How has Arteta’s Transfer Record Developed
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 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.
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?