Did Arteta get it right with player exits at Arsenal? What’s your verdict?

Player exits…Did Arteta get it right? by Jonbo

There are many areas where a manager can succeed or fail, and one of the major factors they have to get mostly right is transfers. I say “mostly”, because no manager or club has a 100% success rate with transfers.

And a lot of times, it’s out of a manager’s hands anyway. A player may push through a move against the wishes of the manager. A technical director may overrule a manager. A player may want to stay, the manager loves him, but financial trouble at a club may be the deciding factor.

So did Arteta get it right with player exits at Arsenal? This isn’t about transfer fees, or money, it’s purely about whether we should have kept players or not based on their Arsenal performances and what they and us have done since?

Mkhitaryan – YES

He was a flop for us, and I think he wanted to leave anyway. He has played a lot for Roma, and done fairly well from the little I have seen, but was terrible in England for us and Utd, so it was right to get rid of.

Emi Martinez – YES

This was a very difficult call, because he’s done really well for Villa, and has cemented his place as Argentina’s number one. He came in for the injured Leno, and was brilliant for us. The issue was that he wanted, and felt he was good enough for regular first team football, which was fair enough at his age. The main problems were that Leno had also been excellent for us, so it would have been harsh to replace him, and that it’s difficult for any manager to guarantee a starting spot to a player. I guess it’s easier to say that selling was the correct call since Ramsdale’s signing.

Mustafi – YES

Huge flop for us, and has done absolutely nothing since leaving, and barely played. Currently at Levente which is probably his level, no disrespect to them.

Ozil – YES

Easiest call out of all of them. Trouble maker, consistently poor performances, and terrible attitude. Ozil’s critics have been more than proven right, especially given what’s happened with him at Fenerbahce.

Willock – YES

A brilliant loan spell at Newcastle, which angered some Arsenal fans when we sold him. Willock never really hit it off at Arsenal, and hasn’t matched his loan performances since moving to Newcastle.

Kolasinac – YES

A fan favourite, albeit briefly, but not good for us overall. Hasn’t played a lot since leaving.

Sokratis – YES

I actually really liked this signing. An aggressive old school CB was exactly what we needed. Unfortunately he was asked to play out from the back, and looked terrible in the process. He wasn’t needed anymore, and is currently back in Greece.

Aubameyang – NO

I completely support Arteta’s decision to get rid of Auba because of disciplinary issues (and his form had also been awful for a very long time), because he could have lost control of the dressing otherwise. Despite my support on this issue, it was mid-season, and our backup options were not great in Laca and Nketiah. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen Arteta and Auba come to some sort of compromise that would have kept him at the club for the last 6 months, before moving him on in the summer.

Lacazette – YES

I have always felt a little sorry for Laca. We finally spent big on a quality striker, only to upgrade him just 6 months later with Auba. Has never really been given a chance in my opinion. Decent player, but definitely right to move him on.

Chambers – NO

Quality versatile squad player. I would have liked to have kept him, but he wanted to play more often. Letting him go wasn’t an issue, like with Auba, it was the timing. Always risky mid-season, and I feel it backfired with the injuries towards the end of the season. Should have let him go in the summer instead.

Willian – YES

Very poor signing, and moved on after one season. Barely played since, and hasn’t scored a single goal.

Luiz – YES

Just like Willian, has only played 9 games since returning to Brazil. We do not miss him. Had the ability to look world class, and Sunday league in the same game.

I have only listed players from the first team. Let me know if I missed anyone.

Out of the list, I think we can only really say that Mkhitaryan, Auba and Martinez have found better or the same form since leaving, in relation to the quality of the league they are playing in. That said, and as I explained, two out of those three were the right calls as Mhki had been dreadful in England, and I think he wanted to go. It was a difficult situation with Martinez and Leno, and Ramsdale is definitely the best option out of the three keepers.

On one hand, Arteta has done very well getting 10 out of 12 right, and one could easily argue 11 or 12 out of 12, but then again, it wasn’t exactly hard making the right calls, given that the vast majority of these players were considered deadwood.


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Tags Auba David Luiz Martinez Ozil


  1. This is not the full picture.. Where is guendozi and mavropanos? And Luiz was given another contract by Arteta for one year he completed that and left.. What about departures that should have happened but Arteta didn’t allow? Like Xhaka and Niles. This article is incomplete and biased toward Arteta.

