Mikel Arteta has teased Arsenal‘s interest in bringing one more player in before the closure of the summer transfer window next Monday. The Gunners have had a bid rejected for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and also have long-standing interest in Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal fell to their first defeat of the new Premier League season on Monday night as they fell 3-1 to champions Liverpool at Anfield.
The north London outfit’s winless run at Liverpool’s home stadium continues, having not been triumphant there since 2012, despite Alexandre Lacazette having given the visitors the lead.
Arteta was delighted by the effort of his side – but admits he is keen to continue bolstering his side with Aouar having been the subject of a rejected bid in the region of £35m.
Partey, who has a £45m release clause in his Atletico contract, is another target but Arsenal are only likely to sign one of the duo given their financial constraints.
Arsenal manager Arteta told Sky Sports after the loss to Liverpool: “Well we are trying to improve the team. There’s a week to go, there’s a lot of things happening in and out.”
He added in his post-match press conference: “We don’t have any news on new players and either with players that might leave the football club.
“It’s a week to go, I think it’s going to be really busy for other clubs because not much business has been done. Let’s see what happens.”
It is expected that the Londoners will submit an improved bid for Aouar, who could be prised away from Ligue 1 side Lyon for around £45m.
And he would inject the kind of creativity and final-third ability that was lacking from Arsenal at Anfield, although they had an excellent opportunity to equalise at 2-1 down when Lacazette fired straight at Alisson when one on one.
And quizzed further about the performance of his side, Arteta said: “It’s a really tough place for anybody to come in the world. They set incredible standards and they dominate every aspect of the game.
“Taking in the lead in a really good pattern put us in a really good position to believe more that we could get something out of the game. We conceded too early in a mistake.
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“In the second half we corrected a few things, we were much better. We had some problems still with the ball and we had the best chance in the game.
“When you come to Anfield, you’re not going to get 10 chances. When you get through one against one against the keeper, you have to score if you want to get something out of the game.
“Sometimes they let us play from the back and tried to put us under pressure with the high press. We had our moments, they have different weapons.
“They’ve been together five years. We are in a different moment of our journey. They weren’t able to do that three or four years ago, or two years ago.
“But you can see the standards are this, this is what we have to reach. We have a long way to go but I’m really pleased the way the team competed.
“We stayed in the game for 85 or 90 minutes and this is not easy to do at Anfield.”
The Spanish coach added: “We couldn’t get out much better in some circumstances but we have to read the game sometimes better when we’re struggling to do something different.
“When you go to the opposite side and do the high press probably perfect, they have [Virgil] Van Dijk and he plays a 60-yard pass into [Mohamed] Salah’s chest and they are out. That’s quality.
“I think we gave up the lead too early. We needed a longer period after the goal to settle ourselves.
“The last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half we looked much better, we were much more composed on the ball, more relaxed, we took better positions.
“But after, you are chasing, they can handle, they can provoke you to be a little bit higher in the pitch and use the spaces behind you and they did it well.”
Arsenal and Liverpool return to action when they do battle again at Anfield in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Thursday night (7.45pm kick-off).
The two big six teams also met in the same stage of the same competition last season, drawing 5-5 after extra time before Liverpool won the penalty shootout.
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