This January’s Arsenal transfer news was relatively quiet at the Emirates Stadium, with Thierry Henry returning to the club on loan from New York Red Bulls and German teenager Thomas Eisfeld arriving from Borussia Dortmund for a modest fee.
However, activity has not always been this sedate at Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger making some surprising and at times, blockbuster signings in January.
Here is a round-up of 10 major signings made during the winter period since the transfer window was introduced in the 2002-03 season.
Jose Antonio Reyes
Signed from Sevilla in 2004 for £10.5 million
Reyes arrived at Arsenal for a substantial transfer fee and began his career well – scoring twice against Chelsea to knock them out of the FA Cup and hitting the net in the penultimate two matches of the season to keep the Gunners unbeaten record going. However, barely 12 months after joining the club, Reyes complained of home sickness, despite his family living with him in London and became only the second player to be sent off in an FA Cup final when two bookings saw him dismissed against Manchester United. He signed a new six-year contract in July 2005 but joined Real Madrid on loan for the 2006-07 season before making a permanent switch to rivals Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007.
Signed from Beveren in 2005 for £1.5 million
He was compared to legendary Brazilian winger Garrincha by manager Wenger and moved from right back to the right wing following the arrival of Bacary Sagna. The 2008-09 season saw sections of the Arsenal fans lose patience with a series of sub-par performances and he never regained popularity. Despite signing a new, long-term contract towards the end of 2010, Eboue joined Galatasaray for £3.5 million in August 2011 after rejecting moves to Roma and Tottenham Hotspur.
Signed from Auxerre in 2006 for £2 million
Arguably, Diaby never fully recovered from a horror tackle by Sunderland defender Dan Smith in May 2006 which ruled him out of the Champions League final that season and has seen him suffer niggling injuries ever since. Diaby was sent off himself for the first time in his Arsenal career during the 2007-8 season for a studs-up tackle on Gretar Steinsson. The midfielder will also be remembered for his red card at Newcastle when the Gunners leads the match 4-0. Reduced to 10-men, Arsenal conceded four goals and the match ended 4-4.
Signed from AS Monaco in 2006 for an undisclosed fee
Striker Adebayor was an instant hit at Arsenal, scoring on his debut inside 21 minutes against Birmingham City. The Togo international really made a name for himself during the 2007-8 season when he scored 24 goals in 36 Premier League appearances. His prowess in front of goal helped Arsenal finish third and saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year. He was also awarded “Goal of the Season” for his stoppage finish in a 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur in September 2007. However, this was when his relationship with Arsenal declined. Adebayor was linked with big-money moves to both AC Milan and Barcelona but remained at the Emirates. His form dipped and he returned just 10 goals in 27 Premier League appearances in the 2008-09 season before joining Manchester City in July for a reported £25 million.
Signed from Southampton in 2006 for £5 million
Walcott joined Arsenal amid much media hype due to being just 16-years-old but he has had a mixed time at the Emirates. Described as a “forward”, it remains unclear where his best position is, whether it’s out wide or as a central striker. In September 2008 he became the youngest England international to score a hat-trick when he fired a treble against Croatia. Walcott had his best season at Arsenal during the 2010-11 campaign where he scored nine goals in 28 Premier League appearances but hasn’t built on that this term. He was described by Lionel Messi as “one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against” which is great praise indeed.
Signed from Sunderland in 2006 for an undisclosed fee
The former Derby County goalkeeper arrived on loan from Sunderland in August 2005 and made his move permanent during the January window. He had the dubious honour of becoming the first Estonian to receive a Champions League runners-up medal after Arsenal lost to Barcelona, despite not even making the substitutes bench for the final. Being named in the 25-man European squad was enough to qualify for silverware. His first and only Premier League appearance came on the final day of the 2006-07 season – a goalless draw against Portsmouth.
Signed from Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2009 for an undisclosed fee
Despite being much maligned this season, Arshavin began his career at Arsenal brightly and was named Man of the Match in April 2009 when he scored all four goals in a 4-4 draw at Liverpool. At the end of the 2008-09 season he came second in the Arsenal Player of the Season poll. In February 2011 he scored in a first ever victory against Barcelona when the Gunners won 2-1 in a Champions League round of 16 match. Despite approaching 100 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, his performances during this campaign have been criticised and Arshavin has been linked with a move back to his native Russia.
Signed in 2010 on a free transfer
Campbell rejoined Arsenal during the 2010 window as a free agent and his first league appearance for the club, a substitute in a goalless draw at Aston Villa, saw him join Ryan Giggs and David James as the third player to have featured in all 18 seasons of the Premier League since its inception. Campbell scored against FC Porto in the Champions League round of 16. It was the defender’s two hundredth appearance in all competitions for the Gunners and his first match in Europe’s premier competition since the 2006 final against Barcelona. He left at the end of the season to join Newcastle United on a free transfer.
Signed from New York Red Bulls in 2012 on loan
Like Campbell two years before him, Henry returned to Arsenal for a second time but this time on loan during the MLS off-season. The striker, now 34-years-old, would provide cover for the Africa Cup of Nations-bound duo of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh. Gunners fans who like a flutter may have used a free bets website to put some money on him scoring the first goal in the FA Cup third round tie against Leeds United. Henry duly obliged, coming off the bench to score the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
Signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2012 for £420,000
The German teenager is yet to make his senior debut in professional football but that did not stop Wenger splashing out over £400,000 on him. He suffered a career-threatening cruciate ligament injury in 2009 but scored six goals in 12 matches for the Dortmund U-19 team before making the move to north London.
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