    1. Extremely one sided Reggie . Overall he has failed but admittedly his transfer ins have been impressive or have great potential

    2. 🤣 🤣 🤣 Let’s hear your opinion, I was thinking you will counter with something better

      1. If you had read this site before, you would know my opinion but just for you. Martinez should never have been sold, by far our best keeper and cost us fortunes to replace him with no better. Luiz has never been replaced, people dont like it being said but he was far better than what we had last season. Willock was never given a chance by Arteta and since he has left, he has helped Newcastle improve but blighted by an injury, that Newcastle admit, was made worse by them. Auba was given away, not replaced, was handled badly and has gone on to better things. Lacca has run his contract down, we didn’t get rid and again, not treated the best. We have somehow missed Gouendouzi who again, our manager failed to manage, was given away by us and gone on to better things. Mavropanos given away for peanuts and not given a chance. So i dont agree at all with the author of the article and with very good reasons.

        1. Is that the same Willock that most on here were making fun of and abusing because he was included in the team ahead of Dear leader Ozil?

          The poor guy became the target on here. Arteta played him until it became clear he was not up to the level.

          Just go back and read the comments about him.

  2. Interesting.
    So the only players we got money for are both Martinez and willock. Roughly 45m for both after their outstanding performance before they were sold.

    I agree with majority of the article but not all.
    Martinez wasn’t the right call and here is my reason.
    He was replaced by runnerson, and not ramsdale.
    As what I read, he wanted guaranteed playing times which is normal considering the performances he put on while Leno was away.
    Not sure where he wanted to be assigned to being the number 1.
    Arteta should have rotate him by playing him in the cups and Europa and give Leno the EPL spot.
    One of Arteta weakness is he doesn’t rotate and he hardly introduce new players to the line up untill things not going accordingly. We have seen this many times.

    The second would be willock case.
    I find willock case similar to nketia. Except one was sold and the other was given much improved contract and a legendary number. Yeah a little slight difference in terms of contract but a very similar situation. With that performance, willock could have been given a much improved deal and more playing time as well since his performance towards the end of season was justified but he got sold.
    Maybe they realize it was a mistake and don’t want to make the same call with nketia we never can tell.
    Now we can say willock later flop this season after being sold, which we got profit from his sales. but same thing could happen to any of our top performances this completed season.
    I personally don’t see Esr or Saka getting +10 goals in the league like they did last season.

    1. Would love to see from Jonbo how many signings he had gotten right. Never mind I already know the answer.. A big yes for Runarsson.

  3. We have to qualify the discussions by saying Lacazette Aubameyang Mkhitaryian Kolasinac Ozil Socritis Chambers stayed for months or years, not playing, loaned out, being paid in some cases obscene salaries leaving for free and in ths case of Ozil Aubameyang Lacazette and in all probability Willian were paid long after they left. Willock 20mill Martinez 15 mill while Guendouzie was sold for 12 mill while being valued at 30m . Bellerin Torrieira Runarsson and Bellerin will go for much less than they were worth. So the truth is most of the players actually left on their own terms after maxing out their generous Arsenal salaries and also by leaving on a free this enabled them to neotiate the best possible terms at their new clubs. We must also remember almost all these players were signed before Arteta arrived so Arteta has been cleaning up after Wenger and Emery for all of his first 2 +1/2 seasons in charge. This season then will be the first real Arteta squad.

    1. Ah yes cleaning up that mess of players that helped deliver the FA Cup for him.

      Meanwhile back in reality, his hand picked group of players to facilitate Artetaball to perfection have delivered nothing, and choked away the chance for 4th.

      His chosen ones collapsed and shriveled up when the pressure was on, more frail weak mentality that hasn’t changed in too many years.

      In fact his 100 million defensive rebuild actually had worse stats than the Leno, Bellerin, Luiz backline people mock as deadwood.

      Best just to bury one’s head in the sand and cite youth and other club’s wealth, blame covid, refs, VAR, and a stingy owner who only spent 250 million in 2 Summers, likely to top 350 million after this Summer.

      But hey Arteta’s been here 2 1/2 years and 12 new players, but let’s focus on “Wenger’s mess.”

