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Arsenal need to prioritise long-term rebuild over instant European return

Mikel Arteta has got a tough job on his hands at Arsenal.

The Gunners are bottom of the Premier League after three games, despite spending more money than any side in Europe this summer (Sky Sports).

However, if Arteta is to be given the time at The Emirates then the priority for the season shouldn’t be an immediate return to European competition.

While the money that playing in Europe brings is crucial for many clubs, given the young talent at Arsenal, development has to be the goal.

Arteta already had the likes of Gabriel (23), Bukayo Saka (19), Emile Smith-Rowe (21) and Gabrielle Martinelli (20).

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That has not stopped him adding even more youth to the club, though, signing Ben White (23), Takehiro Tomiyasu (22), Nuno Tavares (21), Albert Sambi Lokonga (21) and Martin Odegaard (22).

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Crucially, not only is this core group of players youthful, they are also talented.

Clearly the Gunners are not going to be in a relegation scrap, but Arteta doesn’t need to be finishing in the top seven for this season to be a success.

Gelling his squad and properly integrating his six new faces into a system that can both show off the attacking talents and hold up defensively must be the priority, even if it takes time.

If Arsenal miss out on European football all together next season but can make a promising push for a return to the top four in the 2022/23 season, that would undoubtedly be a success.

There is still work to be done on the squad, but with more emphasis needed on expelling the deadwood than bringing in fresh faces, so Arteta should be able to get to work with his fresh-faced side.

This all hinges on Arteta getting the time he needs to work on his squad. But, if he gets that time and can turn this young squad into something, anything is possible at Arsenal.

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