Mikel Arteta has explained Arsenal’s decision to target youth in this summers transfer market.
The Gunners were the highest spending club in the world this summer, their deadline day signing of 22-year-old Takehiro Tomiyasu taking the club’s spending past the £150 million mark.
Despite that though, there is somewhat of an underwhelming feeling about the clubs business, which also saw them sign youngsters Ben White (23), Martin Odegaard (22), Aaron Ramsdale (23), Nuno Tavares (21) and Albert Lokonga (21).
Arsenal technical director Edu recently came out to defend the club’s business, and speaking ahead of this weekend’s game against Norwich, Mikel Arteta has admitted the club ‘needed a substantial change’ in direction, prompting their focus on youth.
“In recent years, and what we have inherited, the fact that we don’t play in Europe, [we] needed a substantial change,” Mikel Arteta told the official matchday programme.
“We want a club that is sustainable, that is stable financially but the same time can compete at the highest level, because we know the demands for our club is to be the best. We have to do that.
“On top of that, we needed to recruit in a lot of positions. In order to do that, we had to spread the money and how it was spent wisely. Then we had to be very specific with the qualities, the targets we want that can reach the potential that is required at that level with the competition we have with other teams, to reach that [aim].
“The whole strategy was around that, making those decisions as quickly as possible that could give us big margins of improvement in a short period of time.”
The Spaniard admitted that the focus on youth comes with inherent risk, the club needing ‘immediate results’ despite their signings forming part of a ‘medium to long-term project’.
“That’s the complexity in this industry,” he said. “We are trying to build a medium to long-term project, which needs immediate results. That only happens in elite sport and most importantly in football. We have to embrace that challenge. It is what it is.
“We cannot change that and we don’t want to change that, because we want results right now. That’s what we have to put on top of the players’ heads. It has to happen now and it has to keep improving in the medium and long term, and that’s it.”