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Mikel Arteta lifts lid on Arsenal’s transfer plans after all but missing out on top four

Arsenal are braced for a hugely-important summer transfer window and will have to be inventive if they miss out on Champions League qualification in the final game of the season on Sunday

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta attends a press conference
Mikel Arteta spoke openly about Arsenal’s transfer plans

Mikel Arteta says that Arsenal will have to be clever in the summer transfer window if they are to make the most of the funds they have available.

The Gunners spent over £150million to bring in six new players last summer, but are still some way off completing Arteta’s desired squad. Arsenal have let several players depart over the past year, meaning they currently have a much smaller squad than many of their rivals.

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The lack of depth in Arteta’s squad has perhaps been evident in the past few games, with a 3-0 defeat by Tottenham compounded by a 2-0 loss against Newcastle on Monday. The results have seen Arsenal surrender fourth place in the Premier League to Spurs, who hold a two-point advantage going into the final game of the season on Sunday.

Arsenal now need to beat Everton and hope for a favour from bottom side Norwich, who face Spurs, if they are to end their six-year absence from the Champions League. That eventuality seems unlikely and Arteta has admitted that the fierce competition in the transfer market makes the club’s task all the more difficult this summer.

“We are going to have certain resources, not unlimited resources, some resources,” he said in Friday’s press conference. “And with our resources we have to play and do what we have to do in the best possible way. We don’t know what the rest are going to have in terms of resources, which I’m assuming is going to be challenging because now it’s not a top three or top four league. Now it is a top eight or 10 teams that are involved. That’s why we have to find a way to do again what we did last summer.”

Arsenal could bring in as many as seven players this summer, with strikers a particular priority. Arsenal failed to find a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who left for Barcelona in January, but Arteta said he did not regret the club’s approach in the mid-season transfer window.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure in January left Arsenal short of strikers
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Offside via Getty Images)

“Everything that we did do, was trying to reach the objectives that we had after January – which was to try to be challenging the top four, and the way we were going to do it,” he said. Arsenal’s failure to land Dusan Vlahovic, who left Fiorentina for Juventus, left them with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as the only strikers left at the club.

Both are out of contract on July 1, meaning the urgency for forwards has been heightened further, while a central midfielder, centre-back and full-backs are also understood to be on Arteta’s wishlist. Arteta refused to put a figure on the transfer budget technical director Edu is working with this summer.

“It’s not only about that amount,” he said. “If you see the wage (bill) that we have and we had, it’s night and day. So it’s not only about spending, it’s about what you have sold. We had 28 players and we ended up with 19 in the squad, so it’s about the total expenditure. Because if not that figure is irrelevant. Because what is the total annual cost of the squad you are building?”

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