What Mikel Arteta’s said on Arsenal selling best players as Man City hunt Bukayo Saka

Arteta hails Saka's maturity after scoring penalty at Chelsea

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has previously conceded it is “inevitable” some of his best players will leave the club. Arteta made the claim earlier this year and now it is reported Manchester City are stepping up their interest in Bukayo Saka.

Arsenal went through a phase in their early years at the Emirates of selling their top talent. Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor all left in their prime as the club were unable to compete financially with their rivals as they repaid the debts on their 60,000-seater stadium.

Those debts have now been paid off and Arsenal are now able to spend big in the transfer market. Speaking in May, Arteta insisted his aim was to keep hold of his best players.

He said: “Well what we want to do we want to improve the team, the squad and obviously we know that there’s not a player that doesn’t have a margin to improve or envolve in his way of playing and his career. So we want to retain our best players for sure and we’re going to add into that more quality and depth to be more competitive.”

However, Arsenal have since missed out on Champions League qualification for a sixth season in a row. They have not won the Premier League since 2004, a near 20-year spell that doesn’t look like ending anytime soon.

The Mail claims City are aiming to steal a march on rivals Liverpool by increasing their interest in Saka. The England international has become the poster boy for Arsenal but the lure, both financially and of winning major silverware, could be too big for the 20-year-old to turn down.

Arteta says the club must be prepared for such instances where they cannot match a player’s ambitions, claiming it is “inevitable” that some may end up leaving. He added: “Well what we have to be really prepared [for] is when we’re going to do that and why we’re going to do that, and we can control the timings and we can have the decision-making on when is the right time to do it and be prepared for that.

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“So sometimes it is inevitable because you cannot offer the same competition level as they’ve been offered or because you think it is the right moment to make a move. But in principle we want to maintain our best players and keep them and get better.”

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