My Top Ten transfer market successes by Mikel Arteta at Arsenal

Hello everyone! by Nayan

Thanks a lot for your inputs on the last article! I agree that there are different opinions on transfers, and in hindsight I should have called them “mistakes” instead of “blunders” – apologies for the same.

I also wanted to appreciate all the hard work Arteta, Edu and the entire transfers and coaching team has put in. Noting down what I feel are some of the best player decisions taken by them (this includes buying / selling/ promoting from academy/ walking away from a deal).

1. Martin Odegaard
Starting with the crème de la crème – Captain Cool. Never easy to fill large shoes of some of the most charismatic creators Arsenal have had over the years – Fabregas, Ozil, Cazorla. The year before, Arsenal tried a similar experiment by loaning another La Liga player – Denis Suarez. However, that ended up being a disaster. Odegaard had some fine performances while on his first stint on loan, but he still hadn’t won everyone over in the 6 months that he played for us. We got him for a reasonable 35mn at that time, which looks like a bargain now! Hoping he keeps up the good work and leads us to CL success next season 😍

2. Ben White
50mn for a lesser-known defender from Brighton while Manu and Chelsea were busy signing some of the world’s best defenders in the world for lower seemed outrageous at beginning. But white has proven himself worth every penny and more since the day he signed for us. Showing amazing versatility to play an entire season on RB is no mean feat and adapted it like duck to water!

3. Granit Xhaka (retained instead of selling)
Must be one of the best redemption stories in the history of football! When the world seemed to agree that Xhaka’s Arsenal career is over, Arteta kept him instead of selling to the under-balling Roma and Mourinho 😁😁. He had his best season in Arsenal shirt last year and is still fetching a decent sum even towards the end of his Arsenal career. Adios Xhaka, you’re a true inspiration 🫡

4. Aaron Ramsdale
Paying 30mn for a backup goalie who had been relegated twice, hot on heels of a disastrous purchase of Runarsson while the hot shot goalie we sold for just 17mn (Martinez) the year before outperformed our first choice Leno – seemed one poor decision too many in the goal keeping department. However, Ramsdale and Arteta had different plans, and has proven all the naysayers wrong. Great to have him tied up for the future, surely the long-term no.1 for England in my view.

5. Thomas Partey
This must be one of the cheekiest transfers Arsenal ever pulled off. Last min signing in the transfer window, Arsenal had a heavy outlay of 45mn + 200k wages for a 27 yrs. old. He had a frustrating first season loaded with injuries but had a stellar season last year and has helped strengthen the spine of the team considerably. Latest news suggest that he may also be sold in this transfer window – possibly also having some relation to his personal matters. Will need to replace him adequately, else we will end up with a weaker squad next year.

6. Gabriel Magalhaes
This one seems to have just flown under the radar altogether. Arsenal bought Gabriel at the age of 22 only, for a decent 27 Mn. He has been an absolute revelation in the heart of the defence. His ability to cover large spaces allows Zinchenko to play the inverted LB role. He has an enviable fitness record, playing the bulk of matches since joining. While he may have a few mistakes here and there, this has been an astute transfer and money well spent by the club!

7. Eddie Nketiah – contract renewal
I’ve always been an ardent fan of Nketiah – he was the first academy striker to break firmly into the first team in many years and had the poacher instinct in front of goal. It was irritating to see Nketiah not get enough chances, while Auba and Laca had very poor seasons, and he was all set to depart on a free transfer. However, his performances towards the end of 21-22 season convinced Arteta that he has a future here, and got awarded with a new contract. He has repaid the faith with decent performances when Jesus was injured, and everyone thought the title charge is over. Hope he still gets chances to play next season!

8. Leonardo Trossard
Thankfully Arsenal backed out of signing Mudryk for the obnoxious fees, and the team went on to buy Trossard for a reasonable 27mn. He has kept raking up the assists in his short time with the club and would love to see him scoring more free kick goals next season!

