Analysis of Mikel Arteta’s transfer record so far ahead of the summer window

How has Arteta’s Transfer Record Developed

Arteta is starting to put together a team fit to grace the club

A season is a long time in terms of a team’s progress and development. Early on this season the knives were out for Mikel Arteta. Games were deemed must win or he would be out of a job. People rarely survive when it gets to a situation like that, but the Spaniard not only survived but has become the manager every Gunner was hoping he would be when he was appointed. Suddenly the transfer business he conducted in the summer looked spot on. Even the way he handled the Aubameyang situation has turned out inspired.

There is a lot to management at the very top level, but in a way it all starts with the transfers. Get those wrong and you are hamstrung. They also set the tone for the team and club, and is where their identity comes from.

Having played so many seasons in the EPL, Arteta fully understands the rigours of the league. He knows a successful team needs players who possess not just flair, a footballing brain and a work ethic, but also the physical and mental robustness to be able to cope with the demands of the league’s schedule, where more often than not teams are asked to play twice a week. It is something that has been argued about and criticised, but also something that is not going to change or go away. So squads need to be built with that in mind. Here we will look back at Arteta’s transfers since he came to the club, and see how it has progressed, and improved.

The first summer’s activity can certainly be labelled a mix bag, with some of the better buys only really becoming obviously so when the team began to click. Whether that was a case of them needing time to find their EPL feet, or previously it was a time when no one could look good, we perhaps will never know. No matter how you look at it though, and how much of an Arteta fan you are, there were a couple of very strange additions to the squad.

The duds

The best thing you can say about Runar Alex Runarson is that he was cheap. If it had come off, Arteta and his team would have been labelled geniuses. Unfortunately for everyone involved it didn’t. With Willian, you can’t even play the “he was cheap” card. £300,000 a week does not guarantee anything in the modern game, and in truth there were not many saying it was anything other than a positive signing. It just didn’t work out.

Pablo Mari showed little to convince he will ever be good enough – or quick enough of mind or feet – to make it in the top tier of English football. His current loan move may get him in a position to prove us otherwise, but we will have to wait and see. Cedric on the other hand has shown glimpses that he is at least one for the future, and despite early setbacks has put in some good performances of late.

How many statues will be made from the current squad…?

Positive moves

With that track record in most people’s minds, the signings of Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale were met with little excitement to put it mildly. White’s price tag was questioned, and Ramsdale’s track record of two consecutive relegations hardly made him the type of player to bring in for a Champions League push. Both have been fantastic, however. Nuno Tavares and Albert Lokonga have both contributed and though many not be automatic starters this or indeed next season, have both shown enough to be at least good squad players. The success of the two aforementioned players, plus the one we will get to in a second takes away the pressure from those two.

Despite the success of White and Ramsdale, the best signing of all, albeit not a straightforward one due to his loan, is of course Martin Ødegaard. He has been nothing short of sensational, and at a little over £30 million shows that you don’t have to break the bank to buy real quality.

There is a very definite improvement in that transfer record. It shows a man who knows what he wants, what his team needs. This summer looks like it will be a busy one both in and out and we can only hope that it continues on that positive trajectory. After last summer, any player coming in will certainly be looked at in a more positive light.

What do you think of Arteta’s transfer dealings so far?

23 Comments

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  1. There have been more bad transfers than good ones

    Ramsdale vs Runnerson
    White and Magalhaes vs Mari
    Ødegaard vs Willian
    Tomiyasu vs Cedric

    There’s also Tavares and Lokonga (although these could change). That’s 5 good transfers vs 6 bad transfers
    The less said about Saliba, the better for our collective mental health

    And there’s nothing inspiring about the handling of the Aubameyang situation

    How on earth is Cedric one for the future? He’s 30.

    The signing of White cannot be regarded as a masterstroke. It’s like saying that Guardiola’s signing of Dias is a transfer masterstroke. It isn’t cos his quality was already on full show back at Portugal and he was expensive. That said, I think the transfer successes registered last summer gives optimism for the future

    1. Are you an arsenal fan? Let’s us compare arsenal and the other five top teams. The arsenal signing are doing better than those world class players everywhere in the league. Give credit where it’s due. I am a strong critic of Arteta but here he deserves praise. But let keep our eyes 👀 open

  2. Odegaard has shown that it might be better to loan first or buy a cheap hot prospect like Martinelli. Or sign EPL players who’re still in their primes

  3. Odegaard nothing short of sensational!

    2020-2021
    1 goal 2 assists 14 games played

    2021-2022 (sensational season)
    6 goals and 4 assists in 33 games played

    Now if you compare that to Ozil who was deemed an awful player by some .

    2014-2015
    4 goals 5 assists 22 games played

    2015-2016
    6 goals 19 assists 35 games played

    2016-2017
    8 goals 9 assists 33 games played

    2017-2018
    4 goals 8 assists 26 games played

    2018-2019
    5 goals 2 assists 24 games played

    2019-2020
    1 goal 2 assists 18 games played

    I’m not saying that Odegaard is an awful player but a bit of perspective seeing that Odegaard is playing in the best team in a decade apparently so you would think his numbers would be higher than what they are .
    For me I would say only tomi and ramsdale have been great signings ,Ben white looks average and I would have expected more for the money seeing we could have gotten his partner Lewis dunk for 3 million who’s been playing brilliantly again this season for Brighton and conceding the same amount of goals as Arsenal which shows you don’t need to blow a load on shiny new players ,and leave you short in other areas which as been the case for us this season .

