What happened to the 134 players said to be coming to Arsenal last summer?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Journalists’ failure rate reaches a staggering 96%. 

Would any other industry accept such a level of failure?

We know that the overwhelming majority of transfers that journalists and bloggers predict never come to pass. 

But sitting in the Toppled Bollard public house in Docklands, we began to wonder what actually happened to all those the players tipped to be coming to Arsenal last summer.

So we thought we would have a look to see who was on last summer’s rosta of players we were allegedly about to sign… and we found that out of 134 players tipped to be coming to Arsenal, ten were signed, of whom five were first team players and the rest were under 23s or younger.

55 of the senior players tipped to be coming our way, did actually transfer, and moved to a club other than Arsenal, but the majority (69) stayed at the club they were at in the first place.   

So in essence five out of 134 players were correctly tipped as coming our way – a success rate of 3.7% – which was slightly higher than the season before.

What I find particularly interesting however is that over half of the players tipped to be coming to Arsenal didn’t actually move at all.  So it is not that Arsenal were too slow or lazy and were seen off by more active or more aggressive clubs – there probably was no interest at all – it was all a fantasy.

Of course it is possible that in a few cases the club to whom the player was signed heard of Arsenal’s interest and upped the player’s salary, but from the few cases I know in some detail, I would say it is more likely that the players who didn’t move were never going to move.

In fact, I remain convinced that well over 90% of these tales are made up and everyone in the industry knows that.  If not, what on earth are editors doing, putting up with journalists whose failure rate is over 96%?   

And we might note that it is hardly surprising that 99% of the transfer stories are written up to suggest that it is another website or newspaper that has put up the story in the first place!  No one wants to be associated with a failure rate of 96%!

