Arsenal’s 2016 transfers included signing Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez and selling Gnabry December 26, 2020 – Posted in: Soccer
January could be a make or break month for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal.
There’s no denying they need reinforcements following their dismal start to the season.
The Gunners currently sit 15th in the Premier League ahead of a tough Boxing Day clash with Chelsea, which is live on talkSPORT.
There’s even real fear they could be in a relegation battle – something that has seemed unthinkable for decades.
To put that into context, the last time Arsenal played a game outside of the top flight was in 1915.
Arteta has already been linked to a number of names and as many as seven could reportedly join.
Words such as ‘war chest’ have been banded around but let’s not forget they spent nearly £80million ahead of the 2020/21 season and they’ve gone backwards.
This transfer window has to go right for the Gunners and it can’t turn out like the unmitigated disaster that was the 2016/17 window.
Arsenal’s business in the transfer market has been poor of late and all seems to stem from four years ago when they spent tens of millions on players who aren’t good enough.
To add insult to injury, they let one of their best young talents leave for next to nothing and he’s gone on to be one of the best players in Europe.
Arsenal’s transfers in 2016
- Granit Xhaka – £30m (Borussia Monchengladbach)
- Shkodran Mustafi – £35m (Valencia)
- Lucas Perez – £17.1m (Deportivo La Coruna)
- Rob Holding – £2m (Bolton)
- Takuma Asano -£800,000 (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
- Serge Gnabry – £5m (Werder Bremen)
- Isaac Hayden – £2.5m (Newcastle)
- Mikel Arteta – Retired
- Mathieu Flamini – Released
- Tomas Rosicky – Released
First, the players who they signed.
Granit Xhaka joined from Borussia Monchengladbach for £30million, Shkodran Mustafi was a £35m addition from Valencia while Lucas Perez cost £17.1m from Deportivo La Coruna.
Xhaka and Mustafi are still at the Emirates but are hardly fan favourites.
Mustafi’s performances are often derided while Xhaka’s frosty relationship with the supporters hit an all time low last season when he swore at them while being substituted.
The Switzerland international was later stripped of the captaincy but was brought in from the cold by Arteta.
Perez played 11 Premier League games for Arsenal, scoring one goal, before being sold to West Ham in 2018. Incidentally, he’s found his feet at Alaves in LaLiga hitting 11 goals in 33 LaLiga games last season.
Arsenal also signed a 20-year-old Rob Holding that season for just £2million and was probably their only reasonable piece of business.
What Gunners fans will also remember is a certain Serge Gnabry was sold that season for just £5million to Werder Bremen.
He played just 18 senior games for the club before his move to Germany and at 25 he has established himself as one of the top players in Europe.
He was snapped up by Bayern Munich in 2018 and helped them win a famous treble last season.
Arsenal is still in Gnabry’s heart, though, as when he scored four goals against Tottenham in the Champions League last season he tweeted: “North London is RED!!!”
The Gunners will be hoping they don’t make similar mistakes in the transfer window coming up to the ones they made four years ago, especially with wonderkid Folarin Balogun’s future up in the air.
Mikel Arteta’s survival as manager at the Emirates will depend on it – assuming he is not sacked before then.
A lot will rest on technical director Edu to get things right and the Brazilian has a plan, according to Arteta.
“The planning is done, what we want to do in January and in the summer,” Arteta said.
“Sometimes you can do it, sometimes not depending on a lot of factors. Edu is dealing with that at the moment and I’m focused with all the games, we don’t have much time to spend energy now on that because it’s very clear what we want to do.
“My job is to make the most out of this squad, the players that we have. We know what we want to do and we will try to execute it knowing that the actual context, market and what we’ve been through makes it’s difficult.”