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Arsenal’s last 10 transfers rated and slated – evaluating the Gunners signings


Few clubs have had such an erratic success rate in the transfer market in recent years as Arsenal.

Whilst the club have acquired proven top-level talent such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey, alongside highly-rated Real Madrid midfielders Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard on loan deals, the hit rate has not always been impressive.

The Gunners also have a tendency to make truly left-field choices in the market, exemplified by the signing of striker Gabriel Martinelli arriving from the fourth tier of Brazilian football.

However, with the club falling from top four regulars to losing their status in the top six of the Premier League it suggests that the policy has not always been successful in recent years.

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We evaluate the most recent 10 arrivals at The Emirates.

Martin Odegaard has shone at Arsenal this season
Martin Odegaard has shone at Arsenal this season

Martin Odegaard

The most recent addition to Mikel Arteta’s squad, the Norwegian was viewed as somewhat of a coup for the club when he arrived on loan in January.

The star of Real Sociedad last season, Odegaard returned to parent club Real Madrid in the summer and despite a run of games, was quickly overlooked by Zinedine Zidane who instead returned to his trusted midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.

There was no place for the talented 22-year-old in the rigid 4-3-3 system and a lack of game-time saw him make the switch to Arsenal, where he has netted twice and provided two assists.

Switching to a new team in a new league mid-season is never easy for any player but Odegaard has undoubtedly injected much-needed quality and creativity to the Gunners.

It remains unlikely the move can be made permanent, but Odegaard’s arrival has improved Arsenal.

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Verdict: Hit

Thomas Partey joined Arsenal last year
Thomas Partey joined Arsenal last year

Thomas Partey

Ghanaian midfielder Partey arrived on deadline day of last summer’s transfer window amid a great deal of excitement.

After all, he had been one of the stars for Atletico Madrid in recent seasons and his arrival was seen as being transformative for Arsenal’s midfield and would allow them to be genuine top four challengers.

However, things have not quite worked out that way – Partey has suffered injury issues and his form has been underwhelming when he has featured, not justifying the £45million outlay on his arrival.

Verdict: Miss

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Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal
Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal

Gabriel Magalhaes

Arsenal’s £23.5million investment in central defender Gabriel was another significant outlay last summer, after an impressive season at Lille.

The Brazilian is widely accepted as the club’s strongest option in central defence, although his injury record is a slight worry and due to the price tag, the jury is still out on his signing.

Gabriel has made just 75 starts in senior club football throughout his career, meaning that the sample size for his long-term projection may be too small at the moment.

Verdict: Too early to say

Pablo Mari at Arsenal
Pablo Mari at Arsenal

Pablo Mari

Arsenal are the eighth club of a somewhat nomadic career for Spanish defender Pablo Mari.

He arrived initially on a loan deal in January 2020 from Brazilian champions Flamengo – whom he helped to the Copa Libertadores title – before joining permanently last summer for £4.5million.

The 27-year-old has made just 16 appearances for the club and has failed to show that he merits a long-term place in the starting line-up.

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Despite being a relatively affordable and low-key signing, it is tricky to look at his spell so far as being a positive one.

Verdict: Miss

Runar Alex Runarsson has struggled at Arsenal
Runar Alex Runarsson has struggled at Arsenal

Runar Alex Runarsson

The Icelandic goalkeeper has had a torrid time at the club since joining from French club Dijon last summer.

With his fee coming in at under £2million, it was never expected that he would be anything other than a deputy to Bernd Leno but Runarsson has failed to convince when given an opportunity.

His only Premier League appearance to date was as a substitute for the dismissed Leno in the 2-1 loss at Wolves earlier this campaign.

Prior to that, he deactivated his Twitter account after receiving personal abuse and death threats following the club’s EFL Cup exit to Manchester City in December, when he struggled.

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Verdict: Miss

Cedric Soares joined Arsenal from Southampton
Cedric Soares joined Arsenal from Southampton

Cedric Soares

As with Pablo Mari, full-back Soares arrived at Arsenal on a loan deal in January 2020 before making that move permanent the following summer following the expiry of his Southampton contract.

Perplexingly, the 29-year-old was handed a four-year contract by the Gunners in what many saw as a needlessly long-term commitment to a player unexpected to be first-choice.

He has made 29 first-team Gunners appearances due to injuries to Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin in the full-back spots, with the Portuguese international’s flexibility his main asset in the squad.

However, despite arriving as a free agent – it is tricky to quantify his signing as a success or adding the quality that fans will want.

Verdict: Miss

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Willian has yet to score a goal for Arsenal
Willian has yet to score a goal for Arsenal

Wil lian

Another arrival on a long-term contract, handing Willian a three-year deal (having celebrated his 32 nd birthday before arriving) was viewed as an unnecessary and risky long-term arrangement.

He had served Chelsea with distinction for seven seasons – making 339 appearances – but has badly struggled to replicate that form in North London.

The Brazilian has yet to find the net in 33 outings for the Gunners and has frustrated fans with his level of performances.

Verdict: Miss

Mathew Ryan joined Arsenal on loan in January
Mathew Ryan joined Arsenal on loan in January

Ma thew Ryan

The Australian international was another surprise arrival at the Emirates – joining from Brighton on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Ryan had lost his place at the Seagulls due to underperformance, with the Spaniard Robert Sanchez usurping him at the Amex.

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He was signed by Arsenal as a de-facto replacement for the understudy Runar Alex Runnarsson and has featured twice – a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa and 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Leno still the undisputed number one.

It is harsh to make a judgement on Ryan after just two appearances, but there is little to suggest he is the long-term solution in the position.

Verdict: Miss

David Luiz switched Chelsea for Arsenal in 2019
David Luiz switched Chelsea for Arsenal in 2019

David Luiz

A surprise arrival from Chelsea in the summer of 2019, the Brazilian splits opinion with his erratic performances and often unreliable decision-making.

Despite three Premier League red cards, Luiz has added experience and depth to Arsenal in the centre of defence – prompting the club to renew his contract last summer.

The 34-year-old is not the long-term solution for the club but arriving for just £8million, he is one of the more successful arrivals at the club in recent years.

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Verdict: Hit… just

Kieran Tierney

The Scotland international joined Arsenal the same day as David Luiz and is arguably the club’s most successful signing in recent times.

The left-back has been one of the side’s most consistent performances since arriving from Celtic and the one downside has been fitness issues – he has suffered six different injury setbacks in less than two seasons.

However, aged just 23 – his £24million signing has proven to be money well spent.

Verdict: Hit





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