LONDON — Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has pledged to carry on Arsene Wenger’s legacy of attacking football and insists the club can fight for titles right away next season even without a major overhaul of the squad.
Emery, a native of Spain, was introduced at the Emirates on Wednesday and insisted upon speaking English for most of his news conference as he outlined his vision for the club.
Asked what his targets are for next season, Emery, who just led Paris Saint-Germain to a domestic treble, said development is most important.
“But how do you develop?” he said. “I think that’s about battling for every title. That’s something that is in Arsenal’s history and it’s in my history as well. And I want that to continue. Our objective is to win titles and to be among the best teams in Europe. I also want to make the fans proud of the team. I know they already are, but I want them to continue to be.”
Emery did not disclose what his plans are for the Arsenal squad in terms of transfers, but said that “all the players, for me, that I want” will remain with the team.
“But I want to speak individually with all the players, and speak with them face to face,” he said. “I believe in the players who are here. I think we can [develop] with these players, and the objective is to work hard together with these talented players.”
He also said he wants to keep the same brand of attacking football that was Arsenal’s hallmark under Wenger — but hinted that he’ll demand more pressing without the ball from his players.
“My ideal is to be the protagonist in all the match,” Emery said. “We will play against all teams with this personality. I think the history here is one thing — they love playing with possession of the ball.
“I like this personality — I like being the protagonist with the ball. And when you don’t have possession of the ball, I want a very squad that is very, very intensive with the pressure. It’s very important for me to be protagonist with the ball and pressing when you don’t have the ball.”
Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.