Arsenal’s Deadline Day signings have often come in with varying degrees of success. Sometimes they are viewed as a piece of genius by Wenger, by sometimes they can be panic buys who never really make it at Arsenal. Nevertheless, there is nothing quite like a new signing to generate enthusiasm at the club, so we will all be hoping for an exciting Deadline Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a look back at all of Arsenal’s Deadline Day signings over the past five years.
In the year in which future Club captain Thomas Vermaelen joined the club from Ajax for around £10m, Arsenal rather let fans down by making no Deadline Day signings. Other arrivals included Samuel Galindo, who few of you will remember, and former defender Sol Campbell, who was one of the surprise successes of the season, scoring against Porto in his return to the Champions League. This was also the season in which promising youngsters Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere joined Brentford and Bolton on loan respectively, helping them to subsequently make the next step to the senior side. Both are now integral figures in the Arsenal squad.
Once again, Arsene Wenger provided no Deadline Day excitement for Arsenal fans in the 2010/11 season. This frustrated many Arsenal fans greatly at the time, as there were still obvious weaknesses in the team. Arsenal did, however, make a number of signings throughout the duration of the window. Marouane Chamakh joined on a free transfer from Bordeaux, and whilst he started brightly, his lack of fitness was his eventual undoing. Promising youngsters Philip Roberts, Kyle Ebecilio, Ryo Miyaichi and Wellington joined the club from various other outfits, with the latter pair still currently at the Club, despite rarely being involved with the first team. Other signings included French centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci, from Lorient and Sevilla respectively. Koscielny has gone on to be a huge success, whereas Squillaci failed dismally. Finally, this season was the return of Jens Lehmann to the Arsenal squad, where he sensationally had to fill in for the injured Manuel Almunia, Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski, playing in goal against Blackpool.
There were many departures, such as that of centre-back pairing Sol Campbell (to Newcastle) and Mikael Silvestre (to Werder Bremen). Philippe Senderos and youngster Fran Merida also left the Club on free transfers, to Fulham and Atletico Madrid respectively. Fan favourite Eduardo left to Shakhtar Donetsk for £6m, largely due to his injury troubles. Perhaps the biggest loss was not noticed at the time, however. Young defensive midfielder Havard Nordtveit left to Borussia Moenchengladbach for £800,000, and has gone on to be a huge success in Germany – Arsenal could certainly do with a defensive midfielder now!
In 2011, Arsene Wenger made a miraculous total of four Transfer Deadline Day signings, although not all of them went of to be huge successes. Brazilian left-back Andre Santos joined the Club from Fenerbahce for £6.2m. A starter for the Brazilian national team, this was an intriguing signing at the time, and Santos was viewed as a good replacement for the departed Gael Clichy (to Manchester City). However, Santos will go down in history as one of Arsene Wenger’s worst-ever signings, having failed dismally at the Club.
Another Deadline Day arrival was current Club captain Mikel Arteta, from Everton for £10m. This signing, unlike that of Santos, will certainly go down as one of Arsene Wenger’s best-ever. Arteta was excellent in his first two seasons at the Club, having been named vice-captain in his second. He was widely regarded as Arsenal’s most consistent player, and whilst his years have caught up to him lately, Arteta is still an important member of the squad.
As well as Santos and Arteta, Arsene Wenger brought in Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen for £8m. The big German centre-back struggled in his first season at the Club, labelled as a ‘flop’ almost immediately. However, he has since proved his doubters wrong, and was named vice-captain of Arsenal for the 2014/15 season, after some excellent displays last season.
The final Deadline Day arrival was that of Yossi Benayoun on loan from Chelsea, and whilst this by no means an inspired signing, Benayoun scored some vital goals towards the end of the season, and many Gunners fans were disappointed when Arsene Wenger did not tie Benayoun down to a permanent deal in the summer. Other signings in the 2011/12 transfer window included Carl Jenkinson from Charlton for £1m; Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin from Barcelona for a combined fee of £750,000; Gervinho from Lille for £10.5m; Joel Campbell from Deportivo Saprissa for £900,000, which will go down as one of the bargains of the window; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £12m from Southampton; and Park Chu-Young from AS Monaco for £1.8m – as I said, the signings had varying degrees of success at Arsenal.
This was also the season in which the likes of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue, Samir Nasri, Armand Traore, Luke Freeman and Gilles Sunu all left the club on permanent deals.
