Transfer deadline day is always a big moment for Premier League fans. It’s the final day in which teams can strengthen their squad via transfers, but it also concludes the end of wild rumors for a while as well. Although Arsenal were not particularly busy on the day, the north London outfit did, however, utilize the final day of the summer transfer period to offload Lucas Perez. The 29-year-old striker was sold to West Ham for a fee of around £5 million.
Though Perez did not garner a massive transfer fee, Arsenal did manage to trim the somewhat hefty squad and the wage bill during the summer. Along with the aforementioned forward, the Gunners also sold Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Chuba Akpom for modest fees earlier in the window as well. Veteran defender Per Mertesacker retired from football, and the club released Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere following their contracts expiring on June 1st.
All in all, Arsenal cleared nearly £20 million in annual player wages with these seven players departing the club. While Arsenal cannot buy any additional players until January, they can sell players abroad until the end of the month. David Ospina and Joel Campbell, in particular, are reportedly receiving interest from a few European clubs and could be on his way out of London in the upcoming weeks.
As far as the additions go, Arsenal brought in five senior players during the summer transfer window. Heading into the summer, Arsenal’s biggest needs were in four positions: center back, goalkeeper, defensive midfield, and right back. The Gunners strengthened the squad in all four of these positions.
Veteran right back Stephan Lichtsteiner was brought in to aide Hector Bellerin’s progress and to provide cover for the young defender. The 34-year-old Lichtsteiner is a perennial winner, having won 17 club honors during his successful career. His triumphs, along with his no-nonsense attitude, will bring a much-needed edge to the club’s defense.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos was also brought in to help bolster Arsenal’s leaky defense. Although not a ‘world-class’ central defender, Sokratis is an experienced center back that enjoyed success at Borussia Dortmund. Much like Lichtsteiner, the Greek defender also brings some toughness to the somewhat passive Arsenal defense that allowed 51 Premier League goals last season.
To round out the club’s need to fortify the defense, Arsenal bought goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen. Petr Cech endured a tough 2017/18 season, while Ospina has never appeared to be a true number one goalkeeper during his time with Arsenal.
Cech, now 36 and in the final year of his contract, will likely depart next summer. This leaves Leno as the number one keeper with the Gunners. Keeping with Arsenal’s theme of value, Leno’s transfer fee of around £19 million is seen as solid business when considered what other top clubs have spent on keepers this summer.
Undoubtedly the team’s marquee signing, Lucas Torreira was a fantastic buy for Arsenal. The defensive midfielder is the exact player that the club have needed for some time. Though Granit Xhaka certainly has his positive attributes, the Gunners desperately needed a terrier in the middle of the pitch to win possession back, make interceptions, and help turn defense into offense. Still just 22, Torreira has a very high ceiling and could be one of the steals of the season for Premier League teams.
It wouldn’t be an Arsenal summer transfer period without an under-the-radar signing. Gooners around the globe collectively let out a “who?!” when the Gunners announced that they have signed Matteo Guendouzi from French club Lorient. Despite this, the young central midfielder has been incredibly impressive during Arsenal’s preseason. In fact, the 19-year-old Frenchman may have been the team’s top performer during their five games this summer.
Lucas Torreira – £26 million
Bernd Leno – £19 million
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – £15 million
Matteo Guendouzi – £7 million
Stephan Lichtsteiner – Free
TOTAL – £67 million
Per Mertesacker – Retired
Santi Cazorla – Contract Expired
Jack Wilshere – Contract Expired
Lucas Perez – £5 million
Jeff Reine-Adelaide – £1.5 million
Chuba Akpom – £1 million
TOTAL – £7.5 million
Calum Chambers – Fulham
Takuma Asano – Hannover 96
Ultimately, Arsenal strengthened their squad in the right positions and shed a significant amount of money off of their wage bill. The club’s brass is slowly improving their roster by finding value in player additions. Arsenal are not usually the type of club to overspend on transfers and a total overhaul of the team will most likely take a few windows. New manager Unai Emery should be somewhat happy that the team addressed their primary issues to an extent.
An additional winger and perhaps another center back, depending on how the team fares during the first half of the upcoming season, could be in the cards for the January transfer period. However, the Gunners should have enough firepower up front to bounce back after an extremely disappointing 2017/18 season.
Photo credit: Brew City Gunners.