The five best Arsenal signings of the post-Wenger era: Luiz, Partey…
Since Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal in the summer of 2018, the Gunners have been busy in the market, signing a total of 25 first-team players in that time.
Performances and league positions dipped following the arrival of Unai Emery, and later Mikel Arteta, and whilst a few signings did not work out, some quality additions did arrive.
This summer Arsenal spent the most in Europe, and so far, look to be reaping the rewards. Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Martin Odegaard and Takehiro Tomiyasu all look to be top additions, whilst Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga are both young and come with a lot of potential.
Between 2018 and 2020, 20 players arrived under three different transfer director – Sven Mislintat, Raul Sanllehi and Edu Gaspar – and their signings range from top quality to complete failures.
As it is still early in the season, signings made this summer will be excluded from the list, meaning the likes of White will have to wait to be judged.
5. Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey arrived on deadline day in a £45m move from Atletico Madrid. One of the best midfielders in Europe at the time, for Arsenal to sign a player of that stature was a coup.
He impressed early on, with a man-of-the-match display at Old Trafford as Arsenal won 1-0. Yet he missed most of his first season with injury.
This season, though, he has put together a run of performances which suggests that he might be over the worst of his problems.
An imposing but technical midfielder, his long shooting has been the one area of real criticism from suppeorters – but after scoring his first goal in Arsenal colours against Aston Villa, Arteta will be hoping Partey finds the back of the net more regularly.
4. David Luiz
A signing initially treated with scepticism after his £8million deadline day move from Chelsea in 2019, the veteran Brazillian defender brought a wealth of experience and leadership to an Arsenal dressing room which had just lost Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny as senior players.
He made some high profile errors, most notably away at Manchester City in the first match of ‘project restart’, but his passing ability stood out at times, and his winning mentality was vital in the run to FA Cup victory.
He was the best player on the pitch in the semi-final against City, and some of the young stars in the Arsenal team have praised him for assisting in their development. Overall, Luiz proved to be good value for money, and was a well-liked figure within the club until his contract expired in the summer.
3. Bernd Leno
Even though the German goalkeeper is now second choice to new signing Aaron Ramsdale, Bernd Leno had put in some exceptional performances duirng his time as Arsenal No.1.
In the 2019-20 season Leno finished second as Arsenal’s player of the season, due to his fantastic shot-stopping ability when the Arsenal defence was one of the leakiest in Europe under Unai Emery, often single-handedly preventing the team from collapse.
Costing £19m from Leverkusen, even if he is set to leave the club as rumoured, he proved a solid signing for three seasons.
2. Gabriel Magalhaes
Signed in the summer of 2020 from Lille for around £22m, the Brazillian defender enjoyed a productive first season in red and white, scoring on his debut at Fulham, and winning Arsenal’s player of the month award three times before Christmas.
A towering centre back, his performances have been nothing short of exceptional this campaign, having formed a rock-solid partnership with new signing Ben White and developed his ability on the ball.
As he is only 23, this was a signing for both the present and future, and the relatively low fee is an absolute steal in today’s market.
1. Kieran Tierney
Another deadline day acquisition, this time from Celtic, the Scotland international moved from Glasgow to north London with a massive reputation in his homeland.
Widely regarded as the best player in the Scottish top flight, the then-22-year-old was an established leader at the club, making his debut in 2015, and his move to Arsenal was the record fee for a player from the Scottish Premier League.
It did not take long for him to impress Arsenal fans, with his exceptional pace and crossing ability offering crucial attacking threat from left-back, as well as his visible desire and leadership qualities.
Often tipped as a future captain of the club, he regularly shocks his team-mates and fans with his ability to withstand the cold, wearing short sleeves in winter whilst the rest of the squad are in thermals.
At £25million, Tierney is already proving to be bargain, and if he manages to stay injury-free, there is no doubt he will be a mainstay in the first XI for years to come.