Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s plan for the remaining weeks of the summer transfer window bears plenty of similarities to Pep Guardiola’s approach during his early years in charge of Manchester City.
Arteta has worked tirelessly to improve his squad in the months since the end of the previous campaign, with the Spaniard having welcomed five new faces as he looks to bring the Gunners back into the Champions League after narrowly missing out at the last time of asking.
The Arsenal manager has also wasted little time in clearing out the deadwood at the Emirates Stadium, with the likes of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Bernd Leno having been shown the door in recent weeks. The exodus looks set to continue ahead of next month’s all-important transfer deadline, though, as a result of Arteta’s decision to put Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin up for sale.
The pair, who are both in the final 12 months of their respective contracts, have been instructed to find new employers by Arsenal after being deemed surplus to requirements, according to the Evening Standard. There is nothing concrete on the cards for Maitland-Niles at present but Bellerin is being chased by Real Betis, the club at which he spent the entirety of last season on loan.
Arteta’s plan to accelerate the departures of those who are not in his thinking for the new season appears to be similar to the no-nonsense approach that was adopted by Guardiola upon his arrival at City back in 2016.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss wasted little time in getting rid of Joe Hart after realising that he was not needed at the Etihad Stadium, with Arteta having done the same this summer by shipping out Leno to Fulham.
The 40-year-old is now looking to speed up Bellerin’s potential exit despite the right-back having previously been regarded as a fan favourite and a possible future captain at Arsenal in years gone by. Guardiola’s own ruthless streak previously saw him draw a line under a player with a similar profile in Yaya Toure, who left for Olympiacos in the summer of 2018 after eight successful years at City.
It remains to be seen whether Arteta’s stance on trimming his squad will pay off over the course of the campaign, with Arsenal having made a strong start by claiming a maximum haul of six points from their opening two matches.
Gunners’ director Edu recently opened up on the club’s plan to sell a number of their existing stars by insisting that he and Arteta are doing everything in their power to communicate directly with the players in question in order to find solutions that suit all parties.
“It’s a part of our job to try to create some opportunities for the players,” Edu told Sky Sports earlier this summer. “I think the most important thing is to make the player understand why he is here or why he needs to go.
“Then we have to create some possibilities with the player’s agents and try to find the best solution possible for the player. As soon as you give to them a clear idea of what you want to do, it helps the situation.
“It’s a challenge because you have to find clubs, situations and loans. But again, if you can be direct to the player in a very respectful way, that helps a little bit to make the best decision.”
- An Express report