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Mikel Arteta reveals next winter transfer action after trimming ‘unmanageable’ squad

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has given the hint that he will now focus on bringing players in during the transfer window after successfully trimming his “unmanageable squad”.

The North London outfit have parted ways with Mesut Ozil, who joined Turkish outfit Fenerbachce with same happening to Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba.

Arteta said the second half of the window will now be about strengthening his squad, saying: “We are in that process right now. We’ve done the first part more or less and we are focusing now 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.”

Arteta added that he is keen to bolster his options in various positions – particularly left-back.

“We are a little bit short with left-footed full-backs,” he said. “We know we can use Ainsley [Maitland-Niles] there, we can use Bukayo [Saka] there, we can use Cedric, who has played in that position. We have some options

“The natural option is Kieran [Tierney] but we can adapt. That option is open are we are looking to see what is available.

“We are looking at various positions because the movements we have made in this transfer window, with some players leaving the club, leaves us a little bit short in certain areas.

“So if we can, we will do it, and if we can’t, we’ll just keep going with what we have.”

He added that “We could not carry on with 31 players in the squad – it is unmanageable. As well when you have to leave some of the foreign players out, it makes it more difficult.

“For a few weeks, it’s OK, but to do it for months and maintain the health, ambition and chemistry around the place is really complicated. So one of the main objectives was to make some decisions on how we’re going to offset that and we’ve done it.

“Just for me, the important thing is that everybody feels involved and that they have a chance. They’re all fighting for a place but at the end, they need to feel they have the opportunity to play.

“When you are completely out, that is out of the equation, and that makes it really difficult to find motivation.”

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Arteta hints on why David Luiz isn’t leaving Arsenal anytime soon

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Arsenal boss has been full of praise for Brazilian international, David Luiz which gives an hint that he would not be leaving the club anytime soon.

Owing to his age and his level at the moment, it was expected that the former Chelsea defender would be signing out of the Emirates Stadium in the summer but that wasn’t the case.

The fact that the North London outfit now boast of younger defenders, including Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holdings and on loan William Saliba, makes pundits speculate a shorter spell for Luiz, rather, Mikel Arteta has showered praise on him as a role model to the younger ones.

Also, David Luiz has been described as a liability, a blundering Brazilian prone to game-changing errors, Mikel Arteta has some sweet words for him.

“They listen to him because of who he is and what he has done in the game,” Arteta said. “But also because of how he behaves every day, how professional he is and how he goes about the job. He is one of the key role models.”

“Even at this age he is always looking at his games and clips, all the time asking questions. When that happens you can still improve as a player and I think that’s why he is performing the way he is.

“He is a really honest man with himself. He has won everything and it is a joy to work with him.”
There have been no formal discussions over a new contract yet, although Arteta says they are in a “good position” as they talk “all the time about this kind of thing”.

He added that “This season has been really tough in the beginning because he’s been through some injuries but he’s kept at it, he understood his role, he knows his role in the team, he’s one of our leaders and he’s so willing to keep improving”

Asked if he spoke to Luiz about an extension, Arteta replied: ‘No, there are still a few months to go on that. I all the time talk to him about this kind of thing so we’re in a good position.

“He showed his character first of all with the decision he made to join the club when he was with a club where he was winning trophies and he was still comfortable and under contract.

“And he wanted a challenge. And at that age it tells you everything because normally at that age the challenge is not sporting but more a financial decision that you take to go to a different country.”

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Keane reveals one flaw made by Edu

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Arsenal chief Edu might have been hailed for his transfer activities, even by manager Mikel Arteta but he seems to have ‘goofed’ with one of the transfer decisions he made in 2020.

This was exposed by Man United legend Roy Keane who told Sky Sports that the North London outfit chief failed to make a good bargain for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, hinting that he was sold cheaply.

Arsenal parted ways with Emiliano Martinez in 2020, shortly after he helped the club to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield for Aston Villa with a fee worth £17 million.

During his last days at the Emirates Stadium, Emiliano Martinez was favoured with playing time due to the injury of Bernd Leno and he was able to prove that he is a world-class goalkeeper.

Arsenal actually wanted to keep him but he was keen on a move to secure regular football as Mikel Arteta was clear about Bernd Leno as his first-choice.

Since that move, Emiliano Martinez has been apt for Aston Villa, ten clean sheets this season for the European-chasing side too – only Man City have more.

Manchester United legend Keane lauded the impact Martinez has had in the Midlands and the ‘huge difference’ he has made.

“Recruitment was right for Aston Villa,” said Keane. “I know they got promoted and there was a lot of players [brought in]. 12 or 13 out of contracts. Lots of changes.

“So, last season was expected that it was going to be hard work. But this season, I bet they cannot believe how well they are doing. They had a great start to the season when they won their first four games.

“Dean Smith used the word ‘platform’ and probably belief. And again, we talk about the signings.

“The goalkeeper has been such a huge bonus. To be able to get him at £17 or 20 million has been cheap really. And he has made a huge difference really. They are good to watch.”

While Bernd Leno has also been outstanding at the North London outfit, the wish by Mikel Arteta is to keep both goalkeepers at the club but that Emiliano Martinez was not ready to stay.

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Why William Saliba may not wish to return to Arsenal again

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There is no doubt that William Saliba was not happy about his snub at the Emirates Stadium and that is enough to force him away from the club despite being touted to have a future at the Emirates Stadium.

The 19-year-old did not get a single appearance for the Gunners first team in the first half of the season, the reason why he was released back to Ligue 1 on loan to join Nice.

He arrived at the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2019 from Saint-Etienne in a deal estimated to be worth around £27 million ($37m), spending the 2019-20 season on loan at the French club under the terms of the transfer.

The Nice loanee has, therefore, spoken out on his frustration at not being given the opportunity to show his worth on a regular basis in the Arsenal first team.

The defender failed to make a single appearance for Arsenal, and at the start of January, he returned to Ligue 1 on another short-term move.

The story has changed for William Saliba as he has since become a fixture in the Nice first team and believes he had something to offer Arteta as part of his defensive plans.

“I really, really, really didn’t think that I would be transferred for almost €30m,” the youngster explained to TF1.

“To think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans were excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves, playing zero – nothing in the Europa League or the Premier League.

“I was in the squad once in the EFL Cup. It hurt me, it affected me. I don’t think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. These things happen. I believe in myself.”

Despite being happy with his new life and first team football, Saliba will not want to dwell much on what the future holds but there is no doubt he was not happy at the Emirates Stadium and that could be a factor to consider.

“I have learned now that it is better not to look too far in the future,” he added. “I am focused on just these six months to try to give absolutely everything and for the rest we will see.

“For me, the best decision was to join Nice because there is a good project, a good team, a good level of ambition and they like to play in a certain way.

“It feels good to play and to have consistent game time. I am young, I am 19, and it is by playing matches like this that you improve.

“You see what mistakes you make and you correct them for the next match”

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