Mikel Arteta outlines ideal transfer scenario as Arsenal prepare for the January window

With COVID rife now, will you change your plans for January so you have more players?

That would be ideal, but with the AFCON I think we’re going to have many less unfortunately. So we are going to have to adapt. I don’t know how it’s going to develop – hopefully the situation in January is going to be better or probably it will be better because we are going to have more boosters and more people have already had it. But we don’t know.

Will it change your plans for the window?

I don’t think we are going to be able to sign players just for this short period of time. I think it’s a little bit unrealistic. But we will sit down now and make the right decision if we can.

Given where you are in the league have you got an assurance from those above you that you will be backed in January to help finish in the top four?

No, I think they have shown always the support. Since I’ve been here it’s always been the case. We have tried to explain the plan that we want to put in place really openly. Instead of how much money we are going to spend, how much money we are investing in the team and in the football club and go step by step. Every case will be treated differently, and every situation will be treated different. But the ambition is only one and it’s trying to be the best team.

Would it be prudent to sell players who only have six months left on their contract to get some money in to reinvest in the squad?

Depends on every singular case. Depends on the player’s situation, the minutes that he plays, his willingness or the offer that you have. It’s something that you have to consider.

If Auba asks to leave will you allow him to leave?

As you can understand I won’t discuss any particular case.

Mikel Arteta was not keen to discuss the future of Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was recently stripped of the captaincy
Mikel Arteta was not keen to discuss the future of Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was recently stripped of the captaincy

What would you want from Santa and what are your Christmas rituals?

From Santa I ask two things, that he looks after my kids really, really well and all the kids in the world and make them really, really happy. And for the rest of us that we are all healthy. That’s all we can ask for now. After that, more happiness in this world and people to have a more positive mind about everything that we do. We need more happiness and more smiles.

Can you maintain a top-four challenge for the rest of the season with a cloud hanging over pretty much all your strikers except for Gabriel Martinelli?

We have a cloud, and the cloud is there and at the moment we’re not able to change it. We are working on it to try and make it as small as possible and as clear as possible. But this is the situation that we are in, because contracts have these things, the timing of them is tricky and we’re trying to resolve it.

Do you think sometimes you’re a bit too uncompromising with your non-negotiables and sticking to your principles too much?

No. I guarantee you that’s not the case.

Because you’re a young manager, is it a case that you’re looking establish your authority?

I don’t establish my authority by trying to be dictatorial or ruthless. I just ask for one thing, it’s respect and commitment. That’s all. If you don’t ask for that at this level I think I pack my bags and go somewhere else because that’s the minimum that you can ask for.

Is there a danger of the Aubameyang situation becoming a bit like the Ozil situation?

I’m sorry but I’m going to expect that from everyone at the club, the first one myself. The second I don’t do that I go through that door and I do something else. It’s as clear as that. To be successful when you are passionate about something and you want to represent a club of this size and this history. That’s the minimum standards that you demand. I’m not going to ask them to put the ball in the top corner every time they hit that ball, but I will ask them to do the right things for this club every single day. That’s for sure.

When will the players have to leave for AFCON? Is there any chance they could be available for Manchester City on January 1st ?

That’s a conversation that we’re having separately with every individual national team. Obviously they want them, yesterday, and we want them next month. That’s the conversation that we’re having with them right now.

Are you happy for the players to go?

If you give me the choice I want them to stay because we’re going to need them and with the context that we are in, we need them more. But I understand that they have their obligations and we need to let them go.

Even with the concerns over the conditions in Cameroon at the minute?

Yeah but if the regulators consider that the competition has to go ahead then we are obligated to let the players go.

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