Unai Emery has said that on-loan Barcelona winger Denis Suárez “needs time” to adapt to playing in the Premier League, while refusing to be drawn on whether Arsenal will active the option to buy clause that exists in the player’s temporary contract with the club.
Arsenal signed Suárez on loan from Barcelona on transfer deadline day last month, after weeks of protracted negotiation with the Spanish league leaders.
However, Suárez — who previously played under Emery at Sevilla — is yet to make his first start for Arsenal and has instead been restricted to four short appearances from the bench. He meanwhile failed to feature in Arsenal’s recent 2-0 win over Southampton, with Emery instead preferring to introduce Mesut Özil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Other January signings, such as Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuaín and Newcastle new boy Miguel Almirón, have already made big impacts at their new clubs, but Emery has argued 25-year-old Suárez needs more time to adjust.
“He is working every day, improving and [getting to] know us,” Emery said at the club’s training ground on Tuesday. “My philosophy is that adaptation needs time and after, little-by-little he will grow confidence and know his teammates in training and after playing matches.
“For him, all the minutes he can get to help us are very important. On Sunday for example my idea was to give him some minutes, but after recent injuries, I cannot give him these minutes. But tomorrow is another opportunity.”
Emery was however reluctant to be drawn on whether Arsenal still intend to make the player’s move permanent at the end of the current season. “For me, it's so far away,” he added.
“The football, each match, each week, can change a lot. We are in every match, we are doing a test on everybody. My test like a coach is tomorrow and the players are the same.
“Our demands are very big demands. To work hard, to be with focus for each match to show us and show you, the players, the coaches, that we can improve and we can be better every day. For me the summer is so far away.”
The Arsenal manager meanwhile confirmed that Arsenal are “working” on appointing a new director of football, with Roma director of football Monchi reportedly at the top of their wish list.
When asked about whether he would relish the chance to wok with Monchi again, Emery replied: “It's one issue for work in the club. My focus, the players focus and the coaches focus is each match. The club is working on how we can improve, how we can be better in the present and the future with the people working for us.
“I was usually working a sporting director in all of the teams. When I arrived I was working with Mislintat and I worked well with him. The club is working for change and after he is leaving for the possibility to continue with this structure. It is one issue on which the club is working.
“My responsibility is to train everyday with the players and to find the performances to meet our targets.”
Arsenal play Bournemouth tomorrow hoping to retain their place in the Premier League top four, and have been boosted by the news that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in full training after an illness. Alex Iwobi and Stephan Lichtsteiner are meanwhile being assessed after picking up minor injuries in Sunday’s win over Southampton.
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