The plan of Mikel Arteta and Edu is starting to come together as the vision and time it has taken to overhaul the squad is about to pay off. Arsenal’s sporting director has overseen a total of 27 transfers since returning to the club in July 2019. The January signings of Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho has taken his total spending to over £500m. But how does Edu’s transfer incomings rank since returning to North London?
HITS: The big-money moves of Ben White and Thomas Partey, have both become integral members of the starting team. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale continues to prove to be an astute piece of business and captain Martin Odegaard has turned out to be one of the best midfielders in the league for a £34m bargain. Centre-backs William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhães have both been superb and given Arsenal a real presence in defence as well as left-backs Kieran Tierney and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Gabriel Martinelli was an excellent acquisition from Brazil, Takehiro Tomiyasu has done well when fit and Gabriel Jesus made an excellent start to his first season at the club before his injury.
MISSES: The biggest miss is the club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe as the Gunners splashed out £72m on the winger but it has not worked out for him. David Luiz also joined Arsenal in 2019 and endured a mixed time during his two seasons at the Emirates, while Dani Ceballos came in on loan from Real Madrid but made little impact despite making 77 appearances. Mikel Arteta bought in the additions of Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari as his first deals in charge – both initially on loan before signing them permanently, but they did not work out as planned. Willian signed on a free transfer that failed big time, especially given his enormous wages. Arsenal also spent £2m on back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson – which turned out to be a total flop and prompted the signing of Maty Ryan on loan in January 2021. Plus, Nuno Tavares is the most recent addition that didn’t really go to plan. All those players have either left the club or gone out on loan.
JURY’S OUT: Albert Sambi Lokonga has huge potential but has failed to secure his role in the team. The others are Portuguese playmaker Fabio Vieira, second-choice goalkeeper Matt Turner and teenage winger Marquinhos. They are too early on in their Arsenal career to make a judgement call just yet, but have all shown glimpses of talent and what they can bring to the squad. Lokonga and Marquinhos are currently out on loan.
Thankfully more of Edu’s signings have been hits than misses, and crucially most of the additions under Mikel Arteta have been successes that have helped Arsenal to go top of the Premier League this season.