Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

Arteta reveals the approach he will use to convince Declan Rice to pick Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has revealed how he intends to convince his main targets to snub interest from rival big-six teams and join Arsenal instead this summer.

The Gunners spent most of the season at the top of the Premier League table but fell away in the run-in, with nine points from a possible 24 opening the door for Man City to reclaim their crown for the third year running.

Arteta is said to have already put plans in place for the summer window in order to close the gap at the top further and has identified West Ham captain Declan Rice as his key target.

But they face a huge battle to sign the England international, with clubs like Manchester United, City and Chelsea all credited with interest.

Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Mason Mount, who is also on the wish list of a number of Premier League giants with Liverpool and United reported to be particularly keen, while another target, Moises Caicedo, is being pursued by Chelsea.

Even if Arsenal can pay the massive fees needed to sign these players, they will still need to convince them to snub rival interest, but Arteta is adamant the project and plans he has for Arsenal will prove very persuasive.

Asked how he intends to attract the top players he wants this summer, Arteta replied: ‘By explaining who we are, how we do things, what we want from them, how we think they are going to fit in in our culture, in our club, and then trying to do the right thing as a club.

‘Buying the right profile for the right amount of money that is going to fit what we are going to do, and in the end players and staff are going to make our car faster and more reliable to have a great season.’

On the need to ‘nail’ the window, he added: ‘We have to nail everything that we do and we have to seek excellence in everything that we touch and participate in [so] that it’s going to have a big impact at the club.

‘Obviously I think the competition is going to be even harder next season than this season – that in my opinion has been the hardest in the 22 years that I’ve been in this league.

‘In order to do that, we have a really promising plan. We may need to reflect a little bit, take a step back, make sure that this is the right one and go again with more determination and hunger in the tummies to do even better.’

If Arsenal are successful in signing Rice, and others, it could pave way for Granit Xhaka to secure a move to Bayer Leverkusen, though Arteta is still coy on the future of the midfielder even though Sunday could be his last game at the Emirates.

When asked for clarity on Xhaka’s future, Arteta replied: ‘No. I cannot talk and I won’t talk about any future of any players or members of staff. We have to wrap up the season and then we will plan the following season.’

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