  4. Aubameyang began Holding the team backward with continuous goal draughts, arrogance and indiscipline; thereby holding the Club Ransome. So, he needed to go before AFC became real contestants for top 4. Even though Arteta could have given dialogue a chance to make him change

    1. I think they’d had that dialogue over the summer, he had a few decent games near the start of the season but lost interest again. I think he just wasn’t happy for whatever reason and couldn’t be fully professional about it

  5. Arsenal are buildung a team, which can challenge for the title in 2-3 years.
    Not one of those players would/could be part of that future team. So sooner or later, they would have to go.
    Whether the timing and the money was right for all of them is a different matter, though.

    1. Yes like the backed Wenger whose teams for the future were already challenging but kept being sent back to step one.

      1. Don’t know what Wenger has to do with this. But Wenger could build teams that won and challenged for the title in the first half of his tenure. Not in the second half, when others overtook us, even clubs who were spending much less.

        1. Sorry man.. But even during his second half he made some great teams with a few additions would have been able to win the title..

  6. I don’t get why you think it was a mistake to let auba go – he was consistently playing worse than laca and Eddie, so he wasn’t exactly an option worth having. Good for him, he’s playing better again at barca, but he was finished here long before we actually let him go.

  7. Willian and luiz got new contracts by arteta so those 2 shit transfers and we didnt get money only willock was good

  8. Well written article Jonbo with Arteta apologist DNA all over it. Where are Guendouzi, Saliba and Mav? Ooh you didn’t want many NOs in your article did you?

    But that is only one side of the coin.

    Do another one on Arteta signings.

    1. How many did he get right?

    2. How have they fared compared to their previous clubs?

    3. How well have they been coached? Have they improved or deteriorated?

    4. What is their value now? Has it increased or decreased?

    5. How have they performed compared to the players who were let go? League tables? Europe qualification? Cup runs?

    1. Good all on Guendouzi and Mavro. They were on my notes, but I completely forgot to put them in.

      Guendouzi I think was the wrong call, although I can see why given his immaturity. I would have liked to have seen he and Arteta patch things up.

      Mavro was the right call. Doing well in Germany, but that doesn’t mean a lot. We’ve signed a lot of players from Germany, the vast majorty of them have flopped.

      I think I did one before on signings. The majority have been success’s, especially when you consider the fees paid, bar White…so far.

      1. 1. Tomi great
        2. Ramsdale marginal over Leno. Ramsdale better distribution Leno better shot stopper.
        3. White worth half what Arteta paid, questionable if he’s better than Saliba
        4. Lokogna not ready for PL backup role
        5. Tavares talented but not a ready backup
        6. Mari was a 14 million bust
        7. Cedric error prone runs hot and cold
        8. Runarsson a bust
        9. Odegaard shows flashes of brilliance but lacks consistency
        10. Willan one of worst signing ever

        Maybe missed some but those come to mind. It’s hit and miss for any manager, but with youth project you have to get it right almost every time.

        Otherwise you are out the money and wages, and stuck with a player needing a loan, and short of money to fill the needed position.

        That’s why if you go with a manager as raw as Arteta you need a competent experienced person in management to minimize errors.

        Unfortunately we compounded the problem by adding an inexperienced Edu

        1. Yes, but you have to take into account fees paid as well, and you forgot Partey and Gabriel.

          1. Tomi great signing, fantastic price
          2. Ramsdale one of the signings of the season despite the little dip at the end. Upgrade on Leno, huge potential as well. Again, great price
          2. White, classic example of the English tax. Def overpaid…at the moment, but he has shown the potential to be much better.
          4. Lokonga, poor so far, but young enough to improve. Low fee paid.
          5. Taveras, very mixed debut season, and very low fee paid.
          6. Mari was half that price, and actually was decent for us. Quality backup
          7. Cedric was free, and as done as much as I’d expect for a backup player on a free.
          8. Runnersson only ever brought in as cover, but was terrible. Tiny fee paid
          9. Odegaard has huge potential, and we got him for a bargain.
          10. Willian Terrible signing, but was on a free, and gone after one season
          11. Partey brilliant signing, and for a great price. Not much Arteta can do about his injuries.
          12. Gabriel, great signing, solid price, and lots of potential.

          When you actually look at it. Only Willian and Runnersson have been out-and-out flops, and cost less than 2 million. Lokonga and Taveras very young and raw, and only their first season in English football. Def overpaid for White, but he has shown potential that could eventually makeup for his fee, or the majority of his fee.

