Mikel Arteta has been talking to the press ahead of Arsenal's upcoming clash with Liverpool in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp's Reds travel to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night, with four points separating the two sides.
The Arsenal boss discussed a number of topics during Thursday's press conference and provided the supporters with the latest team news, his thoughts on Liverpool, and the rumours linking the Gunners with a move for Sergio Aguero.
Arteta on Sergio Aguero
It was recently confirmed by Manchester City that the Argentine would be leaving the club this summer, and since that announcement he's found himself linked with a number of clubs, including the Gunners.
On whether he'd be picking up the phone to try and persuade his former colleague to move down to London, Arteta said: "No, no. We will see what happens with him in the future."
Pep Guardiola's former assistant went on to share his thoughts regarding Aguero's imminent departure and the impact he's had at the Etihad Stadium since his arrival in 2011.
"First of all, I think anyone that has been close to Sergio would say the same thing. I think he's been probably the main face, or one of the three main faces, that have lifted that project.
"You need some leadership, you need some quality and you need players to create moments when you start to build a project like they did. Sergio is probably the biggest face of that project.
"It's not only the way he plays, it's his personality, his charisma, the way he is loved by everybody at that club. It's sad to see somebody leaving like him, but I think with what he's done he will be there in their history."
Arteta on the squad's fitness
Mikel Arteta also provided an update on his squad's fitness, with many of his players having travelled away for international duty since their last Premier League outing. Here is what the 38-year-old had to say:
"There are still a lot that I haven't seen yet. We will see them this afternoon and assess the squad tomorrow, see how everybody is feeling and make some decisions. But so far, no big news."
When asked specifically about the fitness of Bukayo Saka, Arteta provided the following update: "He hasn't trained with the team yet. He's been doing some individual work. We had to pull him out of the England squad, unfortunately. He's feeling better, but he hasn't trained with the team yet."
Emile Smith Rowe failed a fitness test ahead of the England Under-21's final group game vs. Croatia and ahead of Saturday's game against Liverpool, Arteta revealed the player is suffering from some discomfort in the hip area. Here is what he had to say:
"He has some discomfort in his hip and that's why they decided to keep him out. We will see today how he comes here, we will speak with the doctors and the physios and see if he is available for training tomorrow."
Arteta on this weekend's opponents
The reigning Premier League champions, for now at least, have received much criticism this season and ahead of Saturday's game, Arteta was asked what he puts their struggles down to.
"I don't know, I'm not the one to analyse what has gone wrong for them. I can talk about what they've done and what they're still producing and the stats will support that. They are, if not the best, the second-best team in every department that we coaches have to analyse.
"But then this is football, the ball has to be in that net and the final action has to provide a moment to win a football match. Then you have some individuals that dictate the quality of your team. Sometimes you cannot predict those things, so I think it's a lot of things."
Source : 90min