• News

Ferdinand tells Arteta to build his team around 4 Arsenal stars

Rio Ferdinand, Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand has urged Mikel Arteta to focus on four players to build his Arsenal squad around for next season.

Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney, and Joe Willock are the players Rio Ferdinand expects to see play a major role at Arsenal.

The Hale End academy products have all impressed this season to stake a claim in the Gunners squad and are all primed for promising futures at the highest level.

In fact, Ferdinand rates Smith Rowe, Saka, and Tierney as Arteta’s best players for this season. He expects the trio, along with Joe Willock, to be key in helping the club go forward following a difficult campaign.

“The only thing to come out for Arsenal are ESR [Emile Smith Rowe], Saka, and Tierney this season,” said the Manchester United legend on his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel.

“They’ve been top, they’ve been the best players, and that’s what he’s got to build around going forward.”

Ferdinand, meanwhile, expects Willock to become a regular at Arsenal next season.

After struggling to break into Arteta’s squad, the 21-year-old joined Newcastle on loan in January. He has since proved a big hit at St James’ Park and has scored in each of his last four games.

But while Newcastle boss Steve Bruce hopes to sign Willock on a permanent deal in the summer, Ferdinand can’t see why Arteta would sell him now.

“Even Joe Willock has gone on loan to Newcastle and kept them up,” the former defender added.

“He’s got to come back into the fray surely after that little spell he’s had there.

“Those are the guys that Arsenal have to build around going forward.”