‘There is no other way to do it’ – Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal’s transfer strategy this summer

What did you mean when you described this season as “… big opportunity”?

Because of the potential that we have. The people that we have around the club and what we want to do. It’s a huge challenge again because of the expectations that we have. But I just see it as an opportunity to do what we want to do and it has to be now.

Already a lot has happened in the last three or four seasons. Now we have to break that line and we have to aim for something different and I think the outward context is going to help to do that. That’s why I take it as an opportunity.

Is it a relief that the season is over or disappointing that it’s coming to an end just as you’ve started to find form?

Yes because when you have the right momentum and you are winning football matches, we want to continue what we’ve done since Christmas to give the hope to achieve the goals what we had in the season. But it’s not the case. So after, you have to reflect on it and be very, very critical of the period where it didn’t work out, why it didn’t work out and how we’re going to make it better.

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We’ve seen some feisty games since fans returned. Is it a case of telling your players to keep calm a bit when they are in front of their own fans again?

Probably. Even when we played Palace the other day with the crowd, they were very intense and they created a great atmosphere. It makes the game different. There are feelings that we haven’t experienced in a long time and we have to be able to manage that emotionally as well.

Would you like to seeBukayoSaka in the England squad or would you prefer he got a rest given how much football he’s played this season?

There is a risk. I think the schedule there’s been in the last two years it’s been crazy. He’s handled that situation really, really well. I know Gareth and he’s brilliant at managing them as well. We spoke about it. I just hope that they do the right thing. But he’s very determined to go and help his country which is incredible at his age and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there. Enjoy it and things will happen.

What’s his best position in your opinion?

Well, I think he’s had periods where he’s played really well for me in the back four as full-back, he’s been exceptional on the right-wing, he’s been really good as well playing as a wing-back. I think for me having that flexibility for him has made him a different player. He’s really intelligent and he can pick things up really quickly. Slowly we will mould him to the position that we want him to play.

When you see someone like Harry Kane being linked with teams at the top of the table, does it worry you that the gap between you and them will get even bigger?

This is the level and this is the competition in this country. The other top teams they are going to go big in the summer. There are five teams that everybody is supposed to think that they have. So, they’re going to invest, they’re going to improve their squads and they’re not going to stop where they are.

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You’ve got to keep up with that as well in the summer presumably?

There is no other way to do it.

You’ve had a lot of pressure on your job, but going into the last game do you feel safe and secure in your job?

My only focus all the time is making the right decisions and trying to help the team win football matches. What is commented, what is out there as opinions, I respect them all. It’s not my job to answer to any of that. Be very critical with yourself but as well don’t lose sight of what you want to do if you are convinced it is the right thing to do.

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