Football News

Unai Emery plays down defensive reinforcements for Arsenal as deadline day looms

By Ben Green

Published: 10:29, 6 August 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has suggested the club will only enter the transfer market before the deadline if the right player becomes available. 

The Gunners have made four signings this summer, but only one defensive reinforcement with the acquisition of teenage centre-back William Saliba, who has subsequently returned on loan to his former club Saint-Etienne for the 2019/20 season.

Could Arsenal yet bolster their backline? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal received heavy criticism for their defensive frailties last season.
  • They kept only eight Premier League clean sheets and conceded more goals than the likes of Everton, Newcastle and Leicester City.
  • Laurent Koscielny could also leave, while Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding remain sidelined.
  • As such, Arsenal have been actively pursuing Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.
  • But, having had multiple bids rejected, Emery has now hinted that their summer spending has concluded.

Emery drew widespread criticism for his defensive setup last campaign, with his side’s vulnerabilities laid bare on multiple occasions, prompting calls from the terraces for an improved backline.

However, the Spaniard is yet to invest in an immediate solution to his leaky defence, instead opting to bolster his frontline. Despite heavy interest in Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, he has hinted that Arsenal’s summer business could very well be finished.

When asked about the club’s recruitment plans for the coming days, he replied: “It has not changed, our idea and our message.

“Only if we can sign a player who really, really can improve our squad, then we are going to do that. If not, then not.

“We have good competitive players to achieve or try to achieve our target this season and we are going to be looking at something if we can sign someone, but with this idea.

“Only, and only, if we can improve.”

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Emery rules out Coutinho transfer

Despite Arsenal fans calling for upgrades on the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, the Gunners have continued to be linked with further improvements in the final third, with Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho the latest attacker to emerge on the grapevine.

Arsenal have already secured Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli in the frontline department, but the Brazilian will not be adding to that mix, according to Emery.

He told Cadena Ser: “We’ve never talked about Coutinho.

“He’s a splendid player, but we haven’t talked about Coutinho at any time.”