After the Gunners completed the signing of world class striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day, we looked at whether this was Arsenal’s best transfer window of recent years.
First things first, let’s have a look at all the business Arsenal did over the January window:
- Mavropanos from PAS Giannina
- Mkhitaryan from Manchester United
- Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund
- Walcott to Everton
- Coquelin to Valencia
- Sanchez to Manchester United
- McGuane to Barcelona
- Giroud to Chelsea
- Debuchy to Saint Etienne
- Moore to Wycombe Wanderers
- Sheaf to Stevenage
- Reine-Adelaide to Angers
- Nwakali to Maastricht
- Mavididi to Charlton
- Pleguezuelo to Gimnastic de Tarragona
- Akpom to Sint-Truidense VV
- Bielik to Walsall
For a January window, that’s a whole lot of business.
One of the key concerns going into the window was the future of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil. Neither would sign contract extensions, which formed an air of uncertainty around the direction of the club. There’s not much point bringing in players to support the duo if you have to replace them this summer.
Fortunately, it seems like Arsenal have found a good resolution with both. Sanchez had clearly given up on the club, so he was sold and replaced impressively.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 100 goals in the time the Chilean scored his last 55, so he’s a proven goal threat. Then, Henrikh Mkhitaryan brings some extra creativity and quality in possession.
Mesut Özil has agreed a new deal to stay on for the next three-and-a-half years.
As well as that, Arsenal offloaded a lot of deadwood.
Players like Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin weren’t playing matches in the Premier League, but they certainly had an impact on the wage budget. Even Olivier Giroud only started one match in the competition after signing improved terms in 2017.
The only downside is that Sanchez and Giroud went to rivals. Unfortunately that was unavoidable, as neither Mkhitaryan nor Aubameyang could’ve joined otherwise.
Other contenders for best transfer window
Summer 2014 – This window had a lot of potential. Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina all joined in positions where Arsenal needed reinforcements. They combined to help the Gunners to an FA Cup trophy that year, and again in 2016/17.
On the other hand, two of them have already left, and the other three aren’t exactly first-choice starters. Calum Chambers recently signed a contract extension and has a bright future, but he’s not there yet. With the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think this one compares to January 2018.
Summer 2013 – Arsenal only really made one signing this summer, but it was a massive one: Mesut Özil.
The whole atmosphere around the club changed with that one deal and the club rode the wave of confidence to end their nine-year trophy drought. The scenes on deadline day were pretty unforgettable.
The Gunners also managed to bring in actual money for Marouane Chamakh, Emmanuel Frimpong and Gervinho. If they’d only signed the striker they clearly needed this would easily be the winning window.
Summer 2012 – Arsenal brought in Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud as Robin van Persie left for Manchester United. It was another window of damage limitation that the club dealt with very well. They were never going to replace van Persie directly, but they added talented players to improve the team.
Giroud and Cazorla both gave the Gunners countless happy memories, and Podolski provided a few of his own before he left. I think the Van Persie deal still overshadows those transfers a bit, but otherwise it was a very good summer.
Overall, I think my pick would be summer 2013 for now, simply because we’ve seen hardly anything from the January 2018 recruits so far. If they kick on and reach their potential, the January window could easily surpass that summer. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.