Mikel Arteta needs to improve Arsenal’s mental strength ahead of next season if they are to progress to the next level, according to ex-Liverpool player and pundit Mark Lawrenson.
The Spaniard oversaw a marked improvement in the Gunners form last season after missing out on European football entirely in 2020-21. Arteta oversaw a £140 million overhaul of the squad last summer and the impact was immediate with Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard all impressing.
He was not afraid to make bold decisions either. In December he banished club captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the first-team squad for arriving back late from a trip to France. The following month, the striker’s contract was cancelled and he joined Barcelona on a free transfer.
While such decisions impressed Lawrenson, he feels there is still work to be done by Arteta and not just in the transfer window. He points to the mentality that brought on patchy form, something that ultimately saw them surrender a Champions League spot to Tottenham.
“It’s a bit harsh on Arteta. You can see what he’s trying to do,” he said in an interview with 888Sport. “He got rid of Aubameyang to Barca because he’s no good in the dressing room. He’s a good player but if you’re got all these talented kids you need a good dressing room. It could never happen of course but a Tony Adams at Arsenal now would be brilliant. In every single way.
“I only know about Liverpool’s dressing room but Milner, Van Dijk and Henderson run it. There is stuff in there that happens that never reaches the manager and that’s exactly what you want.
“With Arsenal, Arteta is changing things slowly but still, you look at them and they can win four or five on the spin but then they lose three. He needs to get at them in between their ears as much as anything because they’ve got massive ability.”
While millions will be spent on new recruits at the Emirates this season, improving the mental fortitude of his players is a way Arteta can improve his side for free this summer.
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