners’ squads for their Premier League and Europa League campaigns.
“We could not carry on with 31 players in the squad,” Arteta said. “This is unmanageable. When you have to leave some of the foreign players out it makes it even more difficult.
“For a few weeks maybe it’s ok but to do it for months and maintain the health and ambition and the chemistry around the place it’s really complicated. One of the main objectives was to make some decisions of how we’re going to offset that.”
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