The details are below in case you want to check any players… 

No Player From What happened What the tipsters said.
1 Adil Aouchiche PSG Moved to St Etienne ESPN. Saint-Etienne may be close to signing him.  Arsenal offer turned down, Football London.  HITC – he is ready to quit PSG
2 Kristoffer Ajer Celtic Moved to Brentford Gunnersphere; Scottish Daily
Signed Tim Akinola Huddersfield Under 23 player
4 Rafinha Alcantara Celta on loan from Barcelona Moved to PSG One Arsenal, Just Football, Daily Canon.  Brother of Thiago (see below).  Express say deal being prepared.
5 Thiago Alcantara Bayern Munich Moved to Liverpool Independent.ie, Chatsports, Newsbreak, Liverpool Echo, Football Transfer Tavern, Sportslens, RedandWhiteKop, Kicknews, KE opera News, Football News Views, Soccerladuma, Ilovemancity, Fussbol, Weinfilm, GLBNews, VBET. Metro – Arsenal have enquired
6 Thiago Almada Vélez Sarsfield of the Argentine Primera División Stayed at Vélez Sarsfield Teamtalk, Mund Deportivo.  AS. Man City interested. Manchester Eve News
7 Miguel Almiron Newcastle Stayed at Newcastle Media Referee
8 Houssem Aouar Lyon Stayed at Lyon The Sun tells us he is 25 and the price is £65m. 4th official agree. Gunnersphere also. Express says it is on, compares him to Nasri
9 Sardar Azmoun Zenit St. Petersburg Stayed at Zenit Leicester want him.  442, HITC, TBR. Star, Area Napoli
10 Ousseynou Ba Olympiacos centre-back Stayed at Olympiacos HITC, Sport Time
11 Leon Bailey Bayer Leverkusen Stayed at Bayer Leverkusen Just Arsenal
12 Nicolo Barella Inter Milan on loan from Cagliari Stayed at Inter Milan 23 year old.  FC Inter News says Arteta is a great fan but the AFC bid was rejected. HITC and Whoscored report this is ongoing
13 Wissam Ben Yedder Monaco; 29 years old Stayed at Monaco Sports Mole
14 Federico Bernadeschi Juventus Stayed at Juventus To replace Lacazette; Just Arsenal
15 Said Benrahma Brentford Moved to WHU Football London, FL World, Express. Foot Mercato he is going to cost €30-35m.  Daily Canon reports everyone wants him
16 Jérôme Boateng Bayern Munich Stayed at Bayern but is now a free agent Daily Mail. Read Arsenal says Bayern ready to sell
17 Giacomo Bonaventura Milan Moved to Fiorentina Out of contract at end of season  Sun says Atalanta, Fiorentina, Roma and Lazio want him
18 Ugurcan Cakir
Trabzonspor goalkeeper
Stayed at Trabzonspor HITC.  Do we need another keeper?
19 Mady Camara Olympiacos Stayed at Olympiacos HITC
20 Edinson Cavani PSG Moved to Man U Metro
21 Dani Ceballos Real Mad Came on loan now back with RM Express, SDNA
22 Chiesa Fiorentina Moved to Juventus Juventus, Inter, Chelsea and Manchester United all want him, Canon, Sun, Express all say we want him
23 Philippe Coutinho Barcelona Stayed at Barcelona Talksport, Express.  Daily Mirror says talks have opened. Express now says Arsenal can’t afford his wages. Latest is it would only be for one year.  But Barce will let AFC have him at a discount (Metro).  Mirror says it is on.  But now says no it isn’t!
24 Marc Cucurella Barcelona Moved to Getafe FoLo £20.9m
25 Danilo Porto Moved to Juventus ESPN
26 Jonathan David Gent Moved to Lille Football.London.  Arsenal Fever say transfer is likely.  Manchester United, Ajax, Everton, Inter Milan and FC Porto also want him.
27 Ousmane Dembélé Barcelona Stayed at Barce AS, Sun.  HITC says Arsenal have been given the go ahead to buy Dembele for £53m, or £37 (Sport). Deal going through
28 Emmanuel Dennis Clubbe Brugge Moved to  Watford Talkport, HITC, Transfer market, sportsmole…  Daily Mail says it is on for £22m.  FoLo says definitely leaving. Manager reported as agreeing
29 Moussa Diaby Bayer Leverkusen Stayed at Bayer Leverkusen TBR blaming Le10Sport.  Signed for a “bargain £13.5million” from Paris Saint-Germain last summer. Teamtalk says talks have begun
30 Amadou Diawara Roma Stayed at Roma Talks have begun (TBR football, Telegraph).  Swap deal for Torreira?
31 Axel Disasi Reims Moved to Monaco which some media did predict TBR, L’Equippe, Sun.  Reims manager says it is on – £13m.  RMC Sport agrees.
Signed Jonathan Dinzeyi Tottenham Joined Arsenal under 23s Reputed to be about to happen.  Talksport
33 Issa Diop WHU Stayed at WHU Mirror, Metro, Read Arsenal, HITC, West Sussex Today, Sun
34 Julian Draxler PSG Stayed at PSG Teamtalk.  Daily Canon says it is on
