Mikel Arteta admits he has “big concerns” about whether he’ll be given transfer funds to improve his squad in order to compete with the top teams next season.
Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker errors gifted Arsenal a 2-1 victory as Liverpool’s hopes of breaking the Premier League points record were dashed at the Emirates Stadium.
The result, sealed by Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson goals, took Arteta’s side to within three points of Wolves in sixth but the Arsenal boss wasn’t getting carried away in the aftermath.
When asked about whether he’s worried about Arsenal’s lack of transfer funds, the Spaniard revealed he was unsure if he’ll be given the required financial backing in the summer to get Arsenal closer to the top teams in the Premier League.
Arteta said “It’s a big concern. You can see how [Liverpool] build their squad and there is no magic, you need to improve the squad with quality, quality players. And we need a bigger squad to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.
“It’s a massive job.
You only have to look at the difference between the two teams – it’s enormous.
The gap in many areas we can’t improve it in two months but the gap between the accountability, the energy, the commitment and the fight between the two teams is now equal.
“Before it wasn’t like this. I’m very proud of that. The rest will take some time but at least we’ve got that now and my message to the players is with that we can create something.”
Arsenal’s financial outlook is not rosy – and that’s before we even consider the implications of the coronavirus crisis. They are already facing a fourth consecutive season outside of the Champions League. A failure to secure a Europa League place would cost them further revenue.
Arteta knows that, but he also knows that Arsenal’s hopes of closing the gap on the teams above them will rest on strengthening the squad this summer and beyond. His comments after Wednesday’s game were another clear message to KSE, Arsenal’s American owners: If you want to take the club back at the top, you need to pay for it.
Defeat at the Emirates was the first time Jurgen Klopp had lost to Arsenal in his five-year tenure at Liverpool.
It ended the champions’ hopes of breaking Manchester City’s 100-point Premier League record points haul, leaving Klopp to rue two costly and uncharacteristic defensive mistakes.
Liverpool defender Van Dijk refused to accept Liverpool’s title triumph as an excuse for their defeat at Arsenal, adding: “We gave them goals as a present.
“We dominated and put pressure on them but gave them two goals and obviously then it’s difficult to come back. If you give goals away like we did today, including myself, you get what you deserve.
“The goals shouldn’t happen, but until then nothing was wrong. We pressed them and scored a fantastic goal.
A moment of concentration [cost us] and that was unfortunately something we had to deal with twice. It’s so easy to blame us having won the title.
“I had a feeling we could win here comfortably, but if you give them goals you see what happens. I made a mistake, I take the blame for it, I take it as a man, and we move on.”