Arsenal boss Unai Emery unsure if squad has improved
Emery confirms Arsenal are working on new deals for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Last Updated: 17/08/19 7:50am
Unai Emery does not know if his Arsenal squad is better than last season's - even after the club broke their transfer record during a summer of eye-catching signings.
Nicolas Pepe was the star buy of a busy transfer window, the winger joining from Lille for a fee which could eventually exceed £70m, defender David Luiz arrived from Chelsea on Deadline Day along with Scotland left-back Kieran Tierney.
The Gunners - who host Burnley in Saturday's early kick-off - had already landed Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan with 18-year-olds Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba also coming in.
Going the other way, Arsenal lost Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, Petr Cech retired and Laurent Koscielny got his wish of an exit to Bordeaux having refused to travel on the club's pre-season tour in a bid to force through a move.
Asked if his squad was better than a year ago, Emery said: "I don't know. Our idea is to improve on last year, to improve our work, improve our players, improve our challenge, to improve in achieving our target but I don't know if we are better or not.
"I'm not more confident but I have more options. I think on Saturday I can have more options in some positions in the team to decide the first XI and the players on the bench.
"But really I could play the same players as last week or on Saturday I could play some who were less in the possibility to play last week because they trained less.
"This match on Saturday I will have more options, I will have closer some players giving us their best performance."
Emery took his time in integrating new players into his side at the start of last season and none of his new recruits started their season-opening 1-0 win at Newcastle.
Some need to improve their match fitness, while Tierney is sidelined by a groin injury and Saliba has returned to Saint-Etienne on a season-long loan.
But Emery feels victory at St James' Park with a side that included teenage academy products Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock means he does not have to rush any of his new faces into the team.
He added: "It is the reason for me now for example, David Luiz is ready to play on Saturday, Pepe is closer to play in the first XI and really we are seeing that improvement in each training.
"Ceballos can be with more minutes if we need him and also training with us are Mesut (Ozil) and Sead (Kolasinac), it is more important to have more options and be competitive in the first XI and on the bench."
'We're working on new deals'
Emery also confirmed Arsenal are working on new deals for forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
"They are very important players and their contracts need to be in the same balance," he said. "It's one circumstance, one issue now, that the club is working on.
"Edu [techincal director] is here for that reason. There's also Raul [Sanllehi] and Huss [Fahmy], working with the players for that. It's important for them, but my focus is on preparing the matches, each training session and making sure the players are focused and concentrated for us and on the work."
Lacazette is under contract until 2022 while Aubameyang's deal runs until 2021.
Thought the transfer window was closed? Wrong. Across Europe, plenty of deals are still being done, with Premier League players still able to move to the continent.
The transfer window for Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1 closes at varying times on Monday, September 2. Meanwhile, League One, League Two and Scottish clubs can also do deals until September 2.
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