Mikel Arteta has spoken of the big changes needed at Arsenal this summer - saying that his team now has to evolve into challengers.
The Gunners have endured a hugely disappointing season and go into Wednesday night’s game with Chelsea out of Europe and sitting ninth in the Premier League.
Arteta accepts that results under his watch have not been good enough and believes what happens off the pitch this summer will be key to getting the club back on track.
What has been said?
Speaking about the scale of the job Arsenal are facing this summer, Arteta said: “There is so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan, a lot of players with contracts still that we have to sort and it will depend what happens with a lot of those players.
“And what we are able to recruit to improve the team is going to determine where we are.
“We have already had an incredible amount of changes throughout the club in the last year or so. More than ever.
"We are looking to be much closer than where we are at the moment. In order to do that there are certain things that we have to improve.
“Now it’s about how we evolve. There are a lot of things that had to be done and they have [been] done. A lot of changes [we had] to make and they have been made.
“And now it’s time to evolve and to evolve you have to take things once they are a little bit more settled and establish them to the next level.”
Progress has been made
Despite admitting results haven’t been good enough this season, Arteta remains adamant that his side has made progress during the campaign.
“We have made progress in many areas,” he said. “I would say performance included and that’s supported by many factors that we have looked at.
“Results-wise, to where we want to be, it has to be improved.
“We have to do better, that we have be much more consistent, to win more games. And in order to do that there are certain things we have to improve.
“We will see what happens in the summer.”
Arteta says plans have long been put in place for the summer transfer window and that he and technical director Edu talk regularly about what needs to be done.
Several players are expected to leave at the end of the season, but Arteta does not believe the club will find themselves in a similar position to January, when they had to pay the likes of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi to move on.
"Hopefully we are not in that position anymore," the Arsenal boss said. “We (Edu and Arteta) have been sitting down the whole year, we have been in constant communication.
“Some things will stick to the plan that we already have and some other things will come out.
“But we sit down very, very regularly to talk about those things, obviously.”