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February 2021

Has the Arsenal squad been improved this transfer window?

By Walter Broeckx

Ah that lovely sound of the window that slams shut. I love it. Because then finally we can be sure that we will get rid of all those silly rumours that are being spouted 25 hours a day. Well… for a week or so because as I will go on a holiday with my wife for fourteen days I am sure that when I return there will be the same old rumours once again filling the internet.  But at least we then can ignore them completely.

So how has this transfer window been for Arsenal so far? (I write this on deadline day so anything can still happen). Let me give my take on the ins and (possible) outs this summer.

Let us start with the ins: Holding, Xhaka, Asano, Pérez, Mustafi.

The first thing we notice is that we will no longer have to hear the (false) “bought no outfield player” sentence. Maybe the moaners will moan we bought no keeper this summer?  Anyway that can be put to bed now.

Holding: a young central defender who can also play right back bought for a reported fee of £2M. Having seen him play 3 PL matches I am very amazed by this player. It’s early days and anything can happen but he sure seems to be cut from the right wood as the idiom in my mother language goes.  Is it tree in English?   [Nearest we have Walter is “cut from the same cloth as…” and then you put your comparative at the end.]

Anyway, he looks a complete defender that under the guidance of our more experienced central defenders like Kos, and can grow and become one of the central defenders for the next 10 years or so. Or even more. I hope he does anyway.

To stay in that department I will talk about Mustafi now. Some people questioned the fact that Mustafi as the big buy might hinder the development of Holding. I think it might just help him.  Having Kos and Mustafi as his teachers he might learn a few things. And as both Kos and Per are ageing and the latter probably might be doing his last season at Arsenal the future might be Mustafi and Holding. Mustafi who is 24 and has already been crowned as world champion and so has seen a few things in football might also be around for the next 8 years.

So buying both Holding and Mustafi might have been the answer to our central defender partnership for the next decade. IF and that is always a big IF, they perform as we hope they do.

Xhaka is the other high profile signing we made. And after the ridicule he got from the “last 5 minute memory”  people  after the Liverpool game he has since then stepped up.  Yes his first appearance against Liverpool wasn’t the best performance. And that is the reason why Wenger didn’t play him from the start I think. Wenger knew that Xhaka had come later than the rest and wasn’t in top form yet. So he started with Coquelin who had been in training from the first day.

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And as Xhaka had to adapt to a new league it was very wise for Wenger to give him a few minutes to give the feel before throwing him before the lions. His display at Watford showed what Xhaka can bring. His long passing from behind is great and he can start attacks quicker than Coquelin usually does. Coquelin is great at taking the ball away but then usually gives it to Santi or Özil. Now if Xhaka sees an opening up front he can surpass that and play it high in the first place.

Xhaka is a strong player when it comes to defending but he also brings much more to the offensive than Coquelin does. But on the other hand I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them on the pitch in some matches.

With Pérez we bought another striker/winger. He has played in both positions in the past but only since the last season has he been played as a real striker at Deportive La Coruna. His home team, his favourite team. He is a Depor man. At 27 he is one of the oldest strikers Wenger has bought.

He had a good season in La Liga where he scored lots of goals for a team that just managed to stay in the top division mostly thanks to his goals and assists. Hard working and fast is what people say about him. And he also has a good eye for the teammate in a good position. I think he might be a slightly different version of Podolski.

One of the things that drove me nuts with Podolski was that at times he didn’t go forward enough but held up the play. Okay not losing the ball if important but he overdid it at times (imo). He was deadly and I always said: when Lukas is on fire, then Arsenal is on fire. Now we have a new Lucas and I hope he will bring more directness to our attacks than Podolski (who I still love by the way) did.

On the outs so far we have Arteta, Rosicky, and Flamini  who have been gone for a while now.

Arteta played in 9 PL matches,  Rosicky didn’t start in the PL, Flamini played in 16 PL matches. So the 3 of them played (not started!) in 27 matches. I think with Xhaka and Elneny we have sufficient players to cover that and who have much younger legs.

The rumour is that Jack Wilshere might go on loan for the season. I hope he goes to Italy or Spain where refs might be more strict and where he will not get kicked to pieces by the cloggers in the PL. That might help his career a lot.  Wilshere only played a part in 3 matches last season so again he was not a main player at Arsenal for now.

