Arsenal’s squad needs changing, admits struggling Mikel Arteta

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<span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Mikel Arteta expects to be backed heavily by the Kroenke family in his efforts to reverse Arsenal’s slide and accepts significant changes to a floundering squad will be required over the summer.

Arsenal host West Brom on Sunday in what is virtually a dead rubber, with the sides having purely mathematical chances of qualifying for Europe and escaping relegation respectively. Thursday’s Europa League semi-final exit to Villarreal has put Arteta in a deeply uncomfortable position and only a handful of his core first-teamplayers seem assured of a place in his long-term plans.

Related: In trouble from top to bottom: chaotic Arsenal are failing in all areas | Nick Ames

“The squad needs changing.” he said. “There were already a lot of changes in December, something that has not been done in years, but it tells us where we were. Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to back it up.”

Asked whether the owners had promised a sizable budget in order to carry out those alterations, Arteta nodded. Arsenal stand to lose a hefty eight-figure sum after missing out on European football in 2021-22 and, having announced a £47.8m loss in March, are braced for an even bigger financial hit next year. But the under-fire Kroenkes have suggested they are ready to help the club reverse what Arteta described as a trend of losing ground with their rivals.

“Time is catching up right now,” he said. “It’s a trend, it’s years now that this has been happening. If the distance and the margins with the rest become too big, then it’s almost impossible to do it. We are still on time and we have put some very strong pillars and foundations in the last few months to do what we have to do.”

Arteta’s job security has come under severe scrutiny in recent days but Arsenal are understood to be in no mood for a change. He replied “Yes” when questioned on whether he believed he could still manage a top team. “We know what has been going on inside here for the last 18 months,” he said. “We know. We only know, the ones that are here. How we have built that is incredible.”