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Mikel Arteta reflects on Arsenal journey as Premier League toughens



Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta cites Liverpool as club benchmark in ever-changing Premier League

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta laid down a benchmark for the Gunners to follow as the building project under the Spanish manager in north London continues to take steps in the right direction as they sit in pole position to nab the final Champions League place ahead of the end of the season.

The club that Arteta cited? Liverpool, of course, as the Reds have temporarily jumped to the top of the Premier League after comfortably dispatching Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off.

Recent success under beloved boss Jürgen Klopp both at home and abroad, after a period of initial transition with the former Borussia Dortmund headmaster at the helm, has come off brilliantly at Anfield in recent times, with the club now unquestionably viewed as one of the top sides in all of Europe; a notion that Arsenal and Arteta would love to follow.

But the ever-changing Premier League is not what it used to be. Always competitive without a doubt, the level of play across a full footballing calendar in order to win the league has to be just about as close to perfect as one can get. For Arteta, it is about taking things one step at a time to get to where he and the club hierarchy want to be.

Arteta continued: “Those leagues were won with 83, 84, 86 points. Now you need 95, 96, or 100 points to win the league. The context is completely different, the standards are so high. We need to focus on what we want to do & how we are going to execute it & not look too far ahead.”

And the Arsenal boss certainly is correct in his assessment. Should both Manchester City and Liverpool win out the rest of their league matches, they will finish the season on 96 and 95 points respectively. At the time of writing, Arsenal sit miles behind the pace set by the headline English duo, with a 20-point gap between them and City, who clash with Leeds United at Elland Road as we speak.

The north London outfit have done well in their own right to rebuild and restructure the club on and off the pitch in the last 24-months, which included summer transfer business that has come off well with the likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, and Martin Ødegaard all now vital pieces in the puzzle at the Emirates less than twelve months after their arrivals.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta cites Liverpool as club benchmark in ever-changing Premier League

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – APRIL 17: Cody Gakpoof PSV Eindhoven and Davy Klaassen of AFC Ajax Battle for the ball during the KNVB Cup final match between PSV Eindhoven and Ajax at De Kuip on April 17, 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by NESImages/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

More will be needed from Arsenal, however, and Arteta spoke out regarding the club’s summer transfer plans recently, though he distances himself and the club from the notion that they are finally in a position to make a Virgil van Dijk-type signing in the same mold that Liverpool did.

“We want to make the squad stronger, we want to make the starting XI stronger, we want to make the specificity and the personality of our players stronger, and that’s what we are going to be seeking to do. I don’t think we are in a position where we can do that [making a marquee signing for big money], so we have to find other ways to do it.”

Two players that could be on their way to Arsenal in the summer are Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, and PSV Eindhoven’s Dutch starlet Cody Gakpo, with the Gunners heavily linked with moves for the forward pair.

The anticipated return of William Saliba from a massively successful loan spell at Olympique de Marseille could be another big boost to the first-team squad with an in-house defensive reinforcement filling out the back line in a credible fashion.

Regardless of what decisions the club makes moving forward, they remain a ways away from the likes of City and Liverpool, but Arsenal are certainly trending in the right direction.

This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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