The English summer transfer window of 2023 closed at 11pm tonight, with Arsenal having made four first team additions since it opened on June 14th.
Mikel Arteta will now be unable to bring any new faces into Arsenal until at least January. However, there could yet be further exits, as certain international transfer markets, such as those in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, remain open.
The Gunners spent in excess of £200 million this summer, and made one of the heftiest sales in their history with Folarin Balogun joining Monaco, on the recommendation of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
Here’s how well Arsenal Insider think the north London club did in the off-season.
Declan Rice was the headline arrival of the summer, joining from West Ham United for a club-record fee of £105 million. The 24-year-old has settled into life quickly under Arteta and could easily have a transformative impact at the Emirates Stadium. He has the capacity to function as the heartbeat of this team for years to come. Rating: 9/10.
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It cost Arsenal £65 million to prise Kai Havertz away from Chelsea, and he is yet to truly convince that he is a natural fit in the Spanish coach’s set up. However, there is no denying the German’s talent and if Arteta can coax the best out of him then this will come to be viewed as a transfer masterstroke. It is very early days and Havertz absolutely deserves the benefit of the doubt. Rating: 6.5/10.
Jurrien Timber was perhaps the most promising player during pre-season following his £38 million switch from Ajax. The versatile defender looked tailor-made for this Arsenal team. He was undeniably a brilliant signing, and no one can be blamed for the cruel ACL injury that the 22-year-old sustained during the first Premier League game of the season. Arsenal will now have to cope without Timber for the vast majority of his maiden campaign at the club. Rating: 8/10, for the quality of the signing itself.
The decision to sign David Raya was particularly decisive. The Spanish shot-stopper has arrived from Brentford on an initial loan deal from Brentford, but the expectation is that Arsenal will activate their £27 million purchase option. Whether Raya’s presence will see Aaron Ramsdale usurped as the Gunners’ No. 1, inspire him to up his game, or provoke an unsettled atmosphere with two unhappy ‘keepers on the books remains to be season. It’s a high risk, high reward strategy with the potential to backfire. Rating: 6.5/10.
The biggest first team names to leave Arsenal this summer were Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney. The former returned to the Bundesliga in a move worth £21.4 million to Arsenal. The Swiss midfielder had a rollercoaster seven-season spell with the club, and left an established fan favourite having just enjoyed his finest campaign on the pitch in Arsenal colours. His leadership and experience will be missed.
As for Tierney, despite his obvious quality and the good times he has had with Arsenal, it was clear he was no longer in Arteta’s plans. He will be hoping to enjoy regular football during his loan stint in Spain with Real Sociedad. The Gunners will surely look to move the Scot on on a permanent basis next summer. His departure potentially leaves Arsenal light on options at the back, which could come to cost Arteta this season, in the event of an injury crisis.
Despite barely having featured for the Arsenal first team in his career, Balogun brought in the most cash this summer following his prolific loan spell with Reims. Sporting director Edu will be disappointed not to have got the £50 million asking price that the club originally put on the USA striker, but given they received £35 million and retained a 17.5% sell-on clause, the Gunners will deem this good business.
Edu also succeeded in casting off some of the squad’s deadwood. The likes of Matt Turner and Pablo Mari were moved on, whilst there were deadline day loan departures for Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, to Luton Town and Nottingham Forest respectively.
Finally, at the time of writing, after being a great servant to the club, centre-back Rob Holding looks set to join Crystal Palace in a £4 million deal, as per BBC Sport.
The likes of Nicolas Pepe and Cedric Soares may well be moved on to foreign clubs that are still operating in open transfer windows.
Departures rating: 7/10.
All things considered, Arsenal got the vast majority of what they needed to get done, done. They spent with intent to bring their top targets in early. However, Arteta will be rueing the hammer blow of poor fortune that was Timber’s injury.
They also moved on most of the players they wanted to move on. There is an argument, though, that Arsenal ought to have fetched higher prices, or permanent exits rather than loan moves, for one or two players.
Finally, there is a nagging doubt that the key flaw in the squad last season – a lack of quality depth, which cost Arsenal their Premier League title charge – has not been fully addressed. If luck runs against them this season, Arsenal could regret not having added another defender or right-sided attacker this summer.
Overall rating: 8/10.