Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal may have stolen a march over their Premier League rivals with an early conclusion to the club’s summer transfer window dealings.
The Gunners, runners-up last term to English champions Manchester City, have spent more than £200 million ($254 million, 232 million euros) to bring Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice to the Emirates Stadium before the middle of July, with the trio all involved in Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States.
And while the future for the likes of highly-regarded Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo remains uncertain, Arteta said there was an advantage to assembling his squad well before the start of a new season.
“I think it definitely helps, especially for the player and getting to the environment and getting set,” Arteta said Friday ahead of his side’s Premier League opener at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Spanish boss Arteta, whose Arsenal side beat Manchester City on penalties to win the Community Shield at Wembley last weekend, added: “Also for the coaches it is important, for the media, for the commercial for the clubs as well, especially when you go on tour to be certain and have the players you are going to have for the season so it was something very positive for us.
“We’ve done it and we had the intention to do it, sometimes it is possible, sometimes it is not. But we tried our best and we just have to focus on what we can do, the reasons we have done it and maximise the resources we have.”
Arsenal led the Premier League for much of last season before being overhauled by City, with the north London club eventually finishing five points behind in second place.
The Gunners will now be one of the favourites to challenge Pep Guardiola’s side for the title but Arteta, asked if there would be more pressure on his side as a consequence, said: “I think it is excitement, this is where we want to be and building a team that has the belief and the quality to be fighting for those places.
“The competition this year is going to be even harder than last year, you see a lot of teams and the movements they have made and you have to expect something different from them.
“So we have to be much better still than last year and this is the way we are preparing, to seek for that.
“The reality is that in football you have to be at your best on the day and it’s only about today and tomorrow and training the way we want to play and increasing the probability of winning that game by earning the right to do that.”