Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal cannot afford to spoil the January transfer window following the Premier League restart. The league leaders lost Gabriel Jesus with knee injury suffered while playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar, leaving them without key inspiration behind their five-point advantage over Manchester City.
“We’re going to be active and active means we’re looking to strengthen the squad,” said Arteta, whose mid-season break included winning the four-team Dubai Super Cup tournament. “This team still doesn’t have the luxury of not maximizing every window. We have to do that because it’s really important. But then we have to have the right profile, it has to be the right player to get us through. higher level.
Mykhaylo Mudryk, the Ukraine winger, is the most heavily linked player, although Shakhtar Donetsk’s asking price of €100m could be prohibitive. Reports put Jesus’ return date in mid-February, but his manager declined to set a timeline.
“A season has its challenges, and that’s a challenge that we have to overcome, but if you want to be at the top, there will be those challenges,” he said. “Knowing him, I prefer not to give any date. It will take time, that’s for sure. He was operated on, that tells you the extent of the injury.
William Saliba returns to training on Friday after playing less than 30 minutes in a walk-in game as France reached the World Cup final, meaning Arteta has a full squad of Qatar returnees. “They were all fine,” the manager said. “Some came in earlier than expected and they were buzzing about being back and being part of it. I feel a really good energy around the place. They understood the rhythm straight away and what we want.
Ahead of the Boxing Day home game with West Ham, a muscle injury to Reiss Nelson further reduced Arteta’s attacking options, although the return of Emile Smith Rowe after an injury-ravaged season is imminent. On Nelson, Arteta said: “Reiss, he’s going to be out for a while. I think I’m talking about weeks. He felt something straight away and with the sprinters it’s not a good sign.
Before the opening of the transfer window on January 1, Arsenal must negotiate West Ham, managed by David Moyes, Arteta’s mentor at Everton, before a New Year’s game at Brighton. Arteta credited Moyes with a ‘huge impact’ on his coaching career. “I am first of all very grateful for the trust he has shown in me and for all that I have learned from him on the pitch, off the pitch, about building a team, about the need to have the right characters on the team to build what you want.”
During the six-week break, Arteta traveled to the United States to meet the Kroenkes, the owners of Arsenal. “It’s a very special relationship right now to understand their way of thinking about the sport, what they’ve done in other sports and with other franchises. The ambition is there and the alignment is definitely there. It’s definitely positive to spend time together.
Meanwhile, Fulham are linked with Arsenal defender Cédric Soares, although Arteta said: “We know where we are in terms of the squad and the numbers we have. We will be extremely careful about what we want. do in the window.