Belfast Telegraph

Arteta relaxed over summer signings

Vice-captain Mikel Arteta has told Arsenal fans to be patient as new big-money signings are on their way to lift the squad ahead of the new season and help fight for the Barclays Premier League title.

The Gunners showed some form in patches on their return from a gruelling Asia tour during the Emirates Cup at the weekend, coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Rafael Benitez's Napoli on Saturday, but then throwing away a 1-0 half-time lead against Galatasaray when a double from Didier Drogba secured the pre-season tournament trophy for the Turks.

Arsenal's protracted pursuit of Liverpool's wantaway striker Luis Suarez has dominated the headlines, though, with the Anfield club insisting their star man is not for sale and rejecting a £40million plus £1 bid, which was believed would trigger the Uruguayan's release clause.

So far, Arsenal's only confirmed signing this summer has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, a free transfer from Auxerre who was handed a start in attack against Galatasaray.

Spaniard Arteta, however, confirmed the club is working hard behind the scenes to help strengthen the squad ahead of their crucial Champions League play-off later this month.

"I think we are going to start the season with new faces. That is what we are all hoping for. That will give us a big boost and everyone is very positive," said Arteta, himself a deadline day signing from Everton in August 2011.

"It will happen. I have no doubts about it. It takes time, but I know the boss is working really hard on it, and the board as well. It will happen for sure.

"I am very convinced but the great players normally come at the end of the transfer window. The clubs work hard to keep their best players and I think Arsenal will do well in the transfer window."

Arteta knows Arsenal must make the most of the momentum gained from the superb 10-match unbeaten run at the end of last season which saw them snatch fourth place from north London rivals Tottenham.

"We know that we need to start really well from the start," he said. "We can't afford to drop points as we have done at the start of the last couple of seasons. We will start by hitting the ground running."

Arsenal must now regroup for next weekend's final pre-season friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki, before the action kicks off for real with the visit of Aston Villa on August 17.

Arteta added: "We need to close the gap with the teams that are trying to win the titles. We have been too far in the last few seasons. We will start and see how it goes, but we won't be as far this season."

Arsenal are, meanwhile, shortly expected to confirm the sale of Ivory Coast forward Gervinho to Roma and also Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh to newly-promoted Crystal Palace.

Elsewhere, versatile young Gunners Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel, both 20, are reported to be joining Leicester on loan.

Arsenal are also said to be keen on Al Ain talent Omar Abdulrahman, offering the United Arab Emirates London 2012 Olympian a trail according to his club's chairman.


From Belfast Telegraph