Summer spree adds to pressure on Arsenal boss Arteta

Six new faces and £150m outlay as Gunners prop up the Premier League

Thursday, 2nd September 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta IMG_7781 (1)

Mikel Arteta: ‘It is time to reflect, to look in the mirror, each of us, and try to change the dynamic straight away because we need to pick up results’

ARSENAL’S new and improved squad doesn’t feel like it’s £150million better off than last season.

But, with the transfer window now closed, that’s how much Mikel Arteta has spent in a bid to “give the fans something special”. Overall the Gunners brought in six new faces and the returning Martin Odegaard, while shipping out as many as 12 players – the majority of which left on loan.

Arsenal’s final bit of business on Tuesday night was a £19.8m deal for defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna. The 22-year-old Japan international, who can play at both centre-back and right-back, signed a four-year deal.

Of his newest recruit, Arteta said: “Takehiro is a strong defender with good experience in Serie A and at international level. He’s a versatile defender with great defensive qualities, high technical ability and composure on the ball.

“He will be an important member of our squad. We look forward to Takehiro joining up with us when he returns from international duty.”

If Arsenal fans weren’t already underwhelmed with the shopping spree, they might have been when news broke suggesting that Tomiyasu was offered around a number of Premier League clubs, and that the Gunners were the only takers.

It’s a pattern that hasn’t been lost on club legend Paul Merson, who said he’d jump at the chance to be involved at the Emirates Stadium. He said: “I never hear that Arsenal have just nipped Manchester United or someone to signing a player. They’re the only team after the player every time, there’s never anyone else after the player.”

Replying to calls to become Arsenal’s new director of football, Merson added: “I’d do a better job! Arsenal should be playing on Sundays. If you’re a successful football team, you’re playing on Sundays, you’re not playing Saturdays at three o’clock.”

Meanwhile, among the departures was Hector Bellerin, who joined Real Betis on loan. Reiss Nelson also went out on loan after agreeing a deal with Feyenoord for the 2021/22 season, while goalkeeper Alex Runarsson signed a season-long loan deal with Belgian club OH Leuven.

With the transfer window now closed Arteta must turn his attentions to lifting Arsenal off the bottom of the Premier League. Following the international break the Gunners face Norwich at home and Burnley away.

“We missed a lot of players in recent weeks. Hopefully some of them will be back in decent shape after the international break,” said Arteta.

“It is time to reflect, to look in the mirror, each of us, and try to change the dynamic straight away because we need to pick up results.”

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