Arsenal saw a frustrating and frantic winter transfer window fly past. Bidding for a spot in the top 4, it appeared that the Gunners would look to bolster their squad for the second half of the season. Edu managed to offload a string of fringe players to clear the wage bill.
However, Arsenal failed to land any of their key targets; Alexander Isak, Dusan Vlahovic, Douglas Luiz, Bruno Guimaraes, Dejan Kulusevski and Arthur Melo were all pursued unsuccessfully in the winter transfer window. Here is a roundup of all the signings and departures that we saw at the Emirates:
Auston Trusty (Colorado Rapids):
Arsenal signed the 23-year-old centre-back from Colorado Rapids for an undisclosed fee. However, the young defender has been loaned back to the US club and will remain with them until at least the end of the Premier League season.
Matt Turner (New England Revolution):
Another American professional, the Gunners reached an agreement to sign New England Revolution shot-stopper Matt Turner. Like Trusty, the 27-year-old keeper will also join Arteta’s side in the summer after the culmination of the ongoing season.
Miguel Azeez (Portsmouth):
Azeez had a difficult loan spell with Portsmouth in the first half of the season. The 18-year-old managed just 10 games under Danny Cowley and was recalled by his parent club in January. Given Arsenal’s lack of steel in midfield, Azeez will be hoping to impress Arteta and the coaching staff.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth boss Cowley had plenty of praise reserved for the youngster. The 42-year-old praised Azeez:
“I believe this has been a fantastic stepping stone in Miguel’s journey – moving into a senior environment and playing League One football.
I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll go on to become a top player and this will have been an important part of his development.
He leaves here a better player and hopefully a better person. We’ve been impressed with his focus and commitment to improve.
There are some areas of his game that are beyond this level and other areas that he needs to keep working at, as with any young player.
I’m as excited as everyone else to see how he progresses and we wish him nothing but success moving forward.”
- Lino Silva (West Brom, nominal fee)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (AS Roma):
Maitland-Niles was a useful utility option for Arteta in the 2020-21 season. He functioned as a full-back or in the midfield as per the manager’s need. However, with the signings of Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Takehiro Tomiyasu, the Englishman has lost prominence.
Maitland-Niles had just 263 Premier League minutes under his belt this season. An uncharacteristic Instagram message complaining about his lack of involvement also left a poor taste in the mouth. He has joined AS Roma on a loan deal. The 24-year-old already has 237 minutes from 3 starts under Jose Mourinho in Italy.
Folarin Balogun (Middlesbrough):
Balogun had a fantastic campaign with the Arsenal U-23 side. The youngster notched up 13 goals and 3 assists to his name in just 11 games. However, in his games with the senior team, the Englishman appeared timid and out-of-place.
After his move to Middlesbrough, Balogun has already acquired 70 minutes in 3 games so far under Chris Wilder. Arsenal are hunting for a centre-forward in the window, and the English forward will hope to make a strong case for himself in the Championship.
Sead Kolasinac (Olympique Marseille):
Kolasinac fell completely out of favour under Arteta, owing to Tierney’s form and Tavares emerging as a competent backup. Since signing from Schalke in 2017, the 28-year-old defender has struggled for consistency at the Emirates.
The Bosnian was allowed to join Jorge Sampaoli’s Marseille, where he would link up with former Arsenal teammates Mateo Guendouzi and William Saliba, based on a mutual agreement between the club and the player.
Pablo Mari (Udinese):
Pablo Mari had only 2 appearances this season for the Gunners. Well behind Ben White, Gabriel and Rob Holding in the pecking order, it was apparent the Spaniard would have little to no involvement in the first team dynamics during the second half of the season too. Italian club Udinese have signed the 28-year-old on a loan deal. Mari has a contract with the Gunners until 2024.
Callum Chambers (Aston Villa):
Like Mari, Chambers also had just 2 Premier League games to his name this season. The versatile Englishman can play as a right-back or a holding midfielder. The Arsenal defender joined Aston Villa on a 3-and-a-half-year contract, marking him as Steven Gerrard’s fourth signing of the winter transfer window, after Lucas Digne, Phillipe Coutinho and Robert Olsen.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona):
A deadline day deal, and the biggest transfer for Arsenal in the winter window. Aubameyang had completely fallen out of favour under Arteta. The ex-Dortmund man last made an appearance in a 2-1 loss to Everton back in early December. The Gabon international was stripped of the captaincy and exiled from Arteta’s team.
FC Barcelona emerged as an interested party after a failed pursuit of Alvaro Morata. Aubameyang, who scored 92 times and created 21 more goals for Arsenal, flew to Barcelona himself to speed up the deal. The 32-year-old joined the Catalans on a free transfer, clearing a large part of Arsenal’s wage bill.
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- Harry Clarke (Hibernian, loan)
- Dejan Iliev (contract terminated)
- Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Lincoln City, loan)
- Karl Hein (Reading, loan)
- Tyreece John-Jules (Sheffield Wednesday, loan)
- Ryan Alebiosu (Crewe Alexandra, loan)
- Nikolaj Moller (Den Bosch, loan)
What are your thoughts on Arsenal’s transfer window? Should any of the players who left have been retained? Which player should be on the priority list for the summer window? Let us know in the comments.
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