LONDON: Mikel Arteta (pic) says Arsenal can have no excuses if they do not win the Premier League title for the first time in two decades after strengthening their squad during the January transfer window.
Arteta splashed out more than £50 million ($61 million) on three new signings as the club look to hold onto their lead at the top of the table, bringing in Italy midfielder Jorginho, Belgium forward Leandro Trossard and Poland defender Jakub Kiwior.
The Gunners are five points clear of second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand on the champions and Arteta knows his side are perfectly placed to win the club’s first English title since 2004.
Arteta was asked on Friday about whether there would now be no excuses if Arsenal failed to get over the line.
“If you want to put it that way, that’s fine,“ he said. “What we have to do is train really well and win, and play well to win. That’s the only thing we can do.”
Arsenal would have spent even more on new signings last month but they missed out on Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk, who instead joined Chelsea, and Brighton’s highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo.
Despite those frustrations, Arteta is pleased with the backing he received from the Arsenal hierarchy.
“I’m really happy with what we’ve done,“ Arteta said ahead of Saturday’s trip to struggling Everton. “We knew that in this market you have to adapt and be flexible and ready for inconvenience.
“We’ve done that and the most important thing is the profile of the person, and the quality that we bring in makes us better.
“We had three main key areas of positions that we wanted to improve and fulfil. It was tricky but positive in the end.”
Arteta received more good news on Friday, with the confirmation that Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli has signed a new long-term contract.
Martinelli has scored seven league goals this season and the 21-year-old has given Arteta a genuine threat down the left flank.
“It is great news,“ Arteta said. “He is a player with enormous potential that still has so many things to improve but is already performing at a really high level.”
He revealed England forward Bukayo Saka and French defender William Saliba could also be in line for new contracts soon.
Arsenal have yet to win at Goodison Park under Arteta and the Spaniard knows Everton could get a boost from the appointment of new boss Sean Dyche.
“We have the experience in the last few years about how tough it has been, and we didn’t get the results that we wanted,“ said the Spaniard, who once played for Everton.
“When there is a new manager the environment will change, so it’s going to be a really tough test.” - AFP