The last few seasons with Arsene Wenger in charge of the team saw Arsenal start a journey on a road no supporter wants to see his club take. From title races and regular involvement in the Champions League, the Gunners have reached a point where they aren’t taking part in any European competition.
Wenger was replaced by Unai Emery, and after about a season and a half, the club appointed their former captain and assistant manager at Manchester City, Mikel Arteta, to try and get things back on track. It’s fair to say we haven’t seen that yet, albeit the Spaniard did win the 2020 FA Cup, followed by the Community Shield.
The club’s owners, the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, have been rightly criticized for many things. But after the European Super League fiasco earlier this year, they promised to back Arteta in the summer transfer market strongly, and they came good on that promise. The club has spent around £130 million on the signings of Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, even though the only sale they’ve made so far is the one of Joe Willock to Newcastle for around £25m.
It certainly seems that Arteta has got the players he wanted this summer, so the question is, when should the manager be expected to start making the most of the squad at his disposal and delivering results?
In all honesty, the defeat to Chelsea on Sunday can hardly be seen (objectively) as a big failure, but the one to newly promoted Brentford in the opening round certainly can. Even so, such slipups happen even to better-oiled teams like Liverpool or Manchester City. At this point, it’s early to judge what Arteta is doing with this new set of players, particularly when you consider that some of the new signings are yet to play a game. The upcoming clash against his former employers, the reigning Premier League champions at the Etihad, is also not a good yardstick.
But come next summer, if Arsenal aren’t at least back in the Europa League, the time may be for the club to consider parting ways with the Spaniard and look at alternative options.