Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Arsenal accept need for reinforcements

In the wake of such a crushing defeat as Tuesday night's Champions League exit to Manchester United there was little for Arsenal's players to do but look forward and hope.

Those prepared to talk yesterday repeated the same mantra. "We will come back stronger." There were, however, two caveats. Cesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor, the spine of the team, all recognised the squad needed strengthening, and could not afford to lose key players.

"I'm very confident we can push on next season," said Fabregas. "We've gone 21 games without being beaten [in the Premier League] and that shows we have improved a lot." Toure added: "Nobody was expecting much from us this season but we showed great spirit and are really proud of what we have done." Their sentiments were echoed by Adebayor who added, "we reached the [Champions League] quarter-final last season and the semis this. I hope that next season we can become winners."

But it is four years since Arsenal won anything and Toure admitted: "We don't know how to win a trophy right now. Winning the first will help us to win some more."

To do so, however, re-inforcements are required, admitted Fabregas. "Manchester United have many, many players who can make a difference," he said, adding: "Chelsea, too. We don't have that same deep squad but we have to cope with it because our job is to play football and the rest is for the boss."

Adebayor was more forthright. "We need some players," he said. "We lost [Alex] Hleb to Barcelona, [Mathieu] Flamini to Milan, and it was quite difficult to play. I think we have taken a step backwards - not only me but the team."

Tellingly Toure said, "We just need to keep the players," before adding, "and if we can bring in some more that would be fantastic."

But will they keep the players? All three have been linked to moves with, in particular, Milan coveting Adebayor, who nearly left last summer, Manchester City chasing Toure, who was on the transfer list mid-season, and Barcelona perpetually associated with Fabregas.