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Arteta: Arsenal squad size was ‘unmanageable’ before January exits

Arteta has been working with a bloated playing group this season, so much so he was forced to leave Ozil and Sokratis out of the club’s Europa League and Premier League squads.

But Arteta said on Thursday morning: “Well, we could not carry on with 31 players in the squad. This is unmanageable.

“When you have to leave some of the foreign players out, it makes it even more difficult.

“For a few weeks maybe it’s okay, but to do it for months and maintain the health and ambition and the chemistry around the place it’s really complicated.

“One of the main objectives was to make some decisions on how we’re going to offset that.

“For me, the important thing is that everybody feels involved and that they have a chance. They’re all fighting for a place but they need to feel they have the opportunity to play when they perform.

“When you’re completely out of the equation, it makes it really difficult to find that motivation.”

Now Arsenal have moved players on, Arteta is keen to add to his squad before the transfer window shuts. The Spaniard revealed on Thursday he would like to add a left-back, but higher on his list of priorities is a creative midfielder and a goalkeeper.

Arteta refused to be drawn on a loan move for the Norwegian, but he confirmed Arsenal are working to bring in new faces.

“We are in that process right now,” he said. “We’ve done the first part [selling players] more or less and now we are focusing on the second phase.

“Obviously, this market and the context makes it really difficult, but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do.

“If we can, then we will do it. If we can’t, then we will just keep going with what we have.”

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