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Mikel Arteta has suggested he will oversee another spending spree at Arsenal this summer and defended his decision to offload five first-team players in January.
Arsenal have recovered from a dismal start to the season to climb to joint-fourth in the Premier League and Arteta’s side are still in a good position to qualify for next season’s Champions League despite recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Liverpool.
A return to Europe will present its own challenges and Arteta expects Arsenal to be busy in the summer transfer window after trimming his squad in January.
Asked if he anticipates a busy summer at the north London club, Arteta said: ‘I am expecting so, yes.
‘I think both competitions [the Champions League and Europa League] require a much larger squad because the amount of games you play is much bigger in both, so I don’t think [which you qualify for] makes a lot of difference or changes a lot.
‘If you can financially afford it and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers.
‘You have to come a long way in the aspects that you see on the pitch, it’s a lot of things that have to be put in place, and that takes time.’
Arsenal’s top-four hopes have been dealt a blow by recent injuries to midfielder Thomas Partey and left-back Kieran Tierney.
The Gunners are short of bodies ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash with Brighton but Arteta insists it was not a mistake to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles leave the Emirates at the start of the year.
He added: ‘They were players that we did not really use. And you put them in the context now, I don’t know how much they would have played. You don’t know, I don’t know.
‘We made a decision on what we believed was the right thing to do for the team and for the individual players that were asking for the opportunity to play football because they didn’t have any minutes in several months.’
Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from Monday night’s shock defeat to Crystal Palace when they play host to Graham Potter’s Brighton tomorrow.
Brighton enjoyed an impressive run earlier in the season but their form has tailed away badly in recent weeks, with the Seagulls not winning a Premier League match since February 12.
Victory for Arsenal could see them climb back into the top-four above north London rivals Tottenham, who visit Aston Villa later in the day.
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Source: Metro Sport