Arsenal are in a ‘massive transition’ and fans must be patient to progress, says Per Mertesacker.
The German, 36, is Arsenal’s academy director and is impatient to put on his best performance for the Gunners.
He believes the club is capable of continuously challenging for the title, but admitted that such goals are currently unrealistic, as Arsenal are still recovering from the departure of Arsene Wenger.
Asked where he currently sees the club, Mertesacker told The Beautiful Game podcast: “Mass transition, that’s what I would classify it as.
“I think it was clear when Arsene left [in 2018], the blanks that needed to be filled would not be resolved in a season or two, or three to four years.
“You’ve always wanted shortcuts, you know, to bang straight back into the Champions League, to succeed straight away.
“I think myself too, with the academy feeling now and working, and moving into more long-term development, I think we see similar traits in the first team, and I hope Mikel gets that.” He will get the time he needs.
“I’m impatient. I want to be successful tomorrow, I want to go back to the Champions League tomorrow, I want to talk to people and say ‘Listen, we have the best club in the world to challenge for every single title’ gives year.’
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“It’s not reality. I think the sooner we get on the train, we’re in a big, big transition (the better).
Arsenal have not participated in the Champions League since 2016-17 and this year has not participated in a European competition for the first time in 30 years.
But the Gunners spent big in the summer transfer window trying to get the club back where Mertsecker believes it belongs.
In fact, no Premier League club spent more than Edu and Arteta – and the pair targeted young, talented players like Ben White and Nuno Tavares.
That transfer strategy fits with Mertesacker’s long-term plan, and he will look to assist Arteta with more Academy graduates who have already passed out Bukayo Saka and Emil Smith Rowe.
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