Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during an Arsenal press conference

Mikel Arteta on Thomas Partey’s injury setback, Lino Sousa’s exit and the transfer window

Mikel Arteta spoke to the media at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground on Friday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s crucial Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The Arsenal boss answered questions on several topics, including the fitness of Thomas Partey and the exit of young full-back Lino Sousa to Aston Villa on transfer deadline day.

Here is a selection of what Arteta had to say.

Is there an update on Jesus and Partey?

“Gabi obviously played and trained with us the whole week. 

“With Thomas unfortunately we had a little setback a few days ago. He’s not going to be available in the squad. We’ll see if it’s a matter of days or weeks. But he had a little thing.”

When you say setback what do you mean?

“I’m not a doctor, but he felt something in a very similar area and he wasn’t able to train the last few days.”

How concerning is Partey’s fitness troubles?

 “A big concern because he is such an important player for us. He was getting some momentum at the start of the season and then we lost him for a while. Now it has been a long time without him.

“He gives us something different that no other player can give us in the squad so he will be a miss.”

Why does it happen? Is it bad luck?

 “They have been different kind of injuries but not everything is bad luck. There are a lot of things that are difficult to control. Obviously the player has a history as well when he had some issues in the past so we have to try to protect him and do everything that we can to avoid it again.”

Why did you let Sousa go?

“It was a club decision. He had a really particular situation with his contract and we had a lot of talks about it. The club believed it was the best decision to do that and I supported that.

When you look at City and Liverpool, do you need to be bolder in giving youth a chance?

“We certainly want to do that. First of all we need to produce those talents and hey have to earn it. Secondly, when we produce those talents they have to be in the positions we need filling.

“Everything has to come together and we are working on a few prospects which are not far (away) but the reality is that we want more.”

So is it not that you’re choosing against using the talent, it is that the talent isn’t there to break in today?

“Today? To give opportunities and to play in the first team at the level we require, we are a bit short.”

Is the lack of January business a sign of things to come due to FFP?

“I think that is a big reason. I fully agree but as well maybe there is not a player in the market who can make the difference or the impact that you need, if you are able to recruit them.”

If you struggle to score in the next couple of games you will be asked why you didn’t sign anyone

“And if we win and I score a lot of goals? I think like this. I love my players and I think tomorrow they are going to score a lot of goals and they are going to be top. They fully deserve all our credit for the way they are.”

So you fully trust your players?

“Absolutely, yes.”