Rio Ferdinand has warned Arsenal that they must continue to match the ambitions of their young squad or risk losing them to other clubs.
Arsenal missed out on Champions League football for next season with a late stumble that saw north-London rivals Tottenham steal their spot in the top four.
Up until the final few weeks, it had been a good season for the Gunners with the Premier League’s youngest squad looking set to grab a top four finish.
Homegrown talent Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe shone for Arteta’s side this season as did fellow youngsters Gabriel Martinelli, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard.
However, a capitulation in the final weeks of the season have raised doubts over whether the young squad will be able to recover and go again next season, or with further investment this summer can they go one step further.
Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand believes this is an important window for Arteta and Arsenal and it could go a long way to convincing those young talents to stick with the project.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “I think Arsenal have to do well in the next window, I think he’s put down some decent foundations. What he has got is a nucleus of young players who know what it means to play for Arsenal and who have talent, some very good players that need building around with better players.
“I think you need to have [that], as long as the club’s aspirations match yours, then that comes with what type of players you recruit. ‘Are we recruiting to finish in the Champions League or are we recruiting to finish in the Europa League?’ if they match yours, you stay for a good period.”
Ferdinand also compared the situation to one his was in when he broke through at West Ham with a number of other young stars.
“I was at West Ham and I was going into the chairman every summer ‘who are we buying? We’ve got a great young playing squad coming throu…