Arsenal's Mikel Arteta is relying on a big transfer budget for success - and he shouldn't give a damn about it

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Mikel Arteta can only succeed with a big budget, claim many fans, but how right are they as Arsenal continue to lead the Premier League?

Mikel Arteta's managerial career may forever come with the same caveat issued to the success of his former tutor Pep Guardiola. Arsenal are top of the Premier League and on their way to correcting the mistakes of last season, when they slipped up in the final hurdles of the Premier League title race.

It has been a strange season so far, one that has seen more than two teams genuinely involved in a title race for the first time in what feels like years. Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal feel like the biggest and most genuine contenders at this point, and it's likely to remain that way until after Christmas.

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Arsenal have enjoyed an intriguing 18 months that has brought serious improvement, last year going from a team that missed out on the top four on the final day to a team that missed out on the title in the final couple of weeks. For that turnaround, Arteta is awarded with plenty of credit, but how much credit does he deserve? How much does the money have to do with the success?

In his first half-season in charge, Arteta failed to improve Arsenal's position from the eigth place they were left in by Unai Emery. His second season? The same. Arsenal again finished in eighth place, with Arteta getting a full season to work with this time around. Arteta was given around £50million less to spend ahead of that season than Emery in the season before, although Nicolas Pepe made up £70million of Emery's spending.

The season after, Arsenal missed out on the top four by two points, with Arteta getting just under £5million more to spend compared to Emery's final season, while he had an increase of around £17million for last season, when the Gunners made a run at the title. The Spaniard saw an increase in spending of £71million compared to Emery's final season (and £101million more if you include the £30million Arsenal will owe for David Raya at the end of this season's loan) ahead of the current season, when the Gunners will be expected to go one better in winning the title.

Arguably, Arteta's success at the Emirates Stadium has required spending, and there is a fair question to ask. How good a coach can you be if you require world-class players to play in each position? Are you really a great coach if you cannot achieve success without having the best players.

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The same questions have been asked of Arteta's former tutor Guardiola, who has enjoyed huge success, although only at top-level clubs, including Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City. Arteta is not at that level at this point, but he will climb to the highest tier of managerial popularity if he can bring a Premier League title back to the Emirates Stadium, or indeed win the club their first Champions League title.

Is that analysis correct? Given Arteta is on a path where he is never likely to coach a low-level team, we may never find out, and Arsenal fans are not likely to care if the project ends in success. But money is not everything, and the examples have piled up in the Premier League and elsewhere. PSG are the perfect example. They have spent countless amounts of money only to fail to win the Champions League.

Manchester United have gone through managers all too quickly, including serial title-winner Jose Mourinho, while being among the biggest spenders in the Premier League. Success is not easy to achieve even with money, and Leicester City aside, spending money has naturally become a condition to win the Premier League, given every other team is spending more and more by the year.

We also have some of the clear examples of strong management from Arteta, who cleared out some senior players who were not pulling their wait before creating a unique, youthful and focused dressing room at the Emirates Stadium, clearing the stench of disfunctionality from the many years before.

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Arteta will get credit for that, and he should, while sporting chief Edu is equally responsible. Unfortunately for the former, his early years of failing to improve while not receiving increased investment may always point to him being a coach who relies upon a big budget for success. Will he care? Not if he wins titles and achieves what he set out to achieve. Is it fair to Unai Emery, who didnt' get the same level of patience and investment? Probably not.

Unless we some day see Arteta take over a club without a huge budget and succeed, that narrative will not change. That's something he, and indeed Arsenal fans, will need to accept. But ask Guardiola if it matters while he is standing there, a millionaire, legend of the game, lifting his latest trophy. That's the consciously ignorant mindset Arteta needs to adopt if and when these questions continue to arrive, and its a mindset his old tutor may already have instilled within him.

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