    1. Dan kit , I hope you can also factor in pressing and tracking back, making tackles, ball recovery etc just but to name a few

    2. DanKit
      I think you have missed (or left out?) a few important things:

      1) Ode works extremely hard for the team defensively with his pressing and his tackles: Ôzil was famous for his defensive laziness not only with us also with Real Madrid and with the German national team

      3) Despite his yougn age Ode is much more of a leader and inspirator for his team mates

      2) Özil was bought more or less at the peak of his carreer, and went downhill all the way with us. Ode was bought at a time, where there is a good chance he is still a few years from his peak. Much better prospects and much better business it would seem.

      1. Yea pressing needlessly then being out of position ,how many times I’ve watched him just jogging back and being ran past is no different to Ozil IMO .

        1. It went downhill!
          apart form Ozils last season and maybe the season before where he played 9 games less Odegaards numbers compared are just average ,,my point was the author saying he’s had a sensational season was IMO far from the truth .

    3. You don’t plant today and expect to reap today. Reaping will be done tomorrow. So early to disqualify B. White give him time

    4. Odegaard is a tough one to really analyse imo. I think he’s very good except that he isn’t incisive enough with his final pass – why that is, I’m not sure.
      I do prefer having him in the side to Ozil, who I was never taken with at arsenal; normally I’d be super impressed with those numbers, but i think the team had to sacrifice a lot to get them, whereas at least odegaard is playing as a part of the team. That’s just my preference between the two, I do think we could do better than odegaard for that position, but he could well improve in time.
      Agree on the rest, I really think Tomi is a brilliant signing, could be one of the best pure defenders we’ve at the club in a long time imo, and he’s not bad with the ball at all.

  4. Agreed on the overall premise of the article. While I still have reservations on Mr. Rolls Royce’s capability wrt his price tag, Aaron Ramsdale has been quality. He might have a few blunders recently but overall a solid 8 from me. I am surprised you omitted Tomi and his impact in our tactical play early on in the season when Arsenal were in good form. Lokonga and Tavares seem to have regressed but I think that is because of sporadic game time and can be fixed through increased competitions next season or loans. I hope Saliba returns to provide competition and Ben White practices Deep lying playmaker role in the offseason for a bit. His forays forward are good and his pace and certain recovery tackles are certainly impressive. Anyway with Saliba we also will have variety in our CB types. I think some years ago Eddie submitted an article here regarding CB types and with Saliba, Holding, Gabriel and White we would have a good variety. I think the backline is almost sorted unless we want to move out either of Tavares or Cedric. It is the middle of the park and the forward line where we need new personnel. I am also intrigued how MA will address the Pepe issue next season, with Nelson having a respectable G/A output. Well anyways I hope everything turns out fine.
    COYG!

  5. The defensive signings have made us a more resilient team. In all our wins how many of them are by a one goal advantage, You need to be strong defensively to hold onto slender leads in this competition. When we get, or if we get the right forwards, games will be more comfortable to see out -thanks to our non shaky backline and team effort. The potential within the side makes it even sweeter.

    1. Please when last did you see the team keep a clean sheet for a supposed improved defence
      The defence may have less errors in them but they are no better than the previous (Luis, holding etc) look at the defensive stats
      We defend more better as a team. Individually I don’t see any CB that has been great this season. Tomiyasu, Tierney and holding has been the best defensive performers
      My opinion though from what I have seen so far

    2. More resilient?! You do realise we’ve now conceded 4 more goals than we did last season and we still have 3 more games left to play, right?

      1. And that is also with arteta spending on so many defensive playerz
        With the amount spent on defensive players yet little improvement in our defensive stats

  6. The only sensational signing has been tomiyasu and Ramsdel players like white, Gabriel, odeguard have been okay while the rest are been equally poor or on par with their predecessors

    1. Even Tomi and Ramsdale have had their dodgy moments. Tomiyasu doesn’t overlap on the right side at all (name another RB that doesn’t do that either) and Ramsdale has gone backwards these past couple of months and can’t keep a clean sheet as of late.

      1. Yes. But i was referring at defensive side of our game, before his injuries(tomiyasu) he was our best defender

  7. Yeah Dan. I think mainly Ode has been impressive is because of his chance creation stat which seems to be highest in the league since November. Same way I thought Mesut was impressive when he got 16 assists with 19 games in the 2015 16 season and seemed to have the highest chance creation stat which was recently broken be KDB with his stacked team of attackers. In short I would say that output wise Ode suffers similarly to Mesut as if we had better attacking players then as with so many missed chances now I think Mesut would have more than 54 PL assists and Ode more than 4 assists this season.

  8. Please transfers have been excellent. Mari & Runarrson cheap buys. Willian & Cedric were free transfers. Gabriel & Party starting 11. Odegaard,Tomiyasu,White,& Ramsdale Starters. Sambi & Tavares young and first year step up to Top5 leagues give them time. With all the change it’s been excellent.

  9. If you look across how the other top 6 teams have done with their transfers, we have by far done the best business.
    You can discuss individual players. Some will be good additions some not so good, and often you can’t tell untill after a few years. Thats how it is for all clubs. But at the moment it looks like we have done extremely well.

  10. I agree MA made some good signings but calling any of them sensational, fantastic..is pushing it.
    I have to say,I laughed at Cedric being one for the future!😂

  11. Looking at the number of MA signings playing in the first team and the position the club are now in, compared to recent years… that seems like a simple fact that points to success.

    In my humble opinion all the (possibly valid) points about how player X doesn’t do this and Player Y was better in the past don’t mean much if the team as a whole are doing better (challenging for 3rd / 4th place) then that’s my definition of success.

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