…Appeals To Fans For Patience
Arsenal technical director Edu has insisted that the club are building a foundation for the future with their summer recruitment.
Mikel Arteta’s side are bottom of the Premier League table after losing their first three games without scoring a goal but Edu is confident that matters will improve when Arsenal have their strongest starting lineup available.
The Brazilian has received some criticism for his transfer dealings but believes that his work will eventually come to fruition, with the club having signed six players this summer, all of whom are aged 23 or under. While there have been suggestions that Arsenal could have spent their £150million outlay more wisely, Edu is confident that he has made some astute acquisitions.
Edu believes that the new arrivals, added to the club’s existing talented youngsters such as Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli, will help Arsenal greatly in the long term. When asked if he understands if supporters are underwhelmed, Edu told Sky Sports: ‘Yes, I understand the reason because firstly, they have not seen the team playing together yet. That’s one of the reasons but I think we have to see the wider context than just to see the money around it.
‘We signed six players who are under 23, which means a lot in terms of our planning. Normally, people like to see just one window, so I have to say it is the bigger picture because we started planning this squad a year ago in terms of consolidating the team and to try to get a better foundation.
‘If you remember, in that period we renewed Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli a year ago with the intention to get that kind of base in the team. In a one-year period, we signed 10 players and seven of the 10 are under 23. We renewed seven players in this period as well, just in the first team. Five of the seven are under 23 as well.’
Arsenal brought in Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu, although not all of them are guaranteed to start regularly.
As reported by The Athletic, Edu attempted to encourage Arteta to look at alternative options to Ramsdale due to Sheffield United’s £30million asking fee, but the Arsenal boss was intent on signing the goalkeeper and the club eventually secured a deal for £24million plus add-ons.
Arsenal finished eighth in the league last season and Edu is determined for the team to perform with greater consistency this time around. He said: ‘We have to balance the squad better. We have to recruit the players with the right characteristics and the right profile to make the squad better, more solid and much more consistent because last season we suffered with consistency.
‘Now, I want to give Mikel Arteta and the board a much better squad.’ Edu admits that Arsenal’s start to the season has been unacceptable but has called for unity at the club and re-iterated that he has full confidence that matters will improve. He said: ‘The balance is not easy to get but again, we believe in what we are doing.
‘Talking about my role, I understand the pressure. I understand the pressure on me, Mikel, the board and the club because the situation we are in now is not acceptable. ‘But, now is the moment for everybody to be together and I would like to see people step forward in difficult moments and take the responsibility.
‘I am responsible for what we are doing.’ One area where Arsenal struggled this summer was selling players, with the only departure of a first-team player for a fee being that of Joe Willock, who joined Newcastle for £20million. Others, such as Hector Bellerin, who headed to Real Betis, left on loan while Willian’s contract was terminated by mutual consent to allow him to join Corinthians.
After the international break Arsenal are back in action at home to Norwich next weekend, when Arteta’s team will hope to register their first league win of the season. With the likes of White, Gabriel and Thomas Partey closing in on returns to action, Edu could soon get his wish of seeing Arsenal field their first-choice starting lineup, which he feels will help the team immensely.