Belfast Telegraph

Emery not convinced he has better squad

 

Still unsure: Unai Emery
Still unsure: Unai Emery

By Carl Markham

Unai Emery admits he is unsure if his current Arsenal squad is better than what he had at his disposal last season - even after the club broke their transfer record during a summer of eye-catching signings.

Nicolas Pepe was the star buy, the winger joining from Lille for a fee which could exceed £70m.

Experienced defender David Luiz came in from Chelsea on deadline day along with Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney.

The Gunners - who host Burnley in today's early kick-off - had already landed Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan with 18-year-olds Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba coming in as highly-rated prospects.

Despite such a transfer splurge, Arsenal lost Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, Petr Cech retired and Laurent Koscielny got his wish of an exit to Bordeaux having refused to travel on the club's pre-season tour in a bid to force through a move.

And that means Emery, who saw his side win 1-0 at Newcastle last time out, is in doubt as to whether he has an improved squad from his first campaign.

"I don't know," he replied when asked if his squad is better than a year ago. "Our idea is to improve on last year, to improve our work, our players, our challenge, to improve in achieving our target but I don't know if we are better or not."

Asked if last week's win gives him time to ease in his acquisitions, the Spaniard replied: "Yes.

"It is the reason David Luiz is ready to play on Saturday, Pepe is closer to the first XI and really we are seeing that improvement.

"Ceballos can have more minutes if we need him and also training with us are Mesut (Ozil) and Sead (Kolasinac)."

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