Campbell is also out on loan and he played 19 in matches last season. So he was more a part time player.  I think Pérez will cover that number of matches easily.

For those who say that I missed Asano. Yes but so have we. As he didn’t got a work permit he is loaned to VFB Stutgart and will play there for the season. I wish him well and hope he set the 2nd Bundesliga on fire with his pace and finishing.

So all in all I think the team has become stronger and more balanced with the players we bought.

Arsenal has been spending the f*cking money despite the moaners saying we wouldn’t do it. But now the new moan has already started that we should have bought other players… unbelievable those moaners…. They must have their moan of the day or else they might feel happy and that is something they will not allow themselves or us.

Let the real season begin after the international break. And the answer to my question is : yes.

The Transfers

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46 comments to Has the Arsenal squad been improved this transfer window?

  • Goonermikey

    Very amusing to read about the moaner that promised £20 to anyone that retweeted his statement that we wouldn’t buy Mustafi…………….he now owes £40,000 lol. Presumably though, he’s allowed to pretend he is isn’t a moaner when it all goes ok but will revert to moaning as soon as Mustafi misses one tackle whereupon it will be declared that he “knew” Mustafi was shit all along and that we should never have signed him!!

  • Xhaka'spassing


    100% absolutely. I’m a cynical git but I think this is the best squad we’ve had in a while. There are now no glaring gaps. We have strength in all positions

    I’d still love a Greizmann or Aubamayang but the weren’t available this window. Had they been I genuinely think Wenger would have gone for them

    Xhaka will turn out to be a top top signing and player. The manager has rightly compared him to Petit. I’m hoping that once he gets settled his leadership skills will come to the fore. I’m hoping he’ll lay into Ramsey idf he gets out of position. Our Rambo sometimes leaves his position and discipline and can wander. I think Xhaka will give him the proverbial kick up the backside 🙂

    Mustafi looks to be a player similar to our Kos. Quick, aggressive and loves to intercept. Along with Xhaka he’s a good footballer so we have very good options to start attacks from deep. My only concern is his height and us defending set pieces.

    Rob Holding a snip at the price. He’ll be a very good defender. Looked at home when playing with Kos. Mustn’t forget Gabriel will be back in 5 to six weeks. With Callum out on loan I just hope we don’t pick up an injury before Gabs come back

    Finally, only having seen Lucas on youtube he looks pacy, a good dribbler and links well with team mates. Like Alexis he has a very high work rate.

    It’s amazing what competition does. Theo has played better in the three games this season than he did the whole of last season. Long may it continue.

    Sad for Jack but the loan is probably right for him. Play a full season, come back next season confident in his fitness and body

    If we stay clear of major injuries then we can be really competitive. I hope the signings give the likes of Ozil and Alexis a lift as well as the squad

    I was so down about our prformances post Christmas last year, much once again the result of injury and up to a week to go I was very pessimistic for the forth coming season. With the new signings a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to the season

    Pity the international fixtures have come now just as the players in the euros are getting fit. I also pray for no injuries. Some of these games are friendlies. Ridiculous.

  • Wengers Warriors

    What about Nwakali? He looks the real deal and in my opinion our best signing in this transfer window! He reminds me of okocha with a little sprinkling of Kanu! Can’t wait to see him play for us. And at 3m we paid more for him than Asano and Holding

  • Stan

    The squad has been very well improved imo, for the present and for the future, and Wenger managed to do that the way he believes is the best and under great pressure. He did his job, and now I hope that the most moaning fans will get off his back a bit and do their part as well by supporting the team and bring fever to the Emirates. By the way, how would you rate Arsenal’s fans effect on their team compared to other PL teams? Just being curious, but I often hear that the crowd isn’t very loud at Arsenal. Is that true? Is that because of the ticket prices and some sort of gentrification? Thanks.

  • Xhaka'spassing

    Oh yes

    Welbz returns at Christmas time to give us a real boost and another quick high energy player to add to our front line. Mertesacker will be back as well.

    We’ve gone from Almunia, Djourou, Song, Denilson, Bedndtner, Chamak to Cech, Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil, Alexis and Lucas in a few short years. When you look at that change in few short years we really have improved our squad remarkably.

