Mikel Arteta is excited about the young players at the club and believes that the club can build a team around the promising youngsters. However, he admits the club still have “a lot of changes to make”.
With the club almost guaranteed absence from Europe next season, the club is not expected to have a huge transfer kitty in what will be Arteta’s third transfer window at the club.
“Absolutely,” said Arteta when asked if he’s optimistic about putting Academy graduates at the centre of his plans.
“There’s great potential with them, they’ve shown that this season. They are ready to take responsibility in important moments.
“They have the level to do it, they have the hunger to do it and they have the right senior players around them to help them as well.
“It’s about how we click and how we are consistent. Because we’ve shown that on the day we can compete and beat the top teams but through 38 games, we haven’t done it.
“Through the Europa League, we have done it to the point that we are so close to getting to that final, but in 38 games that’s the duty that we have and the challenge ahead of us: to compete with the big teams in this league.”
The manager also faced questions regarding the future of some of the players at the club.
“There are so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan and a lot of players with contracts still that we need to sort.
“It will depend what happens with a lot of those players and what we are able to recruit to improve the team, that is going to determine where we are.”
Asked if the club might pay off more contracts – as it did in January – he added:
“I don’t know where the summer will take us. I think every situation will be different and hopefully, we are not in that position anymore.”
The manager addressed the tight budget of the club, stating that it would influence the movement of some big names.
“I don’t think it’s completely like that, but it will restrict and alter some plans in relation to what happens with one or two,” he said.
With the club’s current trajectory, sections of the fanbase are worried that we might lose some of our talented youngsters. This is despite Arteta’s big hope on them.
“Talking about him [Smith-Rowe] and Saka, you’re hoping Arsenal can match their progression because if they don’t, then clubs will try and take them off of us,” he told Premier League Productions.
“It is a massive concern. It is a massive concern that are Arsenal are able to sort out whatever is going on upstairs, with the manager, with the players that are going to come in, whoever he is going to bring in to try and execute whatever game plan he wants to do, because these guys are going to be a major part of that.
“If they continue to play well, if we do not progress as quickly as these guys progress, then you have to be worried about their ambition and what they want to do because they’re fantastic players.”