Mikel Arteta believes it was crucial that Arsenal’s summer signings not only improved his side on the pitch but also in the dressing room.
The Gunners spent more than any other club in the Premier League to bring in six new signings in what was the most expensive transfer window in their history.
Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard all started last week’s 1-0 win over Norwich, while fellow new arrival Nuno Tavares was an unused substitute.
Having finished eighth in the league in the past two seasons, Arteta and technical director Edu have led an overhaul of the squad at the Emirates Stadium.
The harmony of the dressing room has reportedly been threatened on a number of occasions in recent times but Arteta is pleased to have addressed that this summer.
Asked how important is it to have good characters in his squad, the Spaniard replied: “In my opinion, vital.
“Medium and long-term, it’s crucial. A team is formed by individuals who have the same purpose and to have the same purpose you have to trust each other. You have to be connected with each other.
“You have to create energy between each other. To do that, there has to be some affection, some love, some belief between them.
“That only happens when you like what you see, you like the characters and you feel connected with them.”
Arsenal travel to Burnley on Saturday looking to build on their first points of the season in that slender victory over Norwich.
Tomiyasu and White will be expecting a tougher challenge at Turf Moor but Arteta has faith in his new defenders.
“He looks clean, honest, transparent and then when he’s on that pitch, he doesn’t doubt,” he said of Japan international Tomiyasu.
“He’s fully committed, he goes for every ball, he’s reassuring, he’s got a presence and he’s a very honest player and you could see the reaction and the connection he had straight away with the fans.”
White has Premier League experience having signed from Brighton for £50million – although he struggled on his Arsenal debut in the opening day defeat at Brentford.
He then contracted Covid before returning to the side against Norwich and has the full backing of his new manager.
“He needs to play his game,” said Arteta.
“I fully trust him. He knows what he is going to face, not just him but every defender in the Premier League against any opponent. You are going to be exposed and he needs to do what he is good at.
“The things that he can improve, he can improve them, but when you jump against (Chris) Wood 10 times in the air, with a ball flying in the air, it is pretty difficult to win every duel to be fair. So it is about that duel and what happens around him as well.”
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