  • Yes Tony! I agree with you that the additions have strengthened the team. As for the moaners, where will Arsene Wenger be without them? I say let them moan. But Tony, you forgot Kelechi Nwakali who we also signed.

  • Andy Mack

    Wengers Warriors, I’m pretty certain Asano cost £5m. I haven’t seen Nwakali play yet, but it’s good to hear he’s such a talented youngster.

    Walter, we improved our squad last summer as well, but not as much as hindsight suggests we should have. This season we’re ‘belts and braces’ which is also an improvement in the squad providing the squad harmony remains.
    We’ve bought immediate 1st team members, cover and future talent.
    Is it enough?
    Only time will tell.

  • para

    So, now we have the final pieces(at least for this season) to make the team a little more towards perfecting it.

    Arsenal looking good, and i wish the newbees all hit the ground running.

    The Arsenal crowd seems to like to be entertained and anything less than that makes them bored and disgruntled.

  • Tom

    Maybe the more appropriate title to your article might’ve been ” How the moaners got their way, thus making Arsenal spend the efing money” , since you dedicate almost as much time to talking about the moaners , as to the new changes to the team.

    So we have got the moaners moaning about Arsenal needing to spend money, then we got moaners moaning about Arsenal not spending the money, and then we got the moaners( sorry, the proper fans) , who never really want any new transfers, especially the expensive ones , and in turn moan against the other two groups of moaners.

    Seems we all love to moan, don’t we 🙂

  • para

    Interesting to me about the Perez purchase is that Giroud is not pushed back, Arsenal now have two main strikers and two winger/strikers and a few midfield/”strikers” who will all contribute to the goals this season. We now just need to be merciless and kill teams off completely so they can be no comeback.

    Some great options and diversity in the team now. 🙂

  • Pete

    I just hope that Wenger is now left in peace to do what he does best – develop players. We now have a very complete looking squad – so much so that several experienced players are being loaned out (not a common occurrence for Arsneal). Given the same players for a period of time, Wenger will systematically improve them – individually and collectively.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have used appr 10 % of the article about the moaners Tom. In fact one paragraph only as I see it. Then 70% on the new ones and 20 % about the outs… yes some like to moan… 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    and I see you use the moaners their favourite tune now that Wenger has spend the money. “It was because of their pressure on twitter” LOL… ROFLMAO…. yeah…. right…. 🙂

  • Tom

    Perhaps I should explain myself here, since it might look like Im nitpicking a bit.
    So I click on untold this morning, as I usually do each morning, and I see your headline, so I’m thinking ” good, let’s see what Walter thinks about our new boys” , I’m genuinely interested.

    And then right from the get go it’s the same old tired thing of not signing an outfield player last Summer. Do we ever just move on from certain things? Probably not. And then the moaners this, the moaners that….

    I did enjoyed your take on the new signings though, just wish you could have done without the other.

    Leave the moaning for the bedroom, man 🙂

  • Ogban

    Yes I also agree that, overall, the squad is stronger especially if and when we get Gabriel and Welbeck back on their two feet. But whether it is strong enough to compete with the big spenders for the PL title remains to be seen. And that will now depend on how the coaches utilize the players in terms of tactics, match management, effective rotation, etc. COYG! Can’t wait for the real thing to start.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I am not an Arsenal Moaner nor am I a sign Maniac. But if am called an Arsenal Mania, I won’t have any dispute with being called that name because that’s what I am.

    Yes Mr Broeckx, Arsenal squad has been improved this window. But there still exsist a requirement for further improvement in the squad. And this true going by what I’ve considered.

    The underline factor here which I am trying to drive home is a holistic related issue. Before we can consider ourselves as a very serious title challengers this season with all intents to outsmart all our title rivals and win the EPL title and other ones too, we will need to look at the grade of the squad improvements already been done at Man Utd, Man City and are about to be further done by Chelsea, Leicester and Spurs. And consider if we have matched the squad improvements that are now existing at Man U, Man C and hesitate to take a look to see if what Leicester and Spurs are about to do will not lead them to be at par with the squad strength improvement we’ve done so far this summer.

