Arsenal had a brilliant transfer window in terms of incomings. The Gunners brought in Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes, Alex Runarsson and, most importantly, Thomas Partey a few minutes before deadline.
Mikel Arteta has a really strong squad at the moment. The additions will certainly improve Arsenal but the Gunners boss’s role in convincing some of his players to stay was also key to the club’s ambitions.
Keeping hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Arsenal’s top priority this summer. Arteta convinced the Gunners skipper to stay and he’s now tied to a long-term deal.
Aubameyang wasn’t the only Arsenal player who needed convincing. Bukayo Saka was in the final year of his contract, while Hector Bellerin reportedly had doubts about his future as well.
The Arsenal boss convinced both to stay but there was one player who Arteta himself had doubts about.
At one point Ainsley Maitland-Niles was deemed surplus to requirements at Arsenal. The versatile Englishman has had his ups and downs at the Emirates and Arteta was open to letting him leave earlier this summer.
Wolves were reportedly close to signing Maitland-Niles in August (Sky Sports). The 23-year-old could easily have left the Gunners in search of regular playing time and, if Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano is to be believed, one of the biggest clubs in the world was interested.
He told the Here We Go Podcast: “Barcelona were really interested in Ainsley Maitland-Niles before they signed Sergino Dest (from Ajax). Mikel Arteta was key to keeping the player.”
Arsenal fans have heard the phrase “Arteta was key” many times in the past few months.
The Gunners boss was rightly promoted from head coach to manager and his job convincing players to stay at the Emirates could make a huge difference this season.