Mertesacker backs Arteta to get Arsenal into Champions League
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will have zero excuses if his side don’t see substantial improvement and are unable to reach their goals this season. Champions League qualification has got to be a must this term after yet another summer of high spending from the north London side.
Arsenal ultimately fell short of finishing in the Premier League top four last season. It was in their hands with two games remaining but a dire display at Newcastle handed Tottenham the initiative.
Arteta cannot afford his team to do the same this season because his job could well be on the line if they do. The Spaniard cannot complain about not being backed in the transfer market.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is set to become the Gunners’ fifth signing of the window for a fee that could rise to £32million. That will take the summer outlay to over £115m and all reports suggest they’re not finished yet.
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It is the second successive summer Arsenal have spent big after splashing out around £145m on six new faces in 2021. In fact, Zinchenko’s arrival will take the total expenditure on new signings in Arteta’s reign to around £335m.
The Kroenkes have often been criticised in the past for not coughing up the funds Arsenal have needed. Arsene Wenger must be wondering where this cash was during his latter years at the club.
It shows the owners have complete faith in Arteta and technical director Edu to make the right decisions in the transfer market. On the face of it, the majority of Arteta’s incomings have been successful to date.
But the barometer for what success is to Arsenal has now changed. Six years outside of the Champions League is far too long for a club of their stature.
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Arteta and Edu, with the backing of the Kroenkes, have gone all out in order to make that possibility a reality. It should have happened last season, even though the feeling at the club was it would have come a year earlier than expected.
If the target all along was to return to Europe’s elite club competition with qualification this season, then that’s all well and good. But it is in no way a foregone conclusion.
Tottenham have strengthened again and Manchester United will undoubtedly be better under Erik ten Hag. Arsenal have a young squad which is now a year older and wiser.
They will hope to be better off after the experiences of last season, with the arrivals of Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko adding a real winning mentality to the squad. But if results on the pitch do not match the faith of the board, Arteta will be left with no excuses.
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