    Therefore, what will Le Prof do over this issue as this summer transfer deadline day will soon terminate at 11.00 pm BST today’s night? Will he still do it? He is the only person that can answer this question.

  • bushido

    OT – it’s official, Serge Gnabry has move to Werder Bremen permanently for 4.5 mill.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I hope we inserted a big sell on clause in the contract as I suspect his value will rocket in the next couple of years. Good luck to him though, I hope it works out well for him.

  • Tim Charlesworth

    I think the squad looks good. The area I am most interested in is striker/no9. Am I the only one who thinks that Sanchez’s move to this position might be permanent? There is a general assumption that Sanchez will move back to the wing when Perez and Giroud are available. I’m not so sure, it would be a very “Wenger” move to try to convert him into a #9. It was noticeable that Wenger picked Sanchez against Watford when Giroud seemed to be available. Sanchez is the kind of ‘fighting striker’ who seems to be prospering in the modern game, and he finally looked good against Watford: I don’t think Wenger is ready to end the experiment. Ozil and Sanchez looked good as a 9-10 combo and I would like to see them try it again. If I am right about this, might we see Perez on the wing, at least initially?

  • Usama Zaka


    On the team sheet in the last 3 games it looked like Sanchez is playing as the striker, but when post-match stats, charts and info-graphics are published, it shows Sanchez’s average position being slightly left-wing with Ox and him inter-changing that left forward role.

    Given that Perez played as a striker from the left side last season at Deportivo, and likes to inter-change from to wing to striker and vice versa, we might see him together with Sanchez, just like you said.

  • Xhaka'spassing


    You are right about Alexis pulling out left and interchanging with Ox. Their right back had a torrid time. With Alexis pulling wide or dropping deep it gave their 3 CBs with no one to mark. That space was then ripe for Theo to make his runs into ditto Mesut

    In games when Theo played CF he and Alexis interchanged really well. I think Alexis is a bit more dangerous when we are playing like this. Ollie tends to block Alexis path and space sometimes

    Didn’t a certain TH14 like to drift to the left ?

  • Gord

    I see is showing a twit from Bellerin about Gnabry leaving. So I will take that as confirmation.

    Sad to not see supposition about how Chambers might be part of the future of centrebacks at Arsenal. I would have thought having 3 young centrebacks (2 of which can play fullback, or does Mustafi also have the ability to play fullback?) for the future would be a good thing.

    It was nice to see that Rosicky seems to have found a spot at Sparta.

    I really have no idea what Jack might have learned that would be useful at CP or Bournemouth. Time in Italy or Spain feels better to me.

  • porter

    Gord totally agree , better he goes to Europe and gets his shirt pulled and gets bodychecked every now and again. If he stays in the premiership the likes of Paddy McNair will still be round the corner and his ankles will still be a target. Jack really needs to train on Hackney marshes where the uneven surfaces strengthen the muscles as you compensate whilst running. I have long believed that only playing on carpets is not good for muscular development.

  • Leon

    I thought Jack would’ve taken the Watford option. No travel problems with their training ground next door to ours.

  • Arvind

    Here you are Gord. I couldn’t find it either, but Google helped out.

  • Leon

    …..and there’s still rumours & gossip about Griezmann & Lewandowski coming to Arsenal. Some chance………

  • Arvind

    On hindsight and after thinking about this a lot (albeit subconsciously) the Mustafi purchase (which was the only one I didn’t like) is very similar to when Arsenal bought Bacary Sagna. Everyone thought the only thing we didn’t need was a right back and AW went and did it.

    If that’s anything to go by, maybe.. maybe AW has seen something at CB that had to be fixed now and he couldn’t risk the future with Chambers, Holding and Gabriel. That’s the only reason why this makes sense.

  • Arvind

    Leon: If that’s true, I’m officially sick of football, and I doubt I will be even remotely interested in Arsenal any more. I might follow it, more out of habit for a year or two, with dwindling interest…but that’s it. Not that any one cares 🙂 but hey, there you are.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I know it is a proper business to do for Le Prof to sell any surplus to requirement Gunner or Gunners to recoup some of the funds he has spent on new player recruits this summer. But for him to have sold Gnabry to Werder Bremen for a paltry sum of £5m is unacceptable. Le Prof should have sold him for a much higher price. Does Arsenal buy cheap from the Bundesliga?

