When Mikel Arteta was appointed as Unai Emery’s successor at Arsenal in 2019, the demands from the top were clear.
“Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it.”
Fast-forward two years and the Gunners appear further away than ever from truly competing for the biggest trophies.
A memorable run to the FA Cup in his first season was predicted to be the groundwork for a period of success at The Emirates.
But in the year since their success at Wembley, Arsenal have gone backwards under the Spaniard, finishing last season trophyless and failing to qualify for European football for the first time in 25 years.
But despite the struggles on the field, Arsenal’s ownership continued to back the former midfielder, financing a £150million summer spending spree.
In what Arteta describes as an “unprecedented” overhaul, the Gunners have let more than 20 players leave the club this year, while their six new arrivals will all add extra depth to the squad.
But there has still been criticism for the club’s plan in the most recent window, with many pointing to the fact that, on the whole, the signings appear for the future, rather than now.
Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, even £24m Aaron Ramsdale are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the first-team this season.
However, in a message to supporters following the transfer window, Arteta has hinted that his remit is now for a rebuild in the medium, or long term.
“We are trying to build a medium to long-term project, which needs immediate results,” he told the club’s website. “That only happens in elite sport and most importantly in football. We have to embrace that challenge. It is what it is.
“We cannot change that and we don’t want to change that, because we want results right now. That’s what we have to put on top of the players’ heads. It has to happen now and it has to keep improving in the medium and long term, and that’s it.”
He also suggested that the position the club find themselves in, has lent itself to the type of window they have had.
“The fact that we don’t play in Europe, [we] needed a substantial change,” Arteta continued. “On top of that, we needed to recruit in a lot of positions. In order to do that, we had to spread the money and how it was spent wisely.”
There still appears some pressure on immediate results, starting with Norwich City this weekend, but the demand to be at the pinnacle of Europe appears to be on the backburner whilst Arteta’s long term overhaul takes shape.