Arsenal's Arteta defends decision to sell players in January without additions

October 2, 2021 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds fans after the match Action Images via Reuters

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta defended the club's decision to sell players in the January transfer window without making major additions, saying it was the right thing to do at that time.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Folarin Balogun were among the players who left Arsenal in January.

Injuries to key players Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey have left Arteta with a thin squad, affecting the club's hopes of securing a top-four Premier League finish.

"They were players that we did not really use. And you put them in the context now, I don't know how much they would have played," Arteta told British media on Friday.

"We made a decision on what we believed was the right thing to do for the club, then for the players who were asking for the opportunity to play football because they didn't have any minutes in several months."

Arsenal are fifth in the league on 54 points after 29 matches and face 13th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Arteta said it would not make much difference which European competition they qualify for next season, with both the Champions League and second-tier Europa League requiring a much larger squad owing to the number of matches.

"If you can afford it and we don't have to do the turnaround in the squad that we've had to do, if you ask me what I want - it's 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers," Arteta said.

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