    I did it again as I forgot to list Iwobi as one the senior 5 frontrunners in the Gunner’s striker dept. So the figure is hereby reviewed upwards. 2GKs+3RBs+3CBs+2LBs+8MFDs+5STs totaling 23 senior registrable Gunners who can play for Arsenal during this summer campaign. Assuming one place is being reserved for Welbeck, there will still be one vacant space left that can still be filled by Le Prof before the deadline day expires latter this night. This is no point to reserve any place in the Arsenal summer senior 25 man squad for Mertesacker this summer since he won’t be back until after the summer campaign when new alignment of Gunners will be done by Le Prof to accommodate him.

    If Le Prof will not insert Akpom into this remaining one space, he can still sign audaciously now to fill in that one remaining space before the terminating time of the deadline day. But has he any plans to do it? And would he do it? I can’t know.

  • Bijoy

    We have sort-out the defense by adding Mustafi & Holding.For last few years Koscielny have been stunning. Midfield looks strong with the addition of Xhaka in holding position. Giroud is good but not in the class of Messi,Ronando,Griezmann,Suarez,Aguero or Lewandowski. New signing Lucas Perez is untested material.

  • Dgeoel

    The signings are ok. To appease the moaners though, Wenger should have paid at least £80m on the last pair just for the heck of it!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Those 2? Difficult save if a miracle happens. Because Le Prof won’t spend all the £70m purported to remain in his this summer transfer kitty if at all he still want to sign an audacious striker before this deadline day closes. But I can see him use £35-40m for a deadline day signing.

  • Leon


    Better to be sick of rumours & gossip, although truth be told I love it. It’s such fun! I know Tony Attwood detest it all, but I actually look forward to each transfer window.
    Just 122 days to go………

  • Leon, looking forward to next summers t/fer window. Now that will be a step change, new manager et al.

  • Leon

    Looks like some of the sad fucks here aren’t too enthusiastic about it though ?

  • Leon,
    Yep, need to get some major councilling sessions lined up….the next manager will never be good enough for some.

  • Arvind

    Don’t worry. You’ll have your way some day, relatively soon I might add. And you can rejoice in Arsenal joining the rest of the rubbish that exists in today’s world.

  • Leon

    We’re referring to the next transfer window (at least I am)

  • Arvind,
    I hope we don’t join the rest of the rubbish (whoever they are), but I hope we progress, maybe our best days are still to come, I for one certainly hope so.

  • Arvind

    To make it clearer.

    Rest of the rubbish: Every club who feels the need to blow ridiculous sums of money on average players, to ‘show intent’ to their fans (who want this so they can boast with their ‘mates’ in a pub, while drunk)

    What AW has spent this season, sends us perilously close to that level. I don’t blame him much, just that I’m more pissed with the world in general : ) and that this is the state we are reduced to. Once AW goes, I’m fairly sure AFC will be there too.

  • Arvind,

    I agree, paying over the odds for any player is annoying, not only that but to then add insult by offering massive wages compounds the mistake, something we can be just as guilty of, couple of players spring to mind.

    But, the transfer window offers a chance to improve the team, generates interest from the fans and helps the club profile. What Arsenal (Not AW) have spent needed to be spent, I for one hope we spend more.
    If manure can spend £100m on Pogba we should be prepared to do the same, for the right player that is.

  • Arvind

    We can move on Klis, I don’t think I can ever agree with that, but of course its your opinion and you’re welcome to it.

  • Nurality

    wenger should insert a buy back clause for gnabry!,as for the squad i think we are good to go for the season

  • Pete

    Klis – Why will there be a new manager next season?

  • Pete,

    If we’re still on this page, because AW has ~1year left on his contract, and he always honours his contract.

  • austinpaul

    Arsenal nd AW hve done Well dis summer;I only hope d moaners will leave AW alone to do his job witout futher distractionsfrm d haters nd forever critics.Xhaka nd Mustafi especially are my favourite signnings,dey can match any of d signnings of manure,citey,chelsea,nd I rate den higher dan Leicesters;wit our AW himself still on d driving seat,I expect d team to gel soonest nd be competitive all round.