Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal must make a show of force in the transfer market if they are to close the gap on their rivals and win their first trophy since 2005. Arsenal are continuing their pursuit of Luis Suárez, whom Liverpool maintain is not for sale, but there is a growing sense of frustration among fans about the lack of activity and the pressure on manager Arsène Wenger is growing.
Arsenal finished 16 points behind the champions, Manchester United, last season and their need to make signings was highlighted by a 2-2 draw with Napoli and a 2-1 defeat by Galatasaray in the Emirates Cup at the weekend. The club had agreed terms with Gonzalo Higuaín, only for Real Madrid to increase the asking price and the striker to join Napoli instead, and so far the only arrival has been the 20-year-old French striker, Yaya Sanogo, on a free transfer from Auxerre. Although Sanogo made a promising impression against Galatasaray on Sunday, Arteta, who has been outspoken on the subject of transfers this summer, feels a statement of intent by the club would galvanise a squad who only pipped Tottenham Hotspur to the fourth Champions League place on the final day of last season.
"I think we are going to start the season with new faces," Arteta said. "That is what we are all hoping for. That will give us a big boost and everyone is very positive. We need to close the gap with the teams that are trying to win the titles. We have been too far [behind] in the last few seasons. We will start and see how it goes. We won't be as far this season. If the club can target players who will improve the team they are going to be very welcome because that is what we want – a better team, better players to compete and win trophies. The club is working on that, it is in their hands and I am sure they are going to do it."
After years of selling their best players, the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, said earlier in the summer that Arsenal are ready to "compete with any club in the world" and would even be able to bid for players of the calibre of the Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. The comments by Gazidis raised expectations and put the onus on the club to back up their words with actions but it has been a slow process.
Arteta is confident signings will be made, pointing out that selling clubs tend to do everything in their power to keep their prized assets. "It will happen. I have no doubts about it. It takes time but I know the boss is working really hard on it and the board as well. It will happen, for sure. I am very convinced but the great players normally come at the end of the transfer window. The clubs work hard to keep their best players and I think Arsenal will do well in the transfer window."