35 Odsonne Edouard Celtic Stayed at Celtic Glasgow Live, Evening Standard, Caught offside, Scotsman, Who Scored, and Celtic Star. Borussia Dortmund no longer interested (TBR).  Real Mad want him. Celtic have asked Arsenal to put in a bid
36 Eberechi Eze QPR Moved to Crystal Palace Had a brilliant season, move possible (Star)
37 Nebil Fekir Real Betis Stayed at Real Betis Read Arsenal.  He has snubbed Arsenal (WhoScored, Just Arsenal News).  Star says we are in talks; Marca says he is going to Barca  IC Football say he might not be welcomed
38 Nathan Ferguson WBA Moved to Crystal Palace HITC; he failed a medical at Palace after £11m deal agreed
39 Joelson Fernandes Sporting Lisbon Stayed at Sporting TBR Football, A Bola, Record.  Gooner talk says that AFC directors says no
SIGNED Marcelo Flores Joined from Ipswich in March Shirt number 82
41 Wesley Fofana St Etienne Moved to Leicester Caught offside
42 Fraser Forster Celtic on loan at Southampton Stayed at Southampton TBR, The Boot Room
43 Noah Francoise Rennes Stayed at Rennes HITC; TBR – he’s available on a free.  PSG interested
44 Ryan Fraser Bournemouth, contract ends this year Moved to Newcastle Deal done.  Metro; Football Insider; was hot topic last year as well. Tottenham in with a bid.  Teamtalk: Arsenal confident. No longer a target
45 Bruno Fuchs Internacional Moved to CSKA Moscow Zero Hora, TBC, Boot Room, Just Arsenal.  HITC say Inter have cut the price in half.
46 César Gelabert Palencia Moved to Real Madrid reserves Star, Folo, the Mole and 90 mins. Real Mad want him also.
47 Gerson Flamingo midfielder
Moved to Marseille Daily Cannon.  They blame EPSN.
48 Armin Gigovic Sweden youth international Moved to Rostov HITC
49 Serge Gnabry Bayern Munich Stayed at Bayern Reports everywhere say he was seen in an Arsenal shirt
50 Ben Godfrey Norwich Moved to Everton Liverpool and Tottenham, Dortmund and RB Leipzig all after him according to the Sun
51 Jack Grealish Aston Villa Stayed at Villa FoLo say Arsenal making late bid
52 Antoine Griezmann Barcelona Stayed at Barcelona Express, the Star and Mirror, Last Word on Football
53 Pape Gueye, Le Harvre Moved to Olympic Marseille Liverpool also interested.  Folo, World of Football.  Was going to Watford, now isn’t (L’Equipe) Sportwitness say Arsenal have offered to treble his salary.  HITC say “reportedly”
54 Serhou Guirassy Amiens Moved to Rennes Daily Mail.   WHU and Bournemouth also interested
55 Dennis Gyamfi Leicester Moved to Dynamo Zagreb reserves Online Gooner
56 Achraf Hakimi Borussia Dortmund, on loan from Real Madrid Moved to PSG TBR Football
57 Kai Havertz Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Moved to Chelsea Chelsea and Liverpool are also said to be after him, along with Bayern Munich.
58 Mauro Icardi PSG striker Stayed at PSG Swap deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Sun FoLo, Tuttosport and Media Referee
59 Ricky Jade-Jones Peterborough Utd Stayed at Peterborough Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool are after this Peterborough Utd player.  HITC, Sky
60 Raul Jimenez Wolverhampton Stayed at Wolves BBC, NBC
61 Diogo Jota Wolverhampton Moved to Liverpool Sport Review, 4th official, Mail, FoLo, Whoscored
62 Luca Jovic Real Madrid Stayed at Real Madrid Daily Express / Starspost / Sport.  Just Arsenal wonder if he is worth the risk.
63 Glen Kamara Rangers Stayed at Rangers France Football say, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton and Marseille are interested
64 Calum Kavanagh Middlesbrough Stayed at Middlesbrough Lancs Post, The 72, Northern Echo
65 Jonjoe Kenny Schalke 04 on loan from Everton Stayed at Everton Tottenham want him
66 Franck Kessie AC Milan Stayed at AC Milan Calciomercato.  Swap for Torreira (Transfer Tavern), Star, Hammernews.
67 Justin Kluivert Roma Moved to Nice on loan Daily Star say a swop deal is being arranged with Mkhitaryan. Sportwitness saw swap is most likely.  Media Referee and Corriere dello Sport update.  Mail says it is definite
68 Orkun Kökçü Feyenoord Stayed at Feyenoord Express, FoLo.  Express now saying he is the new Ozil. Red London say£23m.
69 Tanguy Kouassi Free agent Moved to Bayern Munich HITC, Metro
70 Marash Kumbulla Hellas Verona Moved to Roma on loan Daily Mirror compared to young Chiellini.  Sports Mole say Arsenal are considering… HITC says now very close
