Sunday People

It’s now or never for Gunners

- By Harry Pratt

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.

Manchester City are backed by United Arab Emirates while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are in charge at Newcastle.

If Qatar’s £5billion-plus takeover bid of Man United is successful, Arsenal – owned by US tycoon Stan Kroenke – 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 stateowned club to win the Prem.

The Gunners boss said: “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 will 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-soinsignif­icant investment can look just that alongside their rivals’ enormous spending power.

Arteta, whose outlay over the last two years stands above £300million, said: “We have to compete with those teams, for sure, because we are Arsenal.

“The demands are to be the best in everything we do, so we have to find a way to do that.”

As for the loaded Geordies becoming a regular feature of future title scraps, Arteta needs further convincing despite being impressed at their recent rise.

He added: “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.”

 ?? ?? MIKEL ARTETA: Facing facts
MIKEL ARTETA: Facing facts

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