Rio Ferdinand tells Mikel Arteta to build Arsenal team around three players

Mikel Arteta is set for his first pre-season at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta should build his new-look Gunners side around the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock.

The Spaniard has placed his faith in youth since taking over at the Emirates and has vowed to name a starting XI based on performances in training, rather than picking on name alone.

That’s seen the likes of Alexandre Lacazette demoted in favour of youngster Eddie Nketiah and there’s been an upturn in results since Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December.

Nevertheless, Arteta faces a huge challenge in north London and there will be plenty to work on this summer as he faces a difficult situation in dealing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is refusing to sign a new deal at the Emirates.

Ferdinand has backed Arteta’s decisions so far (Picture: Getty)

But Ferdinand believes Arteta has set the right values in motion at the club and should continue to build around the likes of Martinelli, Saka and Willock.

‘Really you’re meant to be looking at centre-halves, they should’ve been looking there for the last 10 years and they haven’t got it right,’ Ferdinand said on Instagram Live.

Arsenal is a fantastic football club, what a club, a massive club. I think they’ve got to get it right in other areas of the pitch.

‘Keep bringing in these [players], [Gabriel] Martinelli, [Bukayo] Saka, [Joe] Willock, all these boys.

‘I love seeing that but they’ve got to get stability and strength in there, some people who will do good for the club, because it hasn’t worked with the likes of Sokratis and Mustafi, I don’t think they haven’t been able to get it right, and Chambers before that.’

With Aubameyang likely heading for the exit, Arsenal have been linked with Real Madrid outcast Luka Jovic.

However, Ferdinand has advised Arteta not to move for the Serbian.

‘He’s someone who’s done nothing in a Real Madrid shirt but the potential he showed when he was at Eintracht Frankfurt made him someone who was very highly thought of,’ said Ferdinand.

‘But it doesn’t always go to plan when you go to a new team, so I wouldn’t hold it against him. ‘I think he’s someone who can add something to Arsenal. ‘But I don’t believe Arsenal need a player in that position.

MORE: Rio Ferdinand reveals one issue with Jadon Sancho’s £120m move to Manchester United


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