Mikel Arteta responds to Tony Adams criticism over Arsenal’s recruitment and outlines transfer plans

Mikel Arteta responds to Tony Adams criticism over Arsenal's recruitment and outlines transfer plans
The Spaniard is happy with how his squad is developing (Pictures: Astro SuperSport)

Mikel Arteta has defended Arsenal’s approach to recruitment following criticism from Tony Adams and believes the club are now in a position to make signings that can take the team to a ‘different level’.

Former Gunners skipper Adams has repeatedly derided Arsenal’s approach in the transfer market, singling out players such as Cedric Soares for being ‘of a lesser standard’ than was already at the club and questioning the pathway to the first team for academy players.

But Arteta says Arsenal needed to first build a more balanced squad full of players with the right character and attitude and, now that has been achieved, will start to look at bringing in top-tier talent to elevate the team while also bringing through more youngsters.

Mikel Arteta Arsenal Training Session
Arteta feels Arsenal are now in a position to upgrade certain areas (Picture: Getty)

Probed on Adams’ remarks, and how he himself assesses Arsenal’s recruitment, Arteta told Astro SuperSport: ‘Well first of all I think you have to set some very clear principles that you want to achieve and the processes that are going to be in place to try to minimise the risk every time we get a player.

‘Because it’s like a bet. There are a lot of things that we cannot control and a lot of things that we don’t know how they are going to act.

‘But if we have the right processes, and we have the right principles to apply for every single player that walks in through our door to our club, then I think we are in a much better place to make a lot of good decisions.

‘When I said to you about the squad balance, it is something that is related to recruitment. First of all the squad has to look in good balance, in good shape, in good health.

‘And then you can talk about taking the squad into a different level, improving the recruitment, improving the quality of the squad in the individual and specific positions that we want.

‘But as well, part of that recruitment – and it’s huge at this club – is our youth. And I am so proud as well with the work that is being done throughout the club, all the coaches at all the stages, to have the quality and the talent that we have at the club.

Bukayo Saka Mikel Arteta Arsenal Training Session
Promoting youth is a bedrock of Arteta’s philosophy (Picture: Getty)

‘So we have to create a space within our squad to give the opportunity to start to fit our first team as well with young players. And that is the key for our future.’

He added: ‘The squad wasn’t in a right balance [when I arrived]. So once we have the squad now in a better balance after making 11 or 12 changes – which is a lot, unprecedented I would say – you go to the next summer.

‘And now you have to start to evolve our squad, which is very different to balancing your squad. And when you have your squad evolved, then you can go to the next level. So every phase takes time and a lot of good decisions, and I think we are on the right path.’

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