9. Folarin Balogun – Loan
This was a good decision to let Balogun gain first team experience, instead of playing as 3rd choice backup in cup games. With a stellar season under his belt, Arteta has to make a tough choice now – I would prefer to have him and Nketiah as the 2 striker options, while Jesus plays on either of the wings. However, if Arsenal decide to sell, he must not be let go for less than 50 Mn 🙏🏻

10. Aubameyang – Sale
This is one that hurts a bit – PAA went from being the firm fan favourite and darling, to an outcast soon after signing his new deal. It’s quite unfortunate that Arsenal have had bad luck with players signing bumper contracts – Walcott, Ozil, Auba, hoping Saka, Saliba and Martinelli will break this trend. Back to PAA, Arteta showed balls of steel to banish the premier striker and captain from the team for indiscipline- no player should be put bigger than the club. Subsequent spell in Chelsea has also validated the decision to let go of our star striker.

11. Lacazette – released
It would have been easy to hide behind the fact that PAA is leaving, to give Lacazette a year’s extension. However, Arteta made the right call by ending the striker’s tenure after a difficult year where he hardly scored any goals and looked out of depth vs the best defences in the league. Case to argue is that he ended the last season with 25+ goals – but it’s in a different team structure, playing against easier defences hence not apple to apple. Good to see him doing well – he was a good player and was unfortunate to suddenly find himself in the shadow of PAA despite signing as Arsenal’s record buy at that time.

12. Joe Willock – sale
I’m sure some fans would disagree with me on this, but selling willock for 25mn was a great piece of business. He had received enough chances in Arsenal 1st team but had struggled to adapt to physicality of the league. Sure, the run of 7 goals in 7 games did give an insight into his potential, but it was a case of striking when the iron was hot. Arsenal have not been able to monetize their academy talents well unlike Liverpool, with Ox and Iwobi the only 2 other recent transfers that come to my mind. We will run the risk that some of these will go on and have great careers, but it’s better to sell for decent value then to repent as in case of Gnabry.

There are more such transfers, which deserve appreciation, including Jorginho and Tomiyasu, Ozil.

Saka, Martinelli, Saliba – while these were bedrock of our title challenge last year, they were actually integrated / bought by Emery. Arteta deserves credit for playing them enough last year. I do believe that we should have bought back Saliba a year earlier, instead of sending him on another loan.

P.S. – Hopefully I’ll be able to include Declan Rice in the above list next year as well! What a statement signing this is gonna be 😍 one of the best young English players, future country captain in the making, signing for Arsenal, despite interest from other top clubs!

Let me know what you guys think – which other decisions do you all appreciate the most?

Cheers
Nayan


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47 Comments

  1. Yes. Odegaard was his most successful player, but Havertz could threaten his position and Vieira would likely get better in his second season

  2. Still dont the Auba one
    Target was top 4 ….you give away a striker without a replacement leaving Laccazette and Eddie as your fire power knowing already both were struggling for goals
    Lacca doesn’t score in open play one Auba leaves , Eddie gets something like 4 goals ( and gets 100k a week for it !)
    We then scratch our heads as we finish fifth partly to our lack of fire power and then some call 5th progress !

    1. We all know Dan Auba was not ousted for his playing abilities but rather for his disciplinary issues. Which I still believe it was good riddance

      1. I enjoyed Auba as a player, but we need players of ability AND professionalism.
        It’s almost impossible to change a culture of unprofessionalism at a club, if your captain, highest paid player, and senior player, is a bad example to the young, impressionable squad around them.
        He was un-droppable when he was still scoring goals, but when his production dipped he became an expensive, disruptive liability.

    2. And YOU would wish to KEEP AUBA, A TOTALLY NON PRODUCTIVE, so called striker who had plainly given up trying at all and who was sponging big time off our club and we fans?

      Bonkers does not even begin to describe that wish!

    3. At the time, Auba was giving us nothing. Not replacing him (though we did try to be fair) was effectively the same as keeping him.

      1. Yet Barca made a profit when they sold him on, while we were (I believe) subsidising his salary.

        1. Not relevant, really. Market changes and we needed to get rid of him. I can hear the squealing now if Tuchel wanted him and we moved him to Chelsea for a few mil. Ha,ha…

    4. Dan
      when will you actually accept that Aubes in his pomp was great for us but once he signed his contract he was worse then dog poo
      he couldn’t hit a barn door. he went to Barcca and done ok
      he found some of his mojo and came back to chelski. played for a manager who knew him and he couldn’t even get a tune out of him

      letting him back in to our team when he showed little respect to his manager and team mates would of been a backward step
      Aubes fire power turned in to a powder puff and no he would not have fired us in to a top 4 spot

      1. Then you replace him
        You don’t go for 4th with Lacca and Eddie as only strikers
        Fact we failed to get top 4 shows it was a mistake

    5. Dan
      Abolishing Auba:
      This single act by Arteta is what has shape his Management style and propelled him close to the elite today.

