Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s transfer business could go right down to the wire on Deadline Day as they look to add a central midfielder to their ranks, following injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny.
Albert Sambi Lokonga came into midfield to partner Granit Xhaka for Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa which keeps Arsenal top of the Premier League.
However, despite their perfect start of five wins from five, Arteta admits he is wary about his strength in depth in the middle of the park following a spate of injuries and says Arsenal could do a deal on Deadline Day if the right player becomes available.
“We are looking at options,” said Arteta. “Obviously [Elneny’s injury] has an impact because Thomas Partey is injured and we are a bit short in that position. We do have Albert Sambi Lokonga and Granit Xhaka who can play there.
“We are just looking at options in the market. As I said, the club has been super supportive to try to keep improving the squad and the team as we can, and if the right player is available and we can do it, we will try.”
Arteta seemed particularly cautious of the busy schedule ahead for his squad, with a Europa League campaign added to their domestic commitments this season, on top of a winter World Cup.
“We were pretty protected in [central midfield] and now we are more exposed, but we have to be prepared for uncertainties, injuries and suspensions,” he said. “Things like that can happen, especially this season it’s going to be really strange with the World Cup. So, we try to prevent things but sometimes it is not easy.”
When asked if there is much money left in the bank, he added: “I’m not a financial guy. I think that’s a question for someone else.”
Gerrard: I’m not in control of Douglas Luiz situation
Meanwhile, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard said his recruitment team were also working hard to deliver a Deadline Day boost – although he also discussed the potential exit of Douglas Luiz.
“I’m not in control of that,” said Gerrard, when asked whether Luiz – who scored a sensational goal from a corner – would still be at the club at the end of Thursday. “There are more than two people in control of that but I’m certainly not one of them.
“That will be Douglas, that will be his agent’s decision as to what happens around that. I’d like to keep him because he’s a fantastic player. I’ve made that abundantly clear.
“We are not in a position where we need to lose our top players, but at the same time, Douglas has got a year to go, and it is one of those really touchy situations where the club have to do what is best for the club and not necessarily what’s best for me.”
On incomings, he said: “There’s obviously very little time left, but people are working ever so hard in the background to try and get some support in where we feel like we need it. I don’t think it makes sense for me to say where and how many, but we are working hard to try and make additions and for one or two to go the other way.”
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