Sunday, March 3, 2024

Arteta makes it clear January additions are necessary

Good morning folks.

I haven’t had a chance to fully watch Mikel Arteta’s interview with Jamie Carragher which went out on Sky Sports last night – at the ungodly hour of 10.30pm. Who is even awake at that point? Not me anyway, but that’s due to being ill as much as anything else.  However, I will make time to watch it today, and we’ll discuss the most cromulent elements of it for the podcast which will come out tomorrow morning.

I’ve seen a couple of small clips doing the rounds though, one of which where Arteta says he presented a five point plan to the club about where we were and where he wanted us to be. Carragher asks “Are you ahead or behind?”, Arteta replies, smiling, “Ahead!”

Which makes sense given where we are in the table. That then plays into what we might do in January to make the most of it. Everyone is looking to see how we’re going to respond to the loss of Gabriel Jesus, and the transfer market next month could be the most decisive January ever. Not just for Arsenal, but for many teams from top to bottom who have had their season interrupted by the World Cup.

Speaking to Carragher, Arteta references being able to change a lot for the Europa League games, thus allowing him to play a fairly consistent, settled XI in the Premier League. But, he doesn’t think that can continue as it stands, due to the schedule of games, the squad size, and the increased quality of European opponents as we – hopefully – make progress. He then says:

“We are going to have to have more resources and more players to be able to do that.”

There are some managers who try and stay vague on what they want to do in the transfer market, but no doubt you’ll have noticed by now that Mikel Arteta is often pretty explicit about what he wants. In the last window it was ‘more firepower’; previous to that he spoke about raising the level of the squad and how the only way it was possible to do that was via the market; and he talked about Arsenal as a club needing to maximise every transfer window.

This time around, there’s no question he wants additions in January, and like you, I hope he gets them. What gives this window and Arteta’s comments an extra bit of ‘edge’, so to speak, is our position at the top of the table and the kind of team we are now. It’s a side that has rightly won plaudits for the football it has played, and at the same time Arteta’s profile as a manager has changed. He has shifted many people’s opinions of what he’s capable of.

It’s one thing calling for new signings after two 8th placed finishes, that’s obvious. We’d all do the same. But when you’re top of the table, and when clubs around Europe might look at Arteta as a potential future head coach/manager, it’s something else. I’m not saying that this is him putting up to the club in a ‘back me or else’ kind of way, but your words carry more weight when you’re 5 points clear of Man City at the top and your team is the youngest, most exciting in the league.

Will it be a winger? A midfielder? Both? Something else? Who knows? All I would say is that we saw the impact of last January’s window when we missed out on the Champions League by a point. I think we’ve got good at learning lessons, and while I appreciate it’s not just as simple as it sounds, to not take advantage of this fantastic position we’ve put ourselves in – that we have earned, by the way – would be a big surprise and disappointment.

Anyway, I will watch the full thing today, and we’ll discuss on the Arsecast tomorrow. Finally for today, congratulations to Beth Mead who was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022.

Incredible stuff. Bravo Beth! It was sad to see her and Viv on crutches at the ceremony after their ACL injuries, but nobody could argue she didn’t deserve it.

Ok, that’s your lot for this morning. The manager will be holding his pre-West Ham press conference this afternoon, so we’ll cover all the bits and pieces on Arseblog News later on.

For now, take it easy.

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