      Probably the gaffer may never live to make a bigger call in his entire coaching career.

      Dropping your talisman for whatever reason, but on the eve of your most important derby and win with style.

      Surely the Kroenke would have take note feeling they may have stumbled upon a gem here.

      1. Close to the elite ?
        He needs to do more then 8th , 8th , 5th and 2nd to be close to the elite
        Remember Wenger used to onli finish top 4 and got mocked for it
        Arteta does it once and he’s close to the elite

        1. Dan,
          I do champion Arteta much of the time, but I cannot see that finishing 8th twice is any longer relevant. It happened, and would be worthy of real analysis if we finish 5th or worse this coming season. Nowhere do you mention the difficult times before Arteta joined. It wasn’t pleasant. You are overwhelmingly unimpressed by Arteta most of the time and have only written a scant number of articles that have given him any credit at all. He isn’t Pep or Klopp. Neither is he a Tuchel. I can add CA at Real Madrid. He has been in management 3 and a half seasons and came close to lifting the league trophy with a lot of top managerial talent below him. He absolutely does not deserve elite status but has made enormous strides.

        2. Ken & Dan
          Hoping am not seen in trying to hide the gaffer short comings.

          It’s just my honest take as a man in the street and how I saw it.

          First I must say I have nothing against Auba in fact I like the guy and want to wish him well.
          But it seem he was a distraction and a call was made.

          Yes Auba should have been replaced, but Arsenal needed a player that could offer what both Auba and Lacazette offered at the time, a player like Dominic Calvert Lewin, just never materialize.

          In all fairness Lacazette was a different animal as Arteta embarks on his mission, the Frenchman hold up play he worked tirelessly getting the kids involved more so I must admit the chemistry did improve.
          Ken you must admit if Unai Emery did just showed a fraction of the venom Arteta showed then, who knows.

          Dan we know Arteta is still work in progress, there was a seasons with lots of square pegs in round holes etc

          But we have seen here now, where he has taken a massive leap forward in his development, read recently where one elite club wanted to talk with him

          Arteta is far from the finish article but I am personally pleased with his progress.

          1. Gunsmoke, I believe MA has made massive strides in his managerial career and I am behind him 100%.

            That doesn’t mean that, when someone takes the time to write an article I can’t give my opinion for or against said article, if it involves Mikel Arteta.

            You write some excellent reviews on the topics being discussed and I always read them.

            Further down, I have given my positive views on Mikel’s signings and there are many to mention, just as there were against his bad signings.

            Hope that gives you an insight into my opinions…. and that’s what they are my friend, just opinions

      2. But Gunsmoke, you haven’t answers Dan’s very simple question – why didn’t he replace him before he let him go?
        That’s the question that I can’t answer.
        Yes, he became a liability, yes he wasn’t performing but was the ONLY answer then to freeze him out, reduce his market value and then rely on two untried and untested players (Nketiah and Nelson)?

        These are observations, not merely criticisms.

    6. Auba was shadowling Matinelli. How would you have seen Mat’s progress if Auba didn’t make way?

  3. Am wondering who’s responsible for this Thomas Partey transfer rumour.

    This is a rumour that has gone on every year since the Ghanaian arrives at the Emirates.

    Lacazette was never a bad player in my opinion , he seems to have exploded into even more life since leaving us, the players we sign in general are good in my opinion.

    1. GS
      it make sense for him to move on
      From us
      Not from a footballing point of view but from a personal point of view.
      I am afraid he has things pending against his name which could be detrimental to him and us in the future

  4. Re-signing Nelson Reis, might prove a masterstroke watch the space. I feel we’re going to reap the benefits of faith Arsenal put in him.

  5. Nayan, a far better piece, than your far too BLAME ridden last piece and this one is full of sense. Despite my many differences about your PREVIOUS PIECE, I do think that your two articles, taken as a whole, . graphically show how the ins and outs of MA and Edu, are best described as a CURATES EGG, which means good, in PARTS!
    I MUCH RATE MA as a coach and a man managEr and I esp admire his inviolable team and dressing room principles which has cleareD out the several shirkers and non committed players we had back then.

