HomeArsenal 'open' to January business but could stick with current squad –...

Arsenal ‘open’ to January business but could stick with current squad – Arteta

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Arsenal are open to improving their squad in the January transfer window but could decide against conducting any business this month, says boss Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners sit fourth in the Premier League table after enduring a three-match winless run during the festive period, drawing with Liverpool before losing to West Ham and Fulham.

They have a break from league action this weekend as the FA Cup third round takes place, though they have been handed a daunting draw as Premier League leaders Liverpool visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Having seen their form nosedive in recent weeks, Arsenal had been tipped to be active in the January transfer window, with Brentford striker Ivan Toney and a new left-back reportedly top of their shopping list.

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However, Arteta moved to dampen supporters’ expectations for the window on the eve of Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool, refusing to give any guarantees regarding incomings.

“We are open for the transfer market but the emphasis is on making the most of the players we have,” Arteta said at Friday’s pre-match press conference.

“We will work with the club to explore whether there are any opportunities and then assess our options.”

Asked if there was a chance the Gunners would opt against doing any business whatsoever, the Spaniard added: “That’s a possibility.”

This week, it was widely reported that Arsenal had written to refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) to complain about the treatment of Bukayo Saka, claiming he is physically targeted by opponents.

Throughout 2023, Saka was the third-most fouled player in the Premier League, behind only Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew and Bruno Guimaraes, being on the receiving end of 87 fouls.

Saka has drawn seven cards in the Premier League so far this season, a figure which puts him joint-sixth among all players but is only half as many as Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling has forced (14).

Asked about the reports, Arteta denied Arsenal had made a specific complaint relating to Saka’s treatment, saying: “We have regular conversations with PGMOL but nothing specific about that one.

“The referees know the tactics of our opponents and know that some players are more targeted.

“Whether that is because of the way they play, inviting more tackles… but I think the officials are well aware of that. Wingers provoke a lot of fouls and attention from defenders. That is normal.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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