How Arsenal’s seven summer signings have fared so far this season
Arsenal recovered well after their shocking start to the season and are well in the hunt for a top-four spot with most of the season gone, and their summer signings have played an important role in that comeback.
After a pair of disappointing seasons, Mikel Arteta spent £149million before the start of the 2021-22 campaign in an attempt to secure Champions League football for the first time since 2016, and is well on his way to doing so with the youngest squad in the league.
And we’ve assessed how each of Arsenal’s summer signings has fared in their first few months at the club.
Tavares was first through the door this summer, signing from Benfica for a £7.2million fee, and had an impressive run of games when Kieran Tierney was out injured.
The 22-year-old took the Emirates by storm with his committed displays for a while, but a disastrous performance in a 4-0 defeat meant he lost his place, and he has been consistent ever since, even getting substituted in the first half away at Nottingham Forest after getting run ragged.
Nevertheless, he remains a good prospect for the future, with his running power and ability with both feet proving to be reliable assets going forward and in defence.
“One of the biggest qualities he has is that he is not fazed at all when he is playing,” Arteta said of the Portugal Under-21 international in October 2021. “That’s something that we really liked about Nuno when we were looking at him.
“Credit must go to Edu and the scouting department when they were doing the process, because that is something that we discussed a lot: we want a certain character to play for Arsenal.
“We want them to be able to deal with pressure, to be able to perform straight away when you are needed and to go from not playing to playing straight away.
“And that is what Nuno did, so, credit to the boy.”
Albert Sambi Lokonga
Brought in from Anderlecht, Lokonga was the latest attempt by Arsenal to replace Patrick Vieira – something they’ve failed to achieve since their former captain’s departure in 2005.
And the midfielder has made a solid start to life in England, making 19 appearances in all competitions, and was necessary when both Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka picked up suspensions during January’s midfield crisis.
“Sambi has shown a really quick adaptation, a lot of intelligence since he came and courage,” Arteta told Football.London in November 2021.
“He’s a player constantly trying to affect the game in the right way. It was a big task to ask him to play the number of minutes that he’s done in the league already in such a short space of time.
“But he’s showing he’s capable of doing and he’s handling the situation really impressively.”
Biereth was signed as an academy player from Fulham and is already looking like a lethal goalscorer in the academy.
With seven goals and five assists in 16 under-23 games this season already, the Swedish forward looks like a serious option for Arsenal’s attack in the future and even made the bench during the Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool.
Many pairs of eyebrows were raised heavenwards when Arsenal forked out £50million for White during the close season.
The centre-back had impressed at both Leeds and Brighton, and was a late inclusion in England’s Euro 2020 squad, but a wretched debut at Brentford didn’t do much to silence his critics.
However, White has proven to be a rock at the back ever since, and has formed a formidable partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes in defence.
The 24-year-old is going from strength to strength, and was at his most impressive in a man-of-the-match display at Anfield in the Carabao Cup semi-final as a 10-man Arsenal held out for a 0-0 draw.
Despite a productive loan spell last season, it looked unlikely that Odegaard would return to the Emirates this season, but Arsenal and Real Madrid were able to thrash out a £30million deal that saw the Norway international return to north London in late August.
After an initial slow start upon his return, Odegaard started balling out to the extent that Emile Smith-Rowe now finds himself on the bench, and is looking every bit the silky playmaker that he was hyped up to be during his teenage years.
The 23-year-old has four goals and three assists in the league this season, and is confident in his ability to lead this young team forward.
“I think we’re a very, very interesting group: a lot of young players, and a lot of hungry players,” Odegaard said in February 2020. “I feel like we’re building something special here with all the players and the staff.”
“It’s really interesting what we’re trying to do and I’m happy with the situation, very happy to be part of the team and hopefully we can keep improving and get better each game. Then we’ll see where it takes us.”
“It helps me, to be around players in the same situation [in terms of age],” he added. “I’ve been through a lot, even though I’m pretty young. In this team I’m not the youngest anymore and I have some experience and I can use that in a positive way, and help the other young players.”
“We’re a great group, we have a lot of big young talents but also some more experienced players, I think the mix is good and the team is very hungry. It’s really nice to be part of the team.”
Great goalkeeper, even better shithouse.
Ramsdale, more than anybody else, personifies Arsenal’s new edge and is playing like a man who’s determined to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper at Qatar 2022.
From the signing being mocked by everyone, including Arsenal fans, to becoming a fan favourite and one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Ramsdale’s signing has arguably been the biggest success of the lot.
What. A. Guy.
Arsenal have needed a new right-back for years and, with Hector Bellerin clearing off to Spain, Tomiyasu was bought in from Bologna for £16million.
Already popular with the supporters after rejecting a move to Spurs, the Japan international has shone during his induction to Premier League football and already feels like a fixture in a revitalised Arsenal backline.
Unbeatable in the air and strong in the tackle, Tomiyasu has established himself as one of Arsenal’s most important defenders in a short space of time, and at just 23 years of age, has a big future ahead.
Arteta has called the defender a “joy to work with” and the added composure Tomiyasu has brought to the club means it’s no coincidence that Arsenal’s best performances have come with him in the side.
🇯🇵 Takehiro Tomiyasu is the best Asian footballer in the Premier League. Ever 😮💨pic.twitter.com/diUtu8xNez
— Gooner Chris (@ArsenalN7) February 14, 2022