Arsenal, as the FA Cup winners, are set to face Premier League champions Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday, and head coach Mikel Arteta spoke to the press ahead of the match, providing some updates on the likes of Willian, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and others.
First of all, the boss was asked about Willian adapting to new surroundings. The Brazilian winger will certainly need some time to absorb all the new stuff around him, but he undoubtedly possesses the right qualities to make it as an Arsenal player and help the team going forward. The coach is obviously impressed with the attitude of the 32-year-old, who, having won a lot in his career, is still hungry for more.
Arteta admitted that the moment is not the best to be playing a game like that on Saturday with the team having had very little time to prepare. On the other hand, he claims that the players don’t lack motivation against Jurgen Klopp’s men and are ready to try and win.
The contract situation of Aubameyang was expectedly discussed and the boss is very positive about it. He says there have been a number of talks between himself and the club on one side and the captain and his representatives on the other, and he is pretty confident that a deal will be struck very soon, adding that it would be a massive boost for the team.
As for the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille OSC, Arteta confirmed the existence of a long-standing interest in the young defender, but he also stressed that the deal wasn’t done yet. Asked if he was pleased about Arsenal beating off some stiff competition for his signature, the coach simply said he will be pleased when the deal is done and everything is signed.
Arsenal reportedly rejected a £15 million bid from Wolverhampton Wanderers for Maitland-Niles, and Arteta said he was happy with clubs being interested in his players as it shows those players are good. He likes Maitland-Niles as a player and that is where things stand at the moment, but he admits that if something goes wrong, the club and the player would have to find a solution that suits everyone.
Interestingly enough, Matteo Guendouzi could be given another chance to get his Arsenal career back on track. Arteta says he had spoken to the young Frenchman during the off-season and informed him that he would be treated no different than the rest of the squad. He has to prove that he can contribute in a way that’s expected of him, and then he could be included in the team again.
Meanwhile, the situation with Dani Ceballos remains unclear. Arteta and the club want him to stay at the Emirates next season and the midfielder himself wants the same, but obviously a lot depends on Real Madrid and Arsenal still haven’t been told what the plans of the Spanish giants regarding Ceballos are.