Mikel Arteta press conference: Arsenal boss on summer transfer business, injury updates and coronavirus epidemic

Mikel Arteta has assured fans his Arsenal squad took every possible precaution to deal with the deadly coronavirus epidemic whilst on their winter break in Dubai.

The Gunners made the most of the time off to recharge and get some much-needed Vitamin D ahead of their return to Premier League action on Sunday at home to Newcastle.

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Mikel Arteta has been working with his Arsenal squad in Dubai
Getty Images – Getty

On Monday, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed an eighth case of the deadly disease – which has already claimed over 1,400 victims – in the country.

Ahead of the visit of the Mapgies, Arteta spoke with the media in his pre-match press conference and allayed any possible fears about the virus affecting his squad.

“We have great doctors here and people who are looking after our health,” he said. “They’ve been putting a plan together to try to keep everybody in safe hands.

“We have some protocols we have to respect inside the training ground.

“As far as I know everything is under control. We have to be very aware as you said.”

Arteta also discussed other topics during his press conference and you can read the best bits, below…


Bukayo Saka contract

“I’m really happy how they’re developing. Part of that development is to improve their contracts and tie them to the club.

“That has to follow a natural process. We will do the right things when players deserve to improve and extend their contract.”

On Winter break

“It was like a mini pre-season for us in Dubai. We had time to work on a lot of our principles, how we want to set up against different formations, the relevant things we need to work on and off the ball.

“Apart from that it was great to be a little bit together, spend some time together, get to know each other, not just with the players but the staff and backroom staff. It was a very productive trip.”

Injury updates on Mari, Soares and Tierney

“Pablo [Mari] hasn’t competed since the end of December. He had a little issue. He’s been training with us the last week or so in and out a little bit. He’s been looking good.

“I think this game will come a little bit too early for him but I expect him to start joining the squad in the next week or so.

“[Cedric] is very disappointed, obviously when you join a new club you want to make an impression straight away. He had an issue in his knee. It’s not completely healed yet. He hasn’t been training with us.

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Cedric joined Arsenal on loan from Southampton on deadline day – but arrived at the Emirates injured
Getty Images – Getty

“I expect him to be back with us in the coming weeks but I can’t give you a date.

“He’s making very good progress but we need to wait for the bone and attachment with the tendon to heal before he can make any contact.

“He has been training, his work ethic is incredible, I’ve been really impressed with him. Hopefully we can get him soon but we have to be a little bit patient.”

On Summer transfer plans

“Absolutely, we have to plan. We need to know the direction we want to have. To do that we need to bear in mind different scenarios.

“With that in mind I have to tell the club what we need, where we think we can improve and where we want to aim.

“If we all aim for the same thing and we put a plan together to try to execute it and make the process as short as possible.”

On Unai Emery’s recent Arsenal comments

“I haven’t read anything about it, no.”


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