71 Layvin Kurzawa PSG (out of contract). Media Ref says he would bring confidence Stayed at PSG Express says he wants to go to Barcelona. Sport, HITC, Sport Witness, Daily Star say Arsenal. 4th official says “he’s signed
72 Thomas Lemar Atlético Madrid Stayed at Atletico Madrid Star, Sun reactivate major story in last window.  Marca and HITC say his wages make him impossible to sell
SIGNED George Lewis Tromsø – out of contract. Deal close (Goal) 19 year old winger HITC, Cannon, Arsenal Youth, Kigalitoday, Arsenal Mania. Metro (done) Caught offside (not yet). Sports Mole (almost).  Done – shirt number 78.
74 Jesse Lingard Man U Stayed at Man U Caught offside say Celtic and Chelsea want him
75 Isaac Lihadji Marseille, 17 year old winger Moved to Man U The Boot Room,  Foot Mercato, TBR Football and the Sun all have this, Discussions begun
76 Matty Longstaff Newcastle Stayed at Newcastle The Mirror; Team Talk
77 Dejan Lovren Liverpool Moved to Zenit St Petersburg Express, HITC, FoLo
SIGNED Pablo Mari Arsenal on loan from Flamengo Left sided centre back The Athletic – he’ll be made permanent
SIGNED Gabriel Magalhaes Centre back with Lille Everton, Chelsea, Leicester in for him. Express says its Arsenal HITC, Sports Mole, The Sun, LT Arsenal, le10Sport, Metro, Canon, Football London, TransferTavern.  Going to Napoli?  “Ask Ornstein” talking AFC up. Fresharsenal says it is happening.  Star says deal is done
80 Dries Martens Napoli, 32 year old forward Stayed with Napoli CalcioMercato, the Metro and on Football.London
81 Nikola Maksimovic Napoli, centre back Left Napoli 2021 and is free agent HITC, The12thman, HITC, Flipboard and Daily Canon, while The Sun, Express and Talk Sport
82 Rabbi Matondo Schalke  Stayed with Schalke HITC saying according to Todo Fichajes, 
83 Thomas Meunier Was PSG Moved to Borussia Dortmund Borussia Dortmund have signed him, but no one ever mentioned he might come our way until Just Arsenal news said we’d lost out!
84 Mykola Matviyenko 24-year-old left-back.  who plays for Saky in Ukraine. Moved to Shakhtar Donetsk Daily Canon
85 Dwight McNeill Burnley Stayed with Burnley Lancs Live.  Apparently lots of clubs want him
86 Arkadiusz Milik Napoli Moved to Marseille on loan 26 years old.  Inside Football, HITC
87 Alberto Moreno Valencia £50m Stayed with Villareal Metro, Mirror, replacement for Aubameygang. “A bad move” says Media Referee
88 Evan N’Dicka Eintracht Frankfurt Stayed with Eintracht Frankfurt Sempre Milan, Daily Canon and Sky, Star.  Liverpool also interested.
89 Wilfred Ndidi Leicester Stayed with Leicester Bleacher. Mail, Teamtalk, Sun
90 Neto Barcelona Moved to Wolverhampton FoLo says he’s coming to Arsenal to get more game time (?)  Atletico Madrid and AC Milan. FoLo blame the Express,  Metro agree.  Caught offside say Chelsea want him.
91 Ruben Neves Wolverhampton Stayed with Wolverhampton Sports Mole
92 Unai Nunez Athletic Bilbao.  £27m release fee. Stayed with Athletic Bilbao Daily Mail says WHU want him.  Arsenal ready to meet price, Read Arsenal, Who Scored. Transfer Sport Witness says it is on.  Metro.  AS.
93 Victor Osimhen Lille (who say Arsenal have made an offer) Moved to Napoli Le Quotidien du Foot, Bootroom. Replacement for Aubameyang. Express, Goal, Footy Extras.  Boot Room
94 Danilo Pereira Man U Moved to PSG We will get him if we don’t get Partey. ESPN
SIGNED Thomas Partey Atletico Madrid. (26 year old from Ghana) Signed for Arsenal Metro, Goal.  Squawka quote €50m.  HITC also.  He’ll move if At Mad dont get Champs Lge  Just £45m!  Guardian.  Metro now says Arsenal can’t afford him. Deal close. He’s expected at Arsenal for next season.  HITC talking this up
96 Lorenzo Pellegrini Roma Stayed at Roma Teamtalk, Eurofootball Rumours, Bleacher, Sports Mole, Daily Cannon, Sky Sports all blame each other for the tale.
97 Adrien Rabiot Juventus Stayed at Juventus Just Arsenal, Standard.  Torreira to be sold.  TransferSport Witness says we are “leaning towards” getting them. Sports Mole says could happen.
98 Sergio Reguilon Sevilla on loan from Read Mad Moved to Tottenham Sun, Talksport, Goonernews, Just Arsenal, Arsenalmania, media referee
99 Chris Richards Bayern Munich Stayed at Bayern Chelsea, Valencia and one major Bundesliga side also interested.
