EPL

Arsenal still working on new transfer structure as Arteta defends 'contradictory' cuts

By Sports Desk August 28, 2020

Mikel Arteta is still waiting to learn where he fits into Arsenal's transfer structure following the departure of Raul Sanllehi, but he defended the club's expenditure amid redundancies and pay cuts.

Arteta, whose FA Cup winners face Premier League champions Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday, is overseeing his first pre-season as head coach at Emirates Stadium.

But the former Gunners captain is not yet entirely sure of how he fits into the set-up during the transfer window, even as Arsenal have already signed Willian and closed on a deal for Gabriel Magalhaes.

Head of football Sanllehi departed earlier this month, with managing director Vinai Venkatesham taking control.

"It's something that we are discussing at the moment," Arteta said.

"First of all, I want to wish Raul all the best, all my respect and admiration, because I worked alongside him and enjoyed working with him.

"The club made that decision, a very difficult decision, as well. But the way he left the club, I think he honoured them. Everybody had nice words towards him.

"Now we have to figure out what is the best way to run our football club on the sporting side. That's what we are trying to do while trying to achieve as well all of the targets that we have for this transfer market."

Arsenal's business has been complicated further by disapproval of their spending while announcing 55 staff redundancies.

The first-team squad also took a pay cut during football's shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, although Mesut Ozil refused and was critical of "pressure" from the club.

As Arsenal aim to complement the arrivals of Willian and Gabriel with a costly new contract for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arteta said: "I understand.

"If you look only from a financial point of view, you can get some contradictory messages.

"But what is clear is the club had a very thorough plan for how to restructure our club in order to function better and to be more stable for the future.

"They were very convincing with the argument that they gave to all of us that it was the right thing to do.

"Obviously, [the redundancies are] really sad, and during the COVID period, we had to make the decision to get our players to contribute to the pay cut. One of the reasons was to maintain some of [the staff], as well.

"We're trying to do the right thing and the club is trying to protect the future of our club as much as possible.

"The players were happy to contribute to help the club in this difficult financial position. That doesn't mean that after you're going to have a say in every decision made by the club. It cannot work like that.

"At the end of the day, it was not an obligation, it was a choice whether you wanted to do it or not.

"We tried to do the right thing in a human way to help a club that has been supporting us, in my case, for many, many years, whether you were injured, sick, performing or not performing.

"We believed that it was the right thing to do, and then the club has to be free to try to fight for the future in the most positive and stable way."

However, Arteta acknowledged Arsenal must find "the right balance" with outgoing transfers, adding the club are "very aware" of the need to meet Financial Fair Play regulations.

Meanwhile, the coach would not confirm if any players will miss the Liverpool match due to self-isolation measures but said Arsenal "have some different problems".

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