ARSENAL

Edu understands Arsenal fan concern, retains belief in long-term plan

Technical director Edu has explained Arsenal’s transfer strategy and made clear his faith in Mikel Arteta.

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Edu understands fan concerns, retains belief in Arsenal's long-term plan

Edu has urged Arsenal fans to have patience as he looks to work with Mikel Arteta to build a new-look team with a focus on youth. 

Arsenal were the top spenders in the recent transfer window, bringing in Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu. 

High earners David Luiz and Willian both left, while Joe Willock was sold to Newcastle United and Héctor Bellerín sealed a season-long loan to Real Betis on deadline day. 

Arsenal players leave

Arsenal rebuffed Everton's interest in Ainsley Maitland-Niles, even after the player had made his desire to leave public, but Reiss Nelson, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Runar Alex Runarsson and William Saliba all left on loan. 

However, three defeats from their opening three matches means Arsenal find themselves bottom of the Premier League. They have also achieved an unwanted first, losing their first three league games in a season without scoring a single goal. 

Edu understands the anger from supporters over the current situation, especially given Arsenal's outlay on fees was so high, but he believes the club remain on the right track. 

"I really understand that, but I'd also like them to understand the reason and the direction we are going as a club," Edu told Sky Sports about the frustration shown by fans. 

"Of course, it has hurt us to be in that situation. We are hurt, I am hurt. I don't want to see the club there, but I want to see the team playing together. 

"To be fair, we have had three games and I haven't seen the team playing together yet. So, I want to see the signings and I want to see the squad prepare. 

"All three games we have played against Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City, unfortunately we have had some difficult moments in terms of COVID and injuries. 

"I want to see the team play together and then let's judge the team when they play together. Then, after that, no problem. Judge us then. 

"I understand the situation we are in now is really tough. It's not an excuse but let's judge the team when they play together." 

Edu: Team needs time

Edu also suggested fans need to see the "wider context" of what Arsenal are trying achieve. 

"They have not seen the team playing together yet. That's one of the reasons but I think we have to see the wider context than just to see the money around it," the Brazilian said. 

"We signed six players who are under 23, which means a lot in terms of our planning. Normally, people like to see just one window, so I have to say it is the bigger picture because we started planning this squad a year ago in terms of consolidating the team and to try to get a better foundation. 

"We have to balance the squad better. We have to recruit the players with the right characteristics and the right profile to make the squad better, more solid and much more consistent because last season we suffered with consistency. 

"Now, I want to give Mikel Arteta and the board a much better squad." 

Edu also pointed to the large number of players who have exited the club over the course of the past year. 

"Yes, if you see, we had 21 players exit over the year," he added. "All of those were terminated or we tried to sell, or we tried to loan with an obligation to buy as well. 

"We tried to clear a bit of the squad and bring in some new faces. We had 21 outgoings and signed 10 players in one year. 

"So, 21 changes, it is a lot. It's more than a squad in one year. But this was the intention again when we are talking about the base and the foundation." 

Must-win games for Gunners

Such a dismal start has left Arteta under mounting pressure, however, and the upcoming fixture against Norwich City after the international break already feels like a must-win game for the former Manchester City assistant. 

"I don't want to go for top four or top six or top eight or top 10. I'm just really looking forward to seeing this squad play together. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone fit," said Edu when asked what Arsenal's target was for the season. 

"I want to see our squad because I don't see it yet. But I'm really looking forward to it because I believe and Mikel believes that this team can have a good season."