100 Marc Roca Espanyol Moved to Bayern Munich Sport, 4th official.  “Arsenal want to pay £13.5m less than what’s needed for midfielder” says HITC
101 Declan Rice West Ham Stayed at WHU Express (according to Arsenal “legend” P Merson)
102 Emil Roback Hammarby, Sweden. Moved to Milan TBR, spotted at London Colney
103 James Rodriguez Real Madrid Moved to Everton Mail. Arsenal and Man U after him (Team Talk).  Marca say Arsenal still interested
104 Kays Ruiz-Atil PSG Moved to Barcelona B L’Équipe: ‘next Lionel Messi’,
105 Allan Saint-Maximin Newcastle Stayed at Newcastle Express, Northern Echo
SIGNED Salah-Eddine Feyenoord Young midfielder Free transfer
107 Mohammed Salisu Real Valladolid; he’s a defender with a €12 million release clause. Moved to Southampton Mundo Deportivo has indeed said that Arsenal are among the clubs interested
108 Morgan Sanson Marseille Midfielder Moved to Aston Villa Football London.  He’s played 110 games for Marseille
109 Malang Sarr Nice Moved to Chelsea HITC: “Bargain of the summer,” Sun: “Skint Arsenal on hunt for free transfers”. Bleacher and Football Whispers also has this.
110 Patrik Schick Roma on loan to RB Leipzig Moved to Bayer Leverkusen Gazzetta dello Sport
111 Rafa Silva Benfica Stayed at Benfica £71.5m says the  Metro.  The Boot Room says he will only cost £15m.
112 Chris Smalling Roma on loan from Man U; Roma pulled out of deal for him Stayed at Roma Just Arsenal News; Arsenal launch £25m bid; Mirror.  HITC, Express, Standard.  Only if Man U get Koulibaly (Just Arsenal)
SIGNED Cédric Soares Southampton Right back Free transfer
114 Everton Soares Grêmio Moved to Benfica Edu said not to be keen
115 Carlos Soler Valencia Stayed at Valencia Sky Sports, Standard, FoLo,  Agent says he’s happy to stay where he is  Daily Star.
116 John Stones Man City Stayed at Man City Manchester Evening News, 90 mins.  Arsenal and Everton in battle for him.  Sun says he is leaving.  Carragher says he won’t play for Man C again. Fo Lo say it is possible
117 Dominik Szoboszlai Red Bull Salzburg Moved to RB Leipzig He has played for them 44 times so far. Milan also want him as do PSG (Calciomercato.com)
118 Nicolás Tagliafico Ajax Stayed at Ajax Standard, Daily Mail
119 Malick Thiaw Schalke 04. Stayed at Schalke Sport Review; Daily Mail Liverpool and Man C also interested.
120 Corentin Tolisso Bayern Munich, central midfield Stayed at Bayern Munich Express, FootMercato.  Just Arsenal News say it is between Arsenal and Man U
121 Ferran Torres Villa Real Moved to Man City Sun £43m.  Santi Caz is talking him up. He’s learning English! (Just Arsenal)
122 Adama Traore Wolverhampton Stayed at Wolves Daily Star.  He started out with Barcelona.
123 Samuel Umtiti Barcelona Stayed at Barcelona Express says he’s available at a discount as he’s always injured
124 Cengiz Under Roma Moved to Marseille on loan Leggo: Arsenal could swap him for Mkhitaryan and some money HITC, the Boot Room and the Express.
125 Dayot Upamecano RB Leipzig Moved to Bayern Munich Football.London. “Arsenal have won the battle to sign him”  Express.  Touted again 23 Aug.
126 Gabriel Veron Palmeiras Stayed at Palmeiras “The Brazilian wonderkid” Football London
127 Domagoj Vida Besiktas Stayed at Beşiktaş Aksam
128 Walce Sao Paulo Stayed at Sao Paulo Talk Sport, Sport Witness
129 Wout Weghorst Wolfsberg  Stayed at Wolfsberg Team Talk, Express, Blid.  Replacement for Aubameyang
SIGNED Willian Chelsea, winger, attacking midfield Talks have broken down with Chelsea, Arsenal now favourites Metro, Fo.Lo, Sun, ESPN, Whoscored. Mail and Sun say he’s the top target.  Mail now saying he’s on the way.  Imminent transfer (TBR) Medical passed (Sportslens)
131 Chris Wood Burnley Stayed at Burnley Lancs Live, Who Scored, Up the clarets and Team Talk
132 Freddie Woodman Newcastle on loan at Swansea Stayed at Newcastle United. Chronicle Live, TBR, 90 mins, Soccersouls, Teamtalk, HITC, BBC, Sports Lens, FL World
133 Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace Stayed at Palace This old story has been brought back by Sky – so it is new this week for this window. Pain in the Arsenal, Bleacher
134 Hakim Ziych Ajax Moved to Chelsea Was selected as one of the 20 best players in the Champions League for 2018/19 season. Also tipped for Jan window.

