Unai Emery has been reassured by the Arsenal board that he will have money to spend on new players next summer, after enduring a frustrating January transfer window in which the club have so far failed to sign any new players.
As usual, Arsenal have been linked with a number of players this window. The club have been negotiating with Barcelona over Denis Suárez since the beginning of January, while Ivan Perisic has handed in a transfer request at Inter Milan after Arsenal had a loan offer rejected.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Christopher Nkunku — who has previously worked with Emery — is also highly admired at Arsenal and could yet join the club on loan.
However, the club’s attempts to recruit new players this month has been severely hampered by their lack of funds. Arsenal’s finances continue to be squeezed by their huge wage bill, as well as the significant amount of money invested over the past two seasons. That has led to a tightening of the pursestrings this winter — something Emery has insisted is only a temporary measure.
“When we have the possibility to buy different players with big quality to help us with their performance, we can do that. At the moment though the club is telling me this is not a good moment to buy new players,” Emery said ahead of today’s match against Cardiff.
“But the club say to me in the summer it is going to be different. And we are going to have chances to take and spend money to buy players.
“I know because I’ve spoken with the club, now the transfer market is difficult but we can take different chances in the summer.”
Arsenal’s squad certainly needs investment. Emery has struggled to find a starting role for the club’s highest earner, Mesut Ozil, while Aaron Ramsey will depart for Juventus on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Their defence is also in need of an overhaul. Club captain Laurent Koscielny is 33 and has endured an injury-plagued campaign, while there are serious question marks over Shkodran Mustafi, who has never looked particularly impressive in the Premier League despite his £35m price tag.
Petr Cech is set to retire at the end of the current campaign which means a new goalkeeper will need to be signed, and there have been no assurances over the future of Danny Welbeck — ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle — who will be allowed to leave for nothing in the summer.
The club is also in the midst of an injury crisis, with six first-team players ruled out of tonight’s match against Cardiff, although Emery is confident his side can achieve their ambition of finishing in the top four given the difficulty of the window for their direct rivals.
“If we look at the other teams in this transfer market, it is very difficult for them,” he added. “Only Chelsea have signed somebody, with [Gonzalo] Higuaín changing with [Álvaro] Morata. The other teams? Not Liverpool, not Manchester City, not Manchester United. And we are also in the same situation in that it is difficult to find one different and better player in this transfer window.
“I am happy with my players. The easiest thing for me is to ask for more players but I love to work with my players. My challenge is to improve them individually, collectively, offensively, defensively.
“But also we are doing good things, improving. And in the Premier League we are pushing to be in the top four. I know that at the moment Manchester United are improving a lot in the last matches, but we are with them. There are three points between Chelsea and us and my idea is to take opportunities to close the gap with the possibility of being in the top four.”
Arsenal predicted XI: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Mavropanos, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira; Iwobi, Ramsey, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
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