Every word Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta just said on Partey debut, Tierney, Ozil and Saliba loan
A full transcript of Mikel Arteta's pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal's clash with Manchester City. The manager discussed Thomas Partey's transfer, Mesut Ozil, Arsene Wenger, William Saliba and Pep Guardiola.
How quickly will Thomas Partey be integrated into the matchday squad?
He was here just yesterday, getting familiar with everything around the club. Today he will have his first training session. Everything has to come really quickly for him.
We knew that before we signed him. But he's fit, he's very willing to start playing. We will see how he goes in the next few days.
Arsene Wenger used to say it will take foreign players six months to adapt, do you agree?
I think it's something very individual depending on many factors: how they settle in the city with the family, whether they speak the language, whether their qualities fitted the Premier League more. It's very particular, you see players adapting really quickly and others taking a long time.
Arsenal fans and players are very excited about Partey, how exciting is it for you?
I've seen the buzz around the place. The fans are really happy, I've seen some really positive reactions after we brought him. The same with the team and staff. We have rated him for a long time. We have managed to bring him in. He's going to be a really important addition to the team.
What confidence does your strong start give the squad?
I'm confident in what we're doing, it's very early to say where we will be at the end of the season. A lot of things have to happen, a lot of improvement has to be made from us as a team.
We know what we have to do, we know the level of competition we are facing in this league. We are happy with the recruitment that we've done in this transfer window and we need to get better and better every week.
How is Partey settling in?
Very good, he hasn't trained yet with us. He got to know some of his team-mates, not all of them because a lot of them were still on international duty but we'll have everyone back today. It will be a good day to get him to know everyone.
What positives will you take from Sheffield United win into Manchester City?
It will be a completely different game. Sheffield's approach when they played us was very different to City's, very different demands in terms of what we have to do with and without the ball as well.
I'm really happy the way we managed to win the game and how patient we were and the improvements compared to last year against this type of opposition. The level of difficulty in Manchester will be another level.
What have you made of Manchester City so far this season?
They still produce incredible numbers in everything they do. In my opinion they've been really unlucky with some of the results they've got. They should have put games to bed very early. The level of efficiency of the opponents when they had chances or half chances have punished them a lot.
I haven't seen many decreases in the level of their playing or what they are producing game by game. I haven't seen any of that.
Third meeting with Pep Guardiola, do you feel you know him better tactically than anyone else going into this game?
I don't know, I know him really well because we worked together for four years and very closely. We both know how we think and the solutions that can be made.
After is to try to prevent them executing on the football pitch when everything is going a hundred miles an hour which is very difficult, much more difficult than just on tactics boards.
What was your view on Project Big Picture?
It was a very clear statement from the Premier League on what is going to happen. We all have to review the context and how we can help each other and make football more sustainable.
It has to be agreed by everybody and yesterday's statement was very clear regarding that.
Arsenal would have benefited from the proposals, could it have damaged relationships between the club and the 14?
I don’t think so. It's very special the way the Premier League has conducted over the years compared to other leagues in Europe. That's a massive strength. If we can maintain that unity and sustain our way of doing things that's very valuable and the image we project to the outside world is really, really strong.
Is one club, one vote, important for the Premier League?
I don’t know. If you ask individually all the clubs probably they have different opinions. We have to find a way that works for everybody that can make this game sustainable and we can still evolve.
We have to move, we have to share a vision in order to achieve that because at the end of the day it's for the benefit of every club.
It seems like you think it needs some kind of reform?
I think we have to protect the lower leagues, this is our obligation. If we want to produce grassroots and opportunities for everyone in this industry it's fair to assess that situation and find the best possible way to achieve that. This is our responsibility as well.
What is the situation with Kieran Tierney?
This is getting very complicated when we send players abroad and lose control. Some authorities have different regulations to the ones in the Premier League. We are still having some discussions and hopefully we will have more news this afternoon.
Did he have COVID-19 in the summer?
I cannot discuss individual medical things.
Is there any chance he plays?
I hope so.
Will Mesut Ozil be in the Premier League squad?
He wasn’t the only one that is not in the squad. It was a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level where they know that they cannot get involved is really tough.
I don’t like it at all but the decision has to be made because we have an excess on foreign players and unfortunately we have to make that decision.
Arsene Wenger said it's a waste and that you have to find a way to get him involved. Do you take on board that?
You have to try to find a way to fit every player with their own qualities. This is our job and responsibility with all the players you have to manage.
Do you wish players didn't go on international duty?
At the end of the day we know we have a responsibility with our players with international duties, that we have to give the opportunity to our players to do that.
