Granit Xhaka during the UEFA Europa League match between Bayer Leverkusen and BK Hacken at BayArena, Leverkusen, October 2023.

The 7 players let go by Arsenal in the summer – & how they’ve fared since

Arsenal spent heavily this summer as they look to win their first Premier League title since 2004, but what has become of the players that left the Emirates in the past few months?

The likes of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and David Raya all signed for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta’s side have enjoyed an unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign, beating Manchester City in their last outing.

But we’ve taken a look at the 7 players that Arsenal let go in the summer and checked out how they’ve fared since. Note: we’ve only included players that made a first-team appearance for the Gunners.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

After leaving Arsenal in the summer upon the expiry of his contract, Maitland-Niles signed a four-year deal with Lyon and linked up with former team-mate Alexandre Lacazette.

While the former England international is getting starts in his regular midfield position, the Ligue 1 side are currently second from bottom in the table and without a single victory this season.

Pablo Mari

Known in the UK as something of a perenially loaned-out fringe player at Manchester City and Arsenal, Spanish defender Mari was sold to Serie A outfit Monza for a fee of £6million.

The 30-year-old was stabbed during his time on loan in Italy and said: “I was lucky, because I saw a person die in front of me.

“I had the trolley, with the baby inside. I felt excruciating pain in my back. After that, I saw this man stab a person in the throat, in front of me. I’m fine, I’ll be on the field on Monday.”

This year will hopefully be much less eventful. He’s made four appearances for Monza in 2023-24.

Granit Xhaka

Xhaka turned in a number of fine performances for Arsenal last season, but there was a sense that his departure was necessary to allow Arteta’s side to evolve.

The Switzerland international signed for Bayer Leverkusen and has enjoyed a fine start to life in Germany. Leverkusen are currently top of the Bundesliga and Xhaka has made nine appearances to date.

“I didn’t come to Leverkusen as a boss, but because I was looking for a new challenge,” the midfielder said.

“I felt like my time at Arsenal was over for me after seven years in London. I came here as an experienced player and person. The other players see that I can give them something of what I have learned. That’s part of my role here.”

Matt Turner

After the arrival of Raya, Turner became surplus to requirements at the Emirates and joined fellow Premier League side Nottingham Forest.

It’s felt like the perfect deal for both player and club; the USA international has been ever-present for Forest – ironically making his Premier League debut for his new club at the Emirates Stadium – and has kept a couple of clean sheets along the way including one away at Chelsea.

Folarin Balogun

Many thought Balogun had a promising future at Arsenal after scoring 21 goals for Reims last season, but the hierarchy decided to cash in on the striker in the form of a £34million sale to Monaco.

The USA striker opened his account against Lorient, but missed two penalties in the derby defeat at home to Nice. Not that’s affected him too much; he’s scored a total of three goals in five matches so far.

Rob Holding

Holding left Arsenal for a nominal fee at the end of August, moving across London and signing for Crystal Palace.

He’s made just one appearance so far, in the League Cup defeat at Manchester United, and may be waiting a bit longer to break into the starting line-up considering Palace’s strong defensive record.

Nicolas Pepe

Until this summer, Pepe was Arsenal’s record signing. But the Ivory Coast international failed to live up to his £72million price tag and spent last season at Lille.

Despite having a year left on his contract, Pepe was allowed to join Trabzonspor on a free transfer.

We have a feeling his reputation will improve slightly as years go by – he’s chipped in with 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 games for the Gunners in all competitions – but it’s hard to escape the feeling of failure right now.

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