Mikel Arteta provides update on Arsenal’s January transfer plans

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted signing a big-money striker this January is not “realistic” amid the club’s struggles in front of goal.

The Gunners were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool on Sunday and have now gone three games without scoring following the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates.

Arteta’s side were again wasteful against Liverpool, with Kai Havertz, Martin Odegaard, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka all missing good chances.

Gabriel Jesus was sidelined with a knee injury, meanwhile, with Eddie Nkietiah only introduced as a late substitute.

Arsenal are now winless in four games and have let their lead at the top of the Premier League slip away, leading to speculation that they would enter the market this month.

The Independent has reported that Arsenal are interested in Brentford striker Ivan Toney, with Chelsea also keen on the 27-year-old ahead of his return from an eight-month ban for breaching betting rules.

However Brentford have set a price tag of £100m on the England international, while Toney has since said that he wants to “repay” the club’s faith in him by helping the Bees avoid relegation this season.

And Arteta said any move for a striker this month would be difficult. “At the moment it doesn’t look realistic,” Arteta said following the defeat to Liverpool on Sunday. “My job is to improve our players and get better results with the players we have.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“The players need [a break] because we cannot question their effort, what they’ve done today, and the attitude they have played with, the courage, aggression - everything is there but the ball is not going in the right direction at the moment in the opponents’ half, and then you concede an own goal which is incredible.

“We have to change momentum, that’s for sure, and we need our players and we need our people as well. In the difficult moments, we stick together and get behind those players that, in my opinion, deserve so much.

“They appreciate that and we stick together and do what we have done in the past. There is nothing new, results will come and enjoyment will come.”

Arsenal will head to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp, with the Gunners now having their winter break before returning to action against Crystal Palace on January 20.

Arteta believes the 13-day gap between fixtures will help Arsenal’s goalscoring issues and admitted their poor run of form was “probably” a psychological issue. “Especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that,” Arteta said. “That’s why I think we need to reset. This break is good. It comes in a good time.

“It was a really disappointing result with a big performance against probably the team that is the most in-form in Europe. We were better than them, we generated much more than them, we created so many chances but we didn’t capitalise.

“Against these teams, you have to capitalise if you want to win. If you don’t score in that box, and then you concede an own goal and the second one like we did, it is difficult to win.”