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Arteta looks to strengthen as Arsenal aim high

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LONDON: Mikel Arteta (pix) said Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph last season had raised expectations at the club as he chases new signings to boost their Premier League challenge.

The Gunners finished eighth in the top-flight last year, their lowest position since 1995, but beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final and overcame Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield, the season’s traditional curtain-raiser.

“Every new season brings new expectations,” said Arsenal’s Spanish boss, whose side kick off the new Premier League season on Saturday at newly promoted Fulham.

“I think obviously the way we ended last season and where we are starting this one with a title, obviously people want to see more and more and more.

“This is a really positive sign. We want that type of energy to drive our team forward and tomorrow we have a great test at Fulham.”

Arteta said his players were not content with what they had achieved in his first season at the Emirates but they had been boosted by winning silverware.

“What I see from them is that they want more,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“They are not satisfied and this is what we want to show tomorrow, that we want to go another step forward.”

Arteta praised new recruits Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes but said the club were still active in the transfer market because his squad lacked balance.

“They’ve been training really well, they are adapting quickly, they are really excited to be here with us, really good energy from both of them,” he said.

“Big talents, both in different phases of their careers – someone that is already very established in the Premier League with an incredible quality and another one that has to adapt to this league but has huge potential to become a key player for us in the future.”

But despite his desire for reinforcements, Arteta said the transfer market, which closes on Oct 5, was challenging.

“We have to bear in mind the complications with this transfer market, the complexity and as well the timings,” he said.

“Because you can see that clubs are behaving in many different ways and it is a little bit uncertain how this is going to evolve in the next few weeks.”

The Spaniard calmed the nerves of Arsenal fans by saying he was even more confident than he was at the end of last season that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would sign a new deal.

And he also dismissed suggestions fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette could depart during the current transfer window, adding: “He is really happy here. He wants to keep improving and contributing to the team.”

Arteta, who has been promoted from head coach to first-team manager, said it was “nice to be recognised”.

“I just want to bring this club to be the most successful in this country as quick as possible and in a sustainable way and that’s my ambition,” he said. – AFP

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