With the summer transfer window officially closed for Premier League clubs, it’s finally time for Unai Emery and the squad to prepare for the gruelling season ahead. Under the club’s new set-up, Arsenal moved significantly faster when it came to strengthening the squad but were unable to pull off many “big” signings due to a low budget as well as issues regarding the wage bill. The following gives my thoughts on every major signing and departure that occurred for the Gunners during the transfer window.
- Note.1 – A high rating indicates a great deal while a low rating indications a terrible deal.
- Note.2 – While European clubs have until the end of the month to sign players, I’d be surprised if there were any major departures from Arsenal. However, this article will be updated should any noteworthy deals happen.
Mattéo Guendouzi | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £8m
I’ll be honest, when Arsenal were initially linked with Mattéo Guendouzi I had no idea who he was, yet at the same time the deal felt rather exciting and had the potential to be fantastic. Looking at the squad, there’s a real lack of young players who have such a high ceiling yet also seem ready for first-team football. Ever since the 19-year-old joined the club, he’s fit in perfectly amongst the squad and has also produced some fantastic performances during pre-season fixtures. On the ball, Guendouzi reads the game well and also has the ability and technique to produce some incredible passes. While he has only played in pre-season games, the midfielder deservedly looks set to make his Arsenal debut on Sunday against Manchester City. If Guendouzi can replicate his pre-season performances for when it really matters in the Premier League and the Europa League, the Gunners could have themselves a clear contender for the bargain of the summer.
Bernd Leno | My Rating: 7/10| Reported Fee: £19.3m
After years of being forced to watch Petr Cech and David Ospina between the posts, it feels like a sigh of relief that the club have bought a goalkeeper that’s better than both of those aforementioned. While Leno isn’t the goalkeeper that many fans wanted, I’m hopeful that the German international can establish himself as a top five goalkeeper in the league. While Leno hasn’t been in the best form across the last two seasons, experiencing a new challenge as well as working with superior staff like goalkeeping coach Javi Garcia could be what he needs to reach that potential that people discussed many years ago.
Stephan Lichtsteiner | My Rating: 8/10| Reported Fee: Free Transfer
Back in June, Stephan Lichtsteiner became Arsenal’s first signing of “the new era”. While many fans were hoping the club’s first signing would be someone that would show ‘intent’, they were instead treated to a veteran full-back who will definitely upgrade the depth of the squad. While they are commonly-used phrases, Lichtsteiner does arrive with that sense of leadership and experience that will hopefully benefit Hector Bellerin in the long-run. In the last few years, the Spaniard’s overall development has arguably stagnated for reasons that are unknown but bringing in Lichtsteiner can help take Bellerin to the next level. Away from being just a “depth” option, I think Lichtsteiner will flourish whenever he’s called upon by Unai Emery. His overall ability may not be the same as it once was half a decade ago but he is still a good right-back.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos | My Rating: 3/10| Reported Fee: £17.6m
With last season ruined by terrible defending, Arsenal had to purchase at least one central defender in the transfer window and Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was the man selected. Personally, I think the signing of Sokratis has been the worst piece of business the club has done this summer. Before going into more detail, giving him a three-year deal with a rumoured £90,000 p/w salary is a terrible deal for the club financially. Our defence consists of average or young players and I don’t see the 30-year-old being much of an improvement. The defender has recently been nothing more than average for Dortmund and the 30-year-old has also struggled in every preseason fixture he’s played in for the Gunners. I’m hoping that some consistent game time with Shkodran Mustafi in the Premier League will be enough for him to reach a level he was once at a few years back but it’s fair to say that Arsenal’s defence couldn’t look much worse than it does right now.
Lucas Torreira | My Rating: 10/10| Reported Fee: £25m
Last but not least, Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira was the Gunners’ last piece of business during the window. Out of all of the incomings, the signing of Torreira looks like the best of the bunch. The 22-year-old was very good for Sampdoria last season and was one of Uruguay’s best players at the 2018 World Cup. The midfielder is a very promising set-piece taker and his positioning in front of the defence allows for the full-backs to push further up the field. For Arsenal, it’ll be exciting to see how Torreira links up with Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka in a midfield trio. I’m delighted with the signing of Torreira, but I wish Arsenal completed more transfers like this in the window, we’d be in a much better position in the long-run.
Chuba Akpom | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £1m
It’s a bit of a shame to see Chuba Akpom leave the club but it’s not exactly surprising either. The forward has never really looked like he could make an impact for Arsenal in the first team and a permanent move away is the best move for all parties. The club received a reasonable fee for a player of his ability.
Calum Chambers (loan) | My Rating: 2/10| Reported Fee: £1m loan fee.
To this day, I have absolutely no idea why the club agreed to loan Calum Chambers to Fulham without bringing in a new defender. Chambers would have worked very well under Emery due to his ball-playing ability and definitely deserved a chance to impress over Shkodran Mustafi. The 23-year-old has always had the potential to become a great defender yet neither Arsene Wenger or Unai Emery has given him the faith that he needs at this stage of his career. With Arsenal seriously lacking depth in defence, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the English defender return to the club before the season finishes.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide | My Rating: 5/10 | Reported Fee: Undisclosed.
If I’m being honest, when news first broke that Jeff Reine-Adelaide had left the club permanently for Angers I was frustrated, but now it makes a lot of sense. The Frenchman had struggled for first-team football at Arsenal and consistent loans to different clubs hasn’t helped his development either. By selling the midfielder, Reine-Adelaide finally gets his chance at playing first-team football in a top league.
Lucas Perez | My Rating: 8/10| Reported Fee: £4m
Last but not least, the major departure for Arsenal in the English transfer window saw Lucas Perez depart the club to West Ham. Considering the fact that Lucas has such high wages it’s hard to be against the deal. The Spaniard made little impact in his only season at Arsenal but was very good for Deportivo last season. It’ll be good to see what the 29-year-old can do in the Premier League with more game time.