MIKEL ARTETA has promised that he will not make any summer signings who are going to block his Arsenal kids.
The Gunners boss is planning a major spending spree to replenish the smallest squad in the Premier League.
Owner Stan Kroenke has given the green light for the acquisition of two new strikers and a top quality central midfield player.
But with only 20 senior players and serious doubts about the long-term futures of Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny, Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka and Cedric Soares, it is clearly going to need more than three new arrivals this summer.
But Arteta insists: "We are trying to build a squad that has room for our young players to develop at the same time as having an extremely competitive team.
"Because if we sign three top players and then those kids are not playing, what happens then?
"You can’t have it both ways. If you sign big players for big money, they have to be on the pitch.
"And that means that some others are not going to be in the team, so we need to find the right balance with the standards to be the best which this club requires.
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"This is what we are trying to do. We want to grow the right way without killing what is already growing because they have the right environment to do that here.”
One of Arteta’s top priorities for the summer is to persuade England star Bukayo Saka to sign an extended new contract.
The exciting 20-year-old still has two more years to run on his current agreement, which is thought to be worth just £35,000-a-week.
But Arteta wants to recognise Saka’s increasing importance to his team by making him one of the highest paid players at the club.
With Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all monitoring Saka’s situation, Arteta knows that Arsenal’s position will be enhanced if they can secure Champions League qualification this season.
He says: "We are going to have a conversation with the player and then with his family and his agent so that everybody is on board.
"Obviously our desire is to keep Bukayo for as long as possible because we are really happy with him.
"He is part of our DNA who is growing and maturing all the time.
"His importance to the team is unquestionable and we want to keep our best talent at the club, that’s for sure."
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