Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal not to ‘stand still’ in the transfer market or risk falling further behind their rivals, though conceded the club are under ‘enormous’ financial pressure given their continued absence from the Champions League.
The north London side currently sit ninth in the Premier League ahead of tonight’s clash against Manchester City at the Etihad, with the club facing an uphill task to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Arsenal have not played amongst Europe’s elite for three seasons and the cost of their continued absence has been felt financially, Arteta admitting the Gunners’ recent struggles has hindered their ability to compete in the transfer market.
“The fact that we have not been in the Champions League for the past three seasons has put an enormous amount of pressure on the club in financial terms,” said Arteta, as per the Telegraph.
“We know our responsibility and the aims, and how much that [qualifying for Europe] would relax the financial position we are in.”
Significant spending is set to be restricted throughout football this summer as clubs feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, though Arteta remains hopeful he will be able to strengthen in the areas identified before the crisis.
It's been 171 days since Arsenal lost a Premier League game. Mikel Arteta's side are the only unbeaten team in the competition in 2020 and have not lost away from home since he took charge.
Tonight, they face Man City at the Etihad. 😬 pic.twitter.com/4DOiQGOK8N
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 17, 2020
“The plans I had obviously weren’t considering the coronavirus and all the side effects that has,” said Arteta. “But we know what we have to do to improve the team. Whether we will be able to, in the way we want, will be a different story.
“But my focus right now is just to improve the team, get the results that we need to give us the best chance possible to get into Europe and convince the players this is the right environment for them.”
Arsenal’s ability to spend is unclear at present but the club continue to be linked with a host of potential targets, including RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and soon-to-be free agent, Ryan Fraser.
Arteta says he will do all he can to strengthen his squad in the summer market, warning the gap to the division’s leading sides will ‘become bigger and bigger’ if the Gunners ‘stand still’.
“We are trying to put a plan together to improve what we have. We have not been able to achieve the goals we have wanted in the last three years and there is a reason behind it.
“If we stand still that gap will become bigger and bigger. I have not come here to accept that. The challenge for us is to improve the players we already have and find ways to improve the squad in the right positions to give us the best possible chance to compete at that level. It is getting higher and higher every year.”