With Mesut Ozil finally moved on and funds freed up from other deals during January, Kevin Campbell claims the summer transfer window is going to be “key” for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal.
The Gunners have worked hard over recent weeks to “clear the decks”, with the likes of Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos also offloaded on loan or permanent deals.
Arteta is starting to shape the squad he inherited from Unai Emery in his own image, with the creative talents of Martin Odegaard snapped up from Real Madrid on an agreement through to the end of the season.
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It remains to be seen whether the Norwegian sticks around in north London, with various other playmaking targets said to be in the Gunners’ sights.
Whoever they bring in, Campbell admits that a big window is approaching, with Arsenal hoping to enter that in the best possible shape by surging towards a finishing post in 2020-21.
“I think you have to look at this season first,” former Gunners striker Campbell told Sky Sports, with a welcome return to form helping to keep top-four dreams alive for Arteta’s side.
“You need to look at what is being done, getting that dressing room up to speed, getting the culture is really important.
“Now, for the second half of the season, there is no disruption in the dressing room. They are on a bit of a run at the moment. Mikel Arteta is looking for the results to improve.
“Then when you look at next season, the summer window is going to be the key.
“There is room on the wages side to bring players in and now the team has got to reflect Mikel Arteta. It is going to be his team from the summer, so I think it’s really important that he gets it right.”
Campbell added on Arsenal’s business over the winter, with the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, William Saliba and Reiss Nelson being allowed to leave on loan: “I think Mikel Arteta had to clear the decks.
“There were some players there who weren’t playing, who were on high wages, so we needed to clear room there.
“There were also some young players that needed game time, they need to develop, but they are not going to get the game time at Arsenal.
“Maitland-Niles is a prime example – England international who just isn’t getting enough game time. With the Euros coming up, he wants to play a part for England.
“He is an immensely talented player but I’m not sure about what’s going on in the background at Arsenal and why he’s not getting starts. He wants to play in the centre of midfield and Arsenal have an abundance of talent in that position, so I can only wish him well.”