    ButSOME of his purchases and SOME of his delays in ridding us of non productive players is his least efficient part in managing our club.
    HOW VERY MUCH MA must now regret giving those new contracts to Ozil and Auba.

    A complete waste of valuable team building time and money, that back then, put his own standing as manager at realistic peril. But he HAS learned better, as seemingly too, have YOU, Nayan.

    1. I don’t think MA awarded Ozil his contract Jon, but he most definitely should have learnt from it.

  6. I think releasing Ozil might have been the biggest, riskiest and most important call arteta has made – it really set the tone that everyone has to work and no one is bigger than the manager or the team.

    1. DAVI , biggest and riskiest?

      Not in my book. I was urging our last three managers (not counting Freddie) to get that shirker gone since a year after he first arrived and essentially “retired”,even while still on the pitch.

      I HOLD MA responsible for NOT getting him out FAR SOONER . Likewise with Auba too.

      1. Riskiest in the sense that if things had gone badly wrong, which they almost did, many would say it was foolish to force out our ‘best’ player.
        I agree it was the right move, but he had to follow it up with good results, otherwise he’d have suffered badly from the media and fans.
        Just saying, it took balls.

      2. But Jon, you were also shouting from the rooftops that Xhaka was useless, lazy and every other thing you label players with.

        Don’t you think those three managers know more about players than you, especially when working on a day to day basis?

    2. No because he paid Ozil to sit at home while finsihing 8th twice
      That means decision was wrong

      1. Especially after playing this “shirker” in all of MA’si unbeaten run before covid struck.
        One thing that Ozil did that Aubameyang didn’t do, was he never dissed the club or the manager, he turned up for training and, as Saka says, he was always there for the younger players.
        Aubameyang’s attitude was completely the opposite.

        How a player can be a first choice on the team sheet – then, after no football being played due to the coronavirus, become unsuitable to even feature in the squad, has nothing to do with football skills etc but more to do with internal politics, with a capital P and a small p.

  7. Should have been top five then would have not to include three players MA had no involvement in signing 🙂

  8. Odergaard, Partey, Gabriel and Trossard ( although not used enough or correctly) i agree. I dont think we needed Ramsdale because he didn’t better the keeper he replaced. Xhaka although he had a good season was limited. Ben White, i think is weak for a defender and for 50 mil coukd have got better. Willock was an awful sale, i did not get it. Auba, was ot a sale, it cost us and he was then sold on by that club for a profit. Lacca again cost us 50 mil, we let go for free and he has been scoring for fun this year and i believe, scored the most goals in the French league in 2023 than Mbappe, Naymar and our own Balogun.

      1. Reggie
        Eddie is never the player we want for the future…in my opinion
        But
        He helped and contributed in getting us back in the top 4
        That alone has reaped the rewards financially in justifying his contract
        Would sell him in a heart best if the right offer came along

        1. AB Nketiah did not let us down and was an able deputy but he doesn’t change our dynamic, just keeps it the same.

  9. Viera, I can’t really see what special attributes he’s got besides maybe an ability to shoot the ball. I would sell him if there was a buyer before his value plummet way beyond the fee we paid for him. As for havert, I think he would play more as a forward and I remember you saying how he holds the ball better than Jesus as a center forward on another post recently.

  10. It’s funny isnt it though
    Eddie is on 100 k a week for what 5 League goals each season and no one says anything

    1. I don’t see too many posts thinking EN was a) worth the reported salary raise and b) is a Harry Kane in waiting.

  11. Partey and Gabriel were scouted well before Arteta came in. The signing of Partey especially was forced through by Edu. Selling Laca and Willick was bad. How do you credit him with Martinelli and Saka? Odegaard and Tomiyasu have been very good purchases but he has bought a lot of average players.

  12. Good follow up article and, perhaps, those who condemned your first article should have waited for the oromused second one?

    In my opinion, getting Saka, Martinelli, Ramsdale, Saliba (?) Odegaard and ESR (verbally) to commit their futures to the club is a tremendous achievement and the signings of Trossard, Zinchenko, Gabriel and Jorginho all made at the perfect time for the club, ranks highly for me.
    I have to say that MA has been very fortunate to have the complete backing of the Kronkie family – something lacking for those before him.

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