Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is confident that the best players in the world remain interested in joining the club, even though they are not currently competing in Europe.
The Gunners qualified for the Champions League in nineteen consecutive seasons between 1998/99 and 2016/17, a current record for an English club, but have been unable to maintain their place at Europe’s top table since Arsene Wenger’s departure.
His successor Unai Emery led Arsenal to the Europa League final in 2019, which resulted in a defeat to London rivals Chelsea, but the club failed to even qualify for that competition this season – as a result of an eighth-place finish last year.
Nevertheless, Arsenal have continued to spend heavily in the transfer market, this time in an attempt to rebuild, and Arteta is adamant that the club still has the same pulling power despite their inability to offer continental football.
“Historically, this club has been targeting the best players in the world and the best players in the world were always interested to come here,” Arteta said, ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Liverpool.
“I consider that situation hasn’t changed. That is one of our biggest powers. Every time I have spoken to any player they were so willing to come, I have not faced any other situation.
“Our capacity to get the attention of people to come to our club, is something that is a big advantage for us.”
Arteta also detailed why Ainsley Maitland-Niles was allowed to join Roma on loan this month, despite having a shortage of central midfielders. Ultimately, Arteta admitted that he’d sanctioned the move because of an agreement he’d struck with the 24-year-old during the summer.
“We talked about all of the possibilities. When you are finalising a deal there are certain things you cannot miss out if you want to complete that deal,” the Spaniard remarked.
“Again, I said the interest of the player was clear after what happened in the summer. That was the right thing to do. I don’t think we can make a decision that is going to have an impact on the next six to 18 months, just for a day or two. I don’t see it as very logical.”