Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has given an honest assessment of the problems facing the club, with financial difficulties making his already challenging job even harder.
The Spaniard is extremely committed to his job, but he has said he still needs to buy time and that is hard to do.
Arteta saw his team dismantled by Manchester City in the first game back on Wednesday night, suffering early injuries, playing with 10 men for nearly a whole half and failing to muster even a single shot on target across the full 90 minutes.
The squad needs rebuilding but there are well publicised financial problems from having a ‘Champions League wage bill’ on a ‘Europa League budget’ per the words of Josh Kroenke last summer, which has only been made worse by the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
“I cannot deny that there have been some big challenges along the way but as well I feel so privileged,” Arteta said ahead of facing Brighton at the weekend, via Arsenal.com.
“It's an honour to be in the position that I am. Every decision that I'm going to make is to defend the club in the best possible way, and then get the players on board, get their trust, get them behind me to believe in what I'm trying to do.
“They seem very convinced. We have a lot of rocks at the moment in our way.”
Football is a results business and Arteta knows that time is against the club. Before facing City on Wednesday he warned that the Gunners are in danger of being cut adrift from the rest of the Premier League’s top sides if changes aren’t made immediately.
That is even more stark in light of the result and performance in Manchester.
“We had something against us and that is time. In football, time is difficult to buy and patience is a little bit difficult to do,” the boss explained, although he still things the squad has potential.
“I am convinced because I've seen it with my eyes on a daily basis, a process that takes time and time and time. At the moment, they look like they're going to be flying but we need a little bit of time because a lot of things have happened, more than we expected, in this process. I've been here five months. Time in football is difficult to buy.”
Finances could prove to the real problem that stops Arsenal doing what they want to do.
“I think for all businesses in general, a lot of clubs are going to be in a lot of positions. Don't forget that we have accepted a pay cut, not only the players but the staff on board, to try to help the situation,” Arteta commented.
“I think it was an incredible gesture of unity and commitment from everybody working at the football club, that I'm very proud of. There are consequences and the people who are running the club are very responsible.
“What they don't want to do is put the club in a difficult position. In order to do that, let's first analyse what our finances are going to look like. We know that we have to improve, so let's look at how we can improve it, and let's see what we can do to get the club to the position it deserves.”