The 14 players Arsenal have signed on deadline day and how they fared

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While Arsenal have made several last-gasp signing over the years, they’ve often lived to regret their deadline-day purchases.

They were at it again in 2021, moving late to secure the signature of Japan international Takehiro Tomiyasu in a reported £17million deal with Bologna. He’ll hope to do better than many of their previous deadline day deals.

We’ve looked at the 14 first-team players Arsenal have previously signed on the summer transfer deadline day to see how they fared at the club.

Thomas Partey

The Ghanaian’s name dominated the gossip columns throughout the summer of 2020, and eventually Mikel Arteta got his man shortly before the window closed.

However, while former club Atletico Madrid went on to win the La Liga title in his absence, Partey failed to be the man to transform the Gunners’ midfield woes as many had hoped.

There were certainly some bright flashes, and there’s every chance he could become an important player at the club, but an injury-hit debut campaign in north London reduced him to just 18 Premier League starts and a lack of consistent playing time.

Kieran Tierney

After joining Arsenal from Celtic in 2019, Tierney endured an injury-plagued debut season in north London, making just 15 Premier League appearances.

The Scotland international did, however, enjoy an extended run in the team after lockdown, playing an integral role in their FA Cup success before clocking up more minutes in his second season.

Most importantly, he rocks up at matches with his kit in a Tesco carrier bag. We love him.

David Luiz

With Arsenal in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, they made a surprise move for Luiz on deadline day in 2019.

The centre-back’s debut season with the Gunners was punctuated by a catalogue of errors, most notably in that cameo performance against Manchester City.

But after being written off by pundits, he then produced brilliant performances in their FA Cup semi-final and final victories. What an enigma.

Having extended his deal to remain at Arsenal for the 2020-21 season, he perhaps might have wished he hadn’t in a season to forget.

READ: A forensic analysis of David Luiz’s mad 30 minutes for Arsenal against Man City

Danny Welbeck

Welbeck left boyhood club Manchester United and joined Arsenal in a £16million deal on transfer deadline day in 2014.

Despite making a strong start to life at the Emirates, the striker was plagued by injury problems during his five years with the Gunners.

He was released at the end of the 2018-19 season, having scored 32 goals in 126 appearances.

Mesut Ozil

Having starred for Real Madrid, expectations were high when Ozil completed a £42.5million move to Arsenal in 2013.

The enigmatic playmaker won three FA Cups in his first four years in England and has provided some astonishing moments of class in a red shirt.

After falling out of favour under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, he became one of the Premier League’s most expensive bench-warmers before his inauspicious move to Fenerbahce in January 2021. A sad end for a player who was truly wonderful on his day.

Andre Santos

Off the back of an 8-2 defeat against Manchester United in August 2011, Arsenal needed reinforcements and made four deadline day signings.

Signed from Fenerbache, Santos scored a couple of crucial goals during his two years at the club but often frustrated fans with his defensive errors.

Swapping shirts with Robin van Persie at half-time away at Manchester United didn’t go down very well either…

Andre Santos, Arsenal

READ: I visited André Santos’ restaurant and it’s exactly as bad as you’d expect

Mikel Arteta

After selling Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona in 2011, Arsenal struggled to find a replacement and eventually signed Arteta from Everton on deadline day.

The midfielder became a fan favourite at the Emirates and spent two seasons as club captain, lifting the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015.

We wonder what he’s up to these days…

Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker moved to North London from Werder Bremen in 2011 and enjoyed a particularly good partnership with Laurent Koscielny.

Despite being plagued by injuries towards the end of his Arsenal career, the Germany international still made 156 league appearances for the club over seven years.

He also won two FA Cups and produced an extraordinary man-of-the-match performance in the 2017 final against Chelsea.

READ: A forensic analysis of Per Mertesacker’s display in the 2017 FA Cup final

Yossi Benayoun

Benayoun made a surprise move to Arsenal in 2011, joining on a season-long loan deal from Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The Israel international scored six goals in 25 appearances in all competitions, including a crucial strike in the 3-2 win over West Brom to secure Champions League qualification on the final day of the season.

Lassana Diarra

Signed from Chelsea in 2007 and sold to Portsmouth, all in the space of six months, it’s fair to say Diarra didn’t make much of an impact at Arsenal.

William Gallas

Gallas allegedly threatened to score an own goal if selected for Chelsea and eventually joined Arsenal in 2006, with Ashley Cole moving in the opposite direction.

The centre-back inherited Dennis Bergkamp’s No.10 shirt and was appointed club captain in 2007 before being stripped off the armband in 2008.

Indeed, the lasting memory from his spell as captain was when he sat down on the pitch and threw a strop after a 2-2 draw with Birmingham.

READ: Ranking the worst misdemeanours by Arsenal captains: Xhaka, Gallas, RVP…


Big things were expected from Denílson when he left Sao Paulo for Arsenal as an 18-year-old in 2006, but he failed to live up to the billing.

The midfielder struggled badly with homesickness and injury problems during his time in London before returning to Sao Paulo in 2011.

“As I stayed at the club for five years and I was two or three years on my own, then I started taking people to stay with me,” Denilson told Globo Esporte in 2020. “But even so, I missed the family a lot. I took the people, but emotionally I wasn’t very well. I still managed to stay five years.

There were a few months left to get the European passport. It was six years at the time to achieve this. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“It was more the cold weather in England, the people who were cold and emotionally draining me in the country. On the pitch it reflected a lot.”

Julio Baptista

Baptista joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2006 on a one-year loan deal which saw Jose Antonio Reyes go in the opposite direction.

Despite struggling to adapt to the Premier League, the Brazil international will always be fondly remembered for that four-goal haul in a League Cup win against Liverpool.

Mart Poom

Arsenal signed Poom on loan from Sunderland in 2006, in the hope he could provide competition to Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia.

The move was made permanent in January 2006, but the goalkeeper made just two appearances during his two years at the club.

“I was very grateful for this opportunity to join a really big club and play for a great manager in Arsene Wenger,” Poom told us. “I didn’t have a future at Sunderland so of course I took the opportunity, even if it was as a number three.

“With the help of great physios and masseurs, I got my knee right and I enjoyed working day-in, day-out with big stars like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp.”

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