This summer’s transfer tips so far: A to K

This summer’s transfer tips so far: K to Z

6 Replies to “What happened to the 134 players said to be coming to Arsenal last summer?”

  1. 134 examples of Bloody stupid “journalism”. In other words: Blah, blah, blah.

  2. It’s interesting to note where the ones that actually did move ended up.

    Taking a cursory look, quite a few were signed by the “wealthy” clubs e.g. Man City, Chelsea, PSG, Barca, Juve etc. So from that I’d suggest that even if we had wanted them, we would not have been able to compete on a financial level so any thought of them moving to us was pretty much nonsense.

    Others ended up at what I would consider lesser clubs (no offence) i.e. EPL teams we would expect to consistently out perform. I would therefore suggest that in many cases we weren’t interested enough as, by and large, Arsenal would be a more attractive target, likely to pay higher wages (unless of course the players in question had heard about how unforgiving the referees, the media and some fans are towards the team!).

    The one I find the most intriguing, however, is Nikola Maksimovic who left Napoli and is still a free agent. So in fact either nobody wanted him or his demands were so unreasonable nobody would consider him……..yet apparently he was good enough for us! So clearly we are so slow at doing our transfer business we’ve still not managed to sign somebody who nobody else wants 🙂

    I still, however, think you are overly generous to the media. Can they really be given credit for the handful of rumours they got right when even those claims are made quite late in the process when the story has become common knowledge. Indeed, even if the did make the claim months before, they still deserve no credit since, for me, it’s a question of monkeys and typewriters.

    All in all, the hard work you guys at UA put in every summer does, as you rightly claim, show the media up for the charlatans they are. Well done.

  3. You have surely done this story to death. In asmuch that you have alerted Arsenal fans to be very cautious about believing any transfer speculation, you have done us a service.
    But any sports journalist or blogger reading your articles may be laughing. Their job is to interest and entertain their football loving audience. Feeding us with crap about things we are interested in is all part of the game. The “truth” hardly comes into it. In asmuch as you are drawing attention to what they write, sometimes providing links, aren’t you just playing their game?

  4. But nevertheless important Hans, because after Arsenal don’t sign these players the media then blame Arsenal for being too slow, incompetent, having owners with their hands in the till, etc. The blame is handed over to Arsenal whereas it lies fair and square with the media.

  5. Dublin Gooner

    Surely the media have done making up transfer stories and then slagging off Arsenal to death, but it doesn’t stop them does it ? No.

    So why should we (Untold and many of us regulars) stop highlighting the insanity of it all, especially as in my humble opinion it actually has a negative effect on our fan base, and as a consequence on our team.

    If you think making this **** up, and it’s subsequent effect on our team, is all fine and dandy, that’s up to you, but don’t knock people who are prepared to call them out for the charlatans they are.

    Personally I detest the media and how they treat my beloved team and will continue to call them out at every opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *