Unai Emery believes he can still attract top-class players to Arsenal despite the Gunners failing to land Champions league football ahead of next season.
Emery’s men failed miserably at their last opportunity to secure elite Euro status after losing to Chelsea in the Europa League cup final in Baku, Azerbaijan this week. The humiliating 4-1 defeat consigns them to more second tier European football given that this was the last chance salon because they finished fifth in the Premier League table.
He accepted that it was a huge blow but when quizzed on whether this will affect transfers, the Spanish coach told the club’s official website:
“Maybe, but I think we are a big team. I think Arsenal is a big name in the world of football. A lot of players want to play here. We are in one process and we need, in this process, to be strong in our idea, to be strong in our way. It’s the reason we started this season.
“The idea was to get more competitive like a team, be closer to other teams, and we did that. At the moment, it’s not enough for our target, but the next week and next year that idea will continue in our minds. I don’t know our targets for next year, but the club is working to improve and do everything in our way.”
Emery states that Arsenal have a lot of players who have the possibility to improve and grow with the club, commenting:
“For example, we have given a lot of youngsters their first experience of a final. I am positive for our future, creating our way with young players who are getting better in our way.”
Pressed on the landscape going forward in terms of what players will come and those who will be shown the door at the Emirates Stadium, Emery added:
“We need to analyse, we need to speak with the club, we need to speak also with the players. We need to do one step more in our way but my idea, our idea, is to carry on our improvement with the players, with the young players that arrived last year and maybe some players need to leave to also take a new way.”
What is clear that changes will need to be made and the rebuild should start sooner rather than later. It’s going to be a busy summer ahead for Emery, his staff and those players who are staying at the club.
But despite the disappointment of the defeat and an unhappy season overall, Emery remains upbeat. He reiterated that the squad boasts
“good, big players with experience and some young players who can, in the next year, with the experience of this year, take a little greater performance for us”.
“I think this year we used it to be closer to the other teams and next year we need the same players, the same idea, maybe also to add some new players to give us some situations we can improve. But it’s the same way as this year. To do one step more and I think the next year, a lot of players who played this year — the first time with us — can be better and can give more performance for us.”