Arsenal board ‘have to act’ as Gunners urged to avoid two transfer exits this summer

Arsenal’s board “have to really act” in the transfer market this summer to bridge the gap between the Gunners and the Premier League’s top four, believes Jamie Redknapp. He insists the club cannot afford to lose the talents of two particular players as they seek to catch up to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Defeat to Aston Villa on Tuesday night confirmed that Arsenal will suffer their lowest Premier League finish since 1995 and cannot come higher than eighth.

That leaves them looking to the FA Cup if they want Europa League football next term, having booked their spot in the final by downing Manchester City at the weekend.

But after the highs of wins over Premier League champions Liverpool and City, Arsenal were brought back down to the crushing lows their fans have become accustomed to in recent years with a miserable 1-0 loss at Villa.

The visitors failed to register even a single shot on target in an insipid performance, with Trezeguet’s strike lifting the Villans out of the relegation zone ahead of the final day of the top-flight campaign.

Last week, Arteta made it clear after a win over Liverpool that Arsenal need to be aggressive in the upcoming transfer window, saying: “You just have to see how they [Liverpool and City] build those squads there’s no magic.

“You need to improve with quality, quality players to the squad and you need bigger squads to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.”

But despite declaring that he has “100 per cent” backing from Stan Kroenke and the club’s powerbrokers after the loss at Villa, Redknapp implored Arsenal’s board to prove it once the market opens next Monday.

Redknapp believes Arsenal must tie down 25-goal top scorer Aubameyang to a new long-term contract and also thinks keeping midfielder Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, is equally as vital.

Talks are underway between the north London outfit and his parent club with a one-year extension to his loan deal possible, with Ceballos this week having made it clear he is open to staying in the English capital at least another 12 months.

“Another problem they’ve got as well is Ceballos, he’s probably been their best player since the restart,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.

“He’s on loan so what do you do? I really like him, I credit Mikel Arteta for that.

“I liked him at the start of the season when he first came in, he looked really good, really silky.

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“Obviously his physicality was a problem for him and it feels like in the three months of not playing he’s come back a different player.

“He’s one you’d certainly want to keep. If you lose him and lose Aubameyang, that then gives you even more problems.

“The board have to really act. I’m not surprised with the plane banner, you have to back this manager, if you believe he’s the right man, you’ve got to back him.

“Arsenal are a huge football club, players want to be in London and playing for clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham and clubs like that.

“They’ve got to see that they’re ambitious and they want to win things because right now they’re a little bit behind the top four sides that we talk about at the moment.”

Arteta meanwhile told Sky Sports after the defeat to Villa, during which a ‘Back Arteta, Kroenke Out’ banner was flown above Villa Park: “The Kroenkes and the board and the sporting director and everybody, I feel full backing with them.

“What we don’t know, there’s a lot of things we have to wait a little bit of time. But backing and support? 100 per cent, I don’t need that.

“The fans have to believe me what I’m saying because if not, believe me I would not say that.

“I’m not disappointed about the attitude [of the players] at all.

“I know where we are in certain moments and in certain areas of the pitch and the things we need to improve more. We will get that but we need a little bit more time.

“It [being able to finish no higher than eighth] tells me that the gap doesn’t lie, the gap with the top teams in the country.

“We have to make that gap smaller and smaller and really quickly.”

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