Arsenal boss says their is no rift with club hierarchy as money issues bite
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta insists he has "full faith" in the club's hierarchy and that he has not been sending them messages about finances during recent interviews.
Speaking after the 2-1 victory over Premier League champions Liverpool on Wednesday night, Arteta admitted it is a “big concern” that he may not be given the finances to mount his own title challenge.
The Gunners have seen their coffers take a hit in recent years as they prepare for a fourth season out of the Champions League.
Also affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Arsenal may even find themselves without Europa League revenue as they sit ninth in the table with two games remaining – as well as Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final meeting with Manchester City.
Speaking in April, director Josh Kroenke said the club are currently operating a “Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget” – not helped by the fact players like the out-of-favour Mesut Ozil are earning a reported £350,000 a week.
Since Arsene Wenger left the club, Arsenal have altered their backroom structure with head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu overseeing recruitment.
Former double-winning Arsenal captain Tony Adams hit out at the pair yesterday, claiming they were “out of their depth” at the Emirates Stadium – but they were backed fully by Arteta.
“I have full faith,” he said.
“I have a really good relationship with Raul, with Edu, with Vinai (Venkatesham, managing director) and direct contact with the owners.
“We know what we want to do. That’s not the issue, for sure.
“There are many different aspects. Obviously the financial one, depending on where we finish, is one. Depending on the future of a few players and obviously depending on the transfer market.
“We don’t know the type of transfer market we are going to find. It is something unique, it never happened and there are a lot of question marks around that.”
Arteta also revealed he is in regular contact with owner Stan Kroenke and that his questioning of financial options moving forward was not meant as a veiled warning to the club.
“That was misinterpreted. It wasn’t my intention,” he said when asked if he was sending a message with his comments.
“We work so closely with everyone at the club, with the owners to put the plan that we need to take the club forward. Everybody has the same ambition, we are in all of this together.
“But if you ask me if I know right now what do I have and how can I do it, I’m sorry but I don’t know because there are a lot of questions that we cannot resolve right now with the situation we have.
“One is financially and the other one is because we do not know if we are in Europe, and because we have players that we don’t know what’s going to happen (with). That’s the reality.
“It’s not about sending a message, we all have the same objective which is to try to bring the club back as quickly as possible, fighting with the top teams in the country and in Europe and that’s it, and I want to do that as quickly as possible.
“I speak with them (Kroenke and the directors) and I have a really, really good and open relationship, that’s why when you mention that I am surprised because I don’t need to do that.
“I can make a phone call and speak to them and they have been very, very supportive from the first day that I joined the club and they were very much participating in the decision to bring me back here – and the same with Raul and Vinai and Edu. There are no gaps or friction or anything there.”
Pep Guardiola admits winning semi-finals has always been a tougher challenge for him than winning finals. It does not seem to have been much of a problem for him at City, having won three League Cups and the FA Cup last season.
Yet the three Champions League semi-finals he lost at Bayern Munich raised questions about his ability at the time.
He also lost an FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal in 2017, his first season at City, and the Gunners are again his opponents as he bids to reach the final on Saturday. Guardiola said: “I’ve lost many more semis than finals I’ve played. It’s more difficult, and after we’ll see what happens.”