          As I have always said, find me a club that gets it right every time, you cannot. All clubs make mistakes. What you want is that mistakes are few and far between and that they’re not too costly, and think that’s what we’ve done so far.

          1. You forgot to account for the added fees paid when Mari played over a certain number of games, which raised the original fee.

            There were articles about it, and how he was underperforming yet costing Arsenal more money. Mari is slow, easily spun, inadequate, and not the technical passer Arteta and Edu said.

            He cost Arsenal more than the original 7 million.

            You are correct on CB Gabriel, I missed that one. I consider him the best CB on the roster and far better and more consistent than the overhyped 50 million Rolls Royce White. Brighton are better without him as the performances and finish this year showed.

            Willan cost us millions in wages, can’t excuse or ignore them because no transfer fee involved. Same with Cedric, and the Ceballos loan twice.

            Partey could be great, but he’s been Ramsey-like so far, and a regular customer in the treatment room.

        2. Do I even see Odegaard inconsistent? The player that created the 2nd most chances in the whole league since November (when he returned from injury) bar kdb?
          Do we even watch the same player?
          There were players that are irreplaceable in the team last season and Ode is one of the first on the list.
          The man that makes that midfield tick and potent to dominate play, creativity on the right, and you say he isn’t consistent?
          OMG, we watch very different players.

    1. Let’s leave it at that. It’s the reason why Arsenal are five players away from a title challenge, meaning within eight points of the eventual winner.

  9. All the players he has got rid of I’m glad he did. The issue for me is not getting money for some of them and the fact we didn’t replace anyone that left in January which is what ultimately ended up costing us in the end of season run in

    1. Yes Arsenal still not performing well in terms of receiving money, but to be fair, the vast majority of the players that have left, were impossible to get fees for.

      Rubbish players, on huge wages. The worst possible combination when selling.

      1. Yeah poor financial management that I hope that lesson has been learnt and we do not fall into again

  10. Agree on all counts except Aubameyang. He was not performing and the second act of indiscipline, doing exactly the same thing, was a test of leadership for Arteta and of resolve for the club.

    Transfer fees are not the only issue, total cost including wages is the real amount to look at and Auba would have cost a lot in wages to keep around. And he was no longer performing on the pitch.

    Consider the effect of having so many ex-captains in the dressing room – Xhaka, Auba… who would be able to function as captain in those circumstances?

    Overall, he’s had to clear out dead wood befre being allwed to spend big and that process is almost complete now.

    And btw Ghendouzi was also the right call. His character flaws only showed up late in the day (or it became obvious that he wouldn’t outgrow them). He’s still behaving like a child in France, trying to get into Saliba’s head.

    When you look at all the bad influences in the squad it’s a miracle it could function at all. Arteta had no choice really imho. I feel sure that last season’s near-miss on CL qualification was above expectations on the plans.

    And btw Xhaka – probably the right call to keep him and move him upfield. The difference with Xhaka is that he cares and is a good influence. The incident with the fans I read as him being cheesed off that he’d played his best for his club (however it turned out, he was trying to do well) and the supporters booed him. He surprised and disappointed so he reacted. That’s a million miles from the situation with layabouts like Ozil, flawed negative personalities like Ghendouzi and freeloaders like many of the others.

      1. Seeing its a writer you kicked off Pat for his views on covid and as come on with a new name maybe TRVL as a point

          1. An easy VPN would sort that out Pat
            I should know as I spent 2 years arguing with him and knowing how he writes but you believe what you want .

            1. TMJW was a twat and won’t be coming back while I’m here. I publish articles from both and know for sure okay.
              Believe what you want.

              1. Go over jonbos first couple of articles the one where he sneaked in the bit about covid then tell me there are no similarities.
                I know for sure myself but your the boss so ….. I’ll leave it there .

                1. as you may have noticed DK, once again my response, which was rather innocuous, was removed from the equation…it’s f’ing comical

  11. Funny how we talk about handing average players too big a salary
    When we are making same mistake again with Eddie Nketiah

  12. Broadly speaking , I agree with Jonbos,however INCOMPLETE list.

    I disagree on Auba and thought then, as I DO NOW, HE HAD TO GO THEN, AS HE WAS HARMING OUR ALL IMPORTANT TEAM HARMONY.

    But we badly needed a replacement in JAN and THAT OMISSION cost us fourth place IMO.
    My only true argument with MA would have been about Mavro, a sale I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND AND STILL DO NOT!

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