Mikel Arteta admits this may be Arsenal’s best opportunity to lift the Premier League for a while – amid the rise of elite, state-owned English clubs.
Should Manchester United fall into Qatari hands this summer, the North Londoners will be the only current top four team NOT financed by a foreign nation.
Holders Manchester City are backed by United Arab Emirates while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are in charge at third-place Newcastle.
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If Qatar’s £5billion-plus takeover bid for Man United is successful, Arsenal, owned by American sports and entertainment tycoon Stan Kroenke, suddenly become the odd ones out at the summit.
Ahead of today’s trip to Newcastle – with three points imperative to keep his visitors in title contention – Arteta was asked if it really could be a case of now or never for a non state-owned club to rule the Premier League supreme.
And the Gunners boss declared: “It is the best time because this is the moment – right now.
“The best time is when you have something and try to take it, especially in elite sports… because you don’t know when you are going to have another opportunity.
“That is what we’re trying to do. We’re going to Newcastle to win and continue to be there.”
Not that he feels competing for transfer targets is impossible – even if Arsenal’s not-so-insignificant investment can look just that alongside the sort of limitless spending power of their rivals.
Indeed Arteta, whose outlay over the last two years stands above £300million, considers it his club’s duty to remain an integral member of the English football establishment – in all aspects.
“We have to compete with those teams, for sure, because we are Arsenal Football Club,” said the former Emirates playmaker. “The demands are to be the best in everything we do, so we have to find a way to do that.”
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There will certainly an element of revenge at St James Park for the visitors, whose failure to win four of their last five league games allowed Pep Guardiola’s Treble-chasing City to take control at the top.
This time last year Arsenal’s Champions League ambitions were all but killed off by a 2-0 away defeat to Eddie Howe’s men – just a few days after being thumped at Tottenham.
Having already made amends against the neighbours in January, with a comprehensive victory in N17, Arteta is hopeful they can do likewise on Tyneside.
The Spaniard, 39, went on: “We felt like this when we went to Tottenham and then we won that game. We’re capable of doing it but we need to show it – on the pitch.”
As for the loaded Geordies becoming a regular feature of future title scraps, Arteta needs further convincing despite being suitably impressed at their stunning, rapid rise under Howe.
He said: “I don’t know. They’ve performed really well and deserve to be where they are. We have done the same. But next season will be something completely different, in my opinion.”
Likely Arsenal line up to face Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale, White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Trossard; Jesus
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