Mikel Arteta says Arsenal ready to sign players during January window

Mikel Arteta has indicated Arsenal will remain active this month as he insists they must continue to “maximize” every transfer window.

The Gunners will take on Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday and travel to the City Ground with a reduced team.

There are four players away in the Africa Cup of Nations while Gabriel Magalhees has been suspended and there are some unspecified Covid-19 concerns in the camp.

After spending big over the summer bringing in Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale, it was not expected that the north London club would be very busy in January, but Arteta says they are looking forward to the relationship with the highly-rated Fiorentina. Beaches are open for business. Attacker Dusan Vlahovic.

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Aaron Ramsdale was one of several big-money summer signings (John Walton / PA)

“If it is the right player, we can afford and we can do what we want to do, we will discuss it and come to the best possible decision. We are open,” he said.

“I think with the amount of things and the way we want the team to grow, we have to maximize every window in a lot of different ways.

“We are on alert. (Technical Director) Edu and his team are working very hard because we know exactly what we need to do.

“Whether we can finish it in January or summer is a different question and related to a lot of other things but there we are.”

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Alleny are on international duty, with Ainsley joining Roma on loan with Maitland-Niles leaving Arsenal light in midfield.

Yet Arteta again refused to sign former gunner Jack Wilshere, who has trained with the club in recent months, but only to maintain fitness and expand his coaching knowledge.

The Spaniard said: “I was very clear with Jack about the situation and his role that he would have been here. We continue that way.”

Arsenal’s lack of a substitute in midfield, especially for the month of January, could have been resolved by keeping Maitland-Niles until the end of the month when Partey and Alleny would return from Africa Cup of Nations duty.

But Arteta insisted: “We are very few, but to be fair on one player this cannot be the only argument for trying to keep a player.

I think we have to maximize every window in a lot of different ways depending on the amount of things and the way we want the team to growMikel Arteta

“A player who has been developed and grown through our academy, a player who has been very patient in many moments to try and fulfill his dream.

“He was very direct with me and I understood the situation. We think this is a good option. Obviously we will go ahead and explore alternatives because we are very few there.”

A solution to Sunday’s clash with Forrest would be to drop attacker Emil Smith Rowe with Granit Xaka in the center of the midfield.

Arsenal No 10 has played there this season and was used regularly in that position during his loan spell at Sky Bet Championship club Huddersfield in 2020.

Smith Rowe has scored nine times for the Gunners during the current campaign, but has only started in one of his last seven matches.

Arteta explained: “Well the main reason was that he was not fully fit to play. He is running into a problem and it has not allowed him to train regularly, play regularly and that was the main reason.

“Because in his performance and what he did before that international break, there is no question that he was one of our most important and consistent players.

“Obviously the team is doing well now, there are other players who are doing well and doing well, which changed the situation, but I am very happy with that.”