Mikel Arteta doesn’t believe that Arsenal failing to qualify for Europe next season will impact the players he wants to bring to the club and he names five attractive things about the Gunners that players like.
For the longest time, we were told that staying in the Champions League was important because it would impact the decisions of players we wanted to sign.
Then we dropped out of the Champions League into the Europa League and were told it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, in terms of convincing players to join, at least.
Now, unless Arsenal beat Chelsea and win the FA Cup, it’s highly likely there will be no Europe at all for Arsenal and Mikel doesn’t think that will be a problem, either.
“I don’t think we should bring players that need a lot of convincing,” he said ahead of Arsenal’s penultimate league game of the season against Villa on Tuesday night.
“The feeling I get when I talk to a lot of people is that the players still want to come to the club because of the history, the way we do things, our values, the fans we have, our stadium. That’s a really attractive thing, that’s my feeling.”
With Aston Villa still fighting for their Premier League survival, Arteta knows that his current crop of player will need to be at their best on Tuesday night if they are to get anything from the game.
Let’s not deny it, if it hadn’t been for Bernd Leno during the first half of the season, there’s every chance we would be closer to Villa than we are to Spurs. Arsenal have collected just 22 points more than Villa this season. We are also 22 points away from Manchester City, and they didn’t even win the league.
Leno is sixth in the number of Premier League saves made with 113 and he hasn’t played the last six-and-a-half games.
But with Arsenal still hoping to finish as high as possible in the table they will be hoping to build on recent wins over Liverpool and Manchester City and to keep their momentum going ahead of their FA Cup final on 1 August.
As such, Mikel Arteta knows he needs to make sure Arsenal are as focused as Villa, something the Gunners aren’t exactly renowned for.
“Absolutely [Aston Villa have everything to fight for], they have massive urgency because they probably have to win both games to have a chance to survive,” said Arteta.
“When you are in that situation where you are fighting for your lives, they’re going to give absolutely everything. We have to be in the same mood, we have to win both games and wait to have a chance to qualify for Europe and that’s the mood I want [from] everyone involved.”
Villa have lost their last three league games while Arsenal go in on the back of two wins and a draw.
Arsenal have also not lost to Villa since that opening day game at the start of the 2013/2014 season when Anthony Taylor fully introduced himself to Gooners everywhere.