International football needs our players, if not it wouldn't work. We can still make things a little bit better for the future and hopefully this international break helps to minimise some of the errors that have been done.
The reality as well is that there are always some risks whether they are here or there. Clarify certain rules, certain protocols, try to unify them to give ourselves the best possible chance to protect our players and protect the clubs as well.
Did you have any doubt on Partey?
Yes! When it’s up to the last minutes it’s always a risk. A lot of things have to happen at the same time. It was a challenge to do it in 24 hours but I'm really happy because at the end we managed it.
Are Atletico annoyed?
I don’t know, when you have a release clause in your contract you assume that that situation can arise at any minute. While the market is open it's completely legal to do it. We have had some communication with them prior to that as well so hopefully they can respect that action.
How excited should people be for Kevin De Bruyne vs Partey?
Let’s see, he needs to put a training session today and see how he goes in the next 48 hours. Then we will make a decision on whether he plays or not.
Are you surprised Guardiola hasn't signed a contract yet?
It's up to him. The last time I heard an interview he was still really happy there and he was talking about the future, some of the signings they have done recently they are really young players so I don't know. I just want to see him happy.
Does the Guardiola-Arteta rivalry feel a bit old?
The fixtures at Manchester City and Liverpool are, I think, getting really tough. The fixtures we have in the next few weeks will be really difficult. We know the opponent we are facing. We know the level we have to be individually and collectively to beat them.
We haven't had much time to prepare the game because today is our first training session all together but we'll try to go to Manchester to win the game.
Did you say you aren't at the level to beat them?
No that we have to be at a really top level individually and collectively to beat them.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal slots past Ederson of Manchester City (Image: (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images))
I'd say Arsenal and Manchester City are at quite a similar level, aren't they?
Our ambition is to go there and try to beat them again. We know the challenge, we know how hard it is. Every detail, every individual performance has to be top. We have to control a lot of aspects of the game against them that might be very different to the ones we had to control against Sheffield.
We have to be able to adapt as a team when we face this kind of opposition.
Is it time to give international football a rest?
No. I think international football has to continue going. There are competitions that have to happen, that were already delayed last summer. They have to take place because as well those organisers have to be susstainable.
We all understand that, what we’re asking is to try to unify those protocols and rules to try to create a safe environment for our players and protect the clubs. Obviously the impact of having a few players out when we resume the Premier League is really big.
Eddie Nketiah broke the England Under-21s goalscoring record, how close is he to being a weekly starter?
He’s very close because he's already challenging everybody every week whether he's a starter or not. I always have that with him because of the way he trains and performs. His goalscoring record is getting better and better every week.
He's evolving in the right way, this is what we need, players challenging and knocking on the door to become starters for us.
Do you understand fan frustration on pay per view games?
Yes I completely understand. We are having more discussions with the Premier League and broadcasters to achieve a good solution with all parties. It's an unprecedented situation. We are learning from it and trying to adapt to it and trying to make the right decision.
Football is made on our fans and the viewers we have. We have to respect them and have them as much as possible on board with us. We really need them and can see how different this sport is without them.
Do you expect any loanees going out, particularly William Saliba?
Not at the moment.
You're expecting Saliba to stay?
Arsene Wenger said he would like to come back and cheer the team on, what is your reaction?
I would like to see him back around us. He was a massive figure for me and he's someone that I can still learn a lot of things from and I would like to have him closer to us.
Obviously the actual environment doesn't allow us to do it, but I think he's a figure that has to be very present in what we do at the football club because he is, in my opinion, the one who had the vision and helped this club to evolve and be what it is today.
Did you get a new contract when you switched from head coach to manager?
No. It's the way we're moving our structure right now because we believed it was going to be more efficient. We made a lot of changes and we are still adapting.
Things will evolve in the future even more regarding the needs that we have but we have a very clear idea of how we wanted to run the club and the right people that we need in every department to try to achieve what we are trying to do. We believe that was the right structure for us to work and move forward.
Are there any plans for you to sign an extension?
I don't know! We just finished the transfer window at the moment, but I can say that I'm really happy at the club and that I feel valued, I feel respected and very supported at the moment.
My concerns are with all the work we have to do here, with the improvement we need around the team and trying to sustain the level of performances and get better.
Would you want a new contract?
Yes, but I have to earn that. Now in football you have to earn it every week and things change really quickly, so we have to be on our toes. Obviously, it's my responsibility to plan medium and long-term as well, but that's with or without me.
At the end, the time that I'm going to be at this football club will be related to how much I can move the club forward, improve the team and be a success on the pitch and get the values and the vision that I want to implement into this club as well off the pitch.