Once again, Arsenal did not make any Deadline Day signings in this transfer window – in fact, they only signed a total of four players. However, these were more considered signings, and it could be seen that the Club was moving forward in its transfer policy. Lukas Podolski was the first signing of the summer, joining from FC Cologne for a fee of £10.9m. There was significant excitement surrounding this signings, as it was thought that Podolski would end Arsenal’s centre-forward woes. The next signing was that of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier for a fee in the region of £12.8m. Giroud’s Montpellier had just won the Ligue 1 title, with the Frenchman leading the Champions’ scoring charts, netting over 20 goals. Giroud initially struggled at Arsenal, but has since become a key member of the team. Finally in the summer window, Arsenal signed Spaniard Santi Cazorla from Malaga in a £15m deal. This was Arsenal’s greatest success in the summer transfer window, as the gifted Spaniard went on to be the Gunners’ player of the season. In the January window, Arsenal snapped up yet another Spaniard from Malaga, this time in the form of left-back Nacho Monreal, who finally seems to be settling at the Club.
There were some significant departures in this transfer window, however. Robin van Persie joined Manchester United in a £25m deal, whereas Alex Song joined Barcelona for £15, but has since joined West Ham on loan. Carlos Vela joined Real Sociedad in a £5m deal following a successful loan period, and has since gone on to be one of their best players. Long-serving goalkeeper Manuel Almunia joined Watford on a free transfer, and many promising youngsters were allowed to leave the Club. Jeffrey Monakana joined Preston North End; Oguzhan Ozyakup joined Besiktas, and faced up against Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers; Alban Bunjaku joined Sevilla; Gavin Hoyte went to Dagenham & Redbridge; Pedro Botelho joined Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense; Kyle Bartley moved to Swansea City for £1m; and perhaps most regrettably, fan favourite Henri Lansbury moved to Nottingham Forest for £1m, having netted one Arsenal goal in his entire career – against Tottenham, no less.
This transfer window would have gone down as one of the worst in the history of Arsenal Football Club, had it not been for the arrival of a certain German playmaker from Real Madrid. Mesut Ozil, referred to as the “best No. 10 in the world” by Jose Mourinho, joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in a £42m deal. What made this transfer even better was that it was entirely as a result of Tottenham’s decision to sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for around £80m. Tottenham then went and spent all of this money on unproven foreign talent, most of whom flopped in their first season. What’s more, Arsenal fans had absolutely no clue that they were even in for Ozil before Deadline Day. Geoff Arsenal dropped the hint via Twitter that Arsenal were in for a £40m German international, but even then the most we could have hoped for would have been Julian Draxler. But as it turns out, Mesut Ozil signed for Arsenal just minutes before the transfer deadline ended, to the elation of many Gunners. He started on fire for the Club, but faded towards the middle of the season, finding his form again towards the end.
Before the signing of Mesut Ozil, Arsenal had only made two signings. Young French striker Yaya Sanogo joined on a free transfer from Auxerre, and former midfielder Mathieu Flamini re-joined the Club for free, following the expiration of his contract with AC Milan. Emiliano Viviano also joined the Club on a season-long loan from Palermo, but surprisingly did not make a single first team appearance. Later on in the season, veteran Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom joined on loan from Spartak Moscow due to an injury crisis in midfield, and made his mark by scoring a penalty against Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final.
There were many departures this transfer window, but mostly that of the ‘dead wood’. Denilson joined Sao Paulo on a free transfer; Andrei Arshavin re-joined Zenit St Petersburg for free; Vito Mannone was sold to Sunderland for £2m; Sebastien Squillaci joined French side Bastia on a free transfer; Andre Santos was sold to Flamengo for an undisclosed fee; Gervinho joined AS Roma in an £8m deal; Marouane Chamakh was released to Crystal Palace; and Emmanuel Frimpong joined Barnsley for an undisclosed fee in January. Many promising youngsters also left the Club, such as Martin Angha, Craig Eastmond, Elton Monteiro, Kyle Ebecilio, Sanchez Watt, James Shea, Reice Charles-Cook, Jernade Meade, Philip Roberts, Sead Hajrovic, Samir Bihmoutine, Conor Henderson, Nico Yennaris and Nigel Neita.
And that’s it for the round-up. Let’s hope Arsene Wenger gives a Deadline Day to be excited about!
By Lucas Jones (Twitter: @LucasJones4)