The 9 players Arsenal signed along with Arteta in 2011 & how they fared

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Arsenal's Per Mertesacker lines-up before the UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany, September 2011.

With the Spaniard now sitting in the dugout, it can be easy to forget that Mikel Arteta spent five years with Arsenal as a player between 2011 and 2016. 

The Gunners splashed £10million on the Everton fan-favourite and he was a regular for his first three seasons at the Emirates, lifting back-to-back FA Cups as club captain in 2014 and 2015.

The summer of 2011 was a busy time for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board. We take a look at the nine other players signed by the club alongside Arteta.

Carl Jenkinson

One of many success stories for the Charlton academy, Arsenal snapped him up after making just nine appearances for the Addicks.

Injuries hindered the defender from fulfilling his potential in north London, however. A successful 2014-15 season on loan with West Ham teased Jenkinson with a return to his best before a cruel blow came in the form of an ACL following a clash with Sergio Aguero.

Jenkinson was popular because of his passion for the club, being a boyhood Arsenal fan, but he simply wasn’t at the level required and departed when his contract expired in 2019.

The full-back then joined Nottingham Forest, but traded England for Australia three years later, joining Melbourne City on loan before making a permanent move to Newcastle Jets.

READ: Where are they now? Arsene Wenger’s British core at Arsenal from 2012

Jon Toral 

One of two signings from Barcelona 10 years ago, it is safe to say Toral was the less successful of the pair.

He never made a first-team appearance for the Gunners, instead, finding himself loaned out to Brentford, Birmingham, Granada and Rangers before signing permanently for Hull in 2017. The summer of 2021 saw him sign for Greek side OFI, based on the island of Crete.

Probably a nicer place to play than Hull.

Hector Bellerin 

The second of the poached players from La Masia, Bellerin’s impact at the Emirates has been significantly greater than Toral’s.

Formerly one of Europe’s most exciting right-backs, a ruptured ACL suffered in a clash with Chelsea in January 2019 ruled him out for nine months. Unai Emery insisted that Bellerin would “come back stronger” but, sadly, that has not proven to be the case.

After struggling for consistent form under Arteta, Bellerin moved on loan to Real Betis in the summer of 2021 in search of a fresh start, before joining Barcelona on a permanent basis in August.

Gervinho 

With blistering pace and a haircut for the ages, Gervinho will always be remembered among Arsenal fans – for better or worse.

Signed for just over £10million in the summer of 2011, the Ivory Coast international left just two years later and it is a spell he looks back on with regret.

“Wenger never had faith in me,” he told The Sun. “My frustration is I quit Arsenal too soon. I left a club I loved without really showing how good I was. I am happy I went there and was able to work with Wenger. I never thought I’d quit after just two seasons.”

Per Mertesacker

Although he was once accused of ‘turning slower than milk,’ Mertesacker was one of the best defenders Arsenal have had since moving to the Emirates.

A crucial part of the Arsenal sides that regained their ability to win trophies, his leadership and intelligence at the back saw him produce a miracle man of the match performance in the 2017 FA Cup final, which was his first start of the season after being sidelined by injury.

The ‘BFG’ is remembered fondly at Arsenal, and is now the head of the academy at the club.

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

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsenal splashed £12million on the exciting Southampton talent, despite him having not played above League One at the time.

But the gamble paid off. The Ox made 198 appearances for the Gunners in the following six years, helping them to three FA Cups, and putting in an exceptional semi-final display against Manchester City in 2017.

That he went on to win the Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool probably stings a bit, but having received £40million for a player who couldn’t perform consistently throughout a season, he’s not exactly sorely missed.

Park Chu-young

Undoubtedly one of the most bizarre signings in Arsenal’s history. After learning of Wenger’s interest, Park reportedly fled from a medical with Lille, and the Gunners eventually giving him the No.9 shirt.

What followed was three seasons, seven appearances and just one goal in north London. He even saw his once heroic status in South Korea damaged by mixed messages over when he would start his compulsory military service.

Park, you may not have contributed much on the pitch, but you certainly provided plenty of entertainment off it.

Andre Santos

“I love the country, Istanbul and Turkish people,” Santos told reporters as he left Fenerbahce for Arsenal. “I can come back here at the latter stages of my career. I was happy at Fenerbahce but I did right thing for my career.”

But did you, Andre? He made a total of 33 appearances over two seasons with the Gunners and was largely met with ridicule. Swapping shirts with Robin van Persie at half-time in a clash against Manchester United in November 2012 was very much the nail in the coffin.

Three months after the incident, he was loaned out to Gremio. Spells in India, Switzerland and a return to Turkey followed before he retired in 2019.

Andre Santos, Arsenal

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

Joel Campbell 

The arrival of Campbell was a strange one. Officially signed by Arsenal in the summer of 2011 from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa, it was not until 2013 that he actually gained a work permit.

Loan moves to Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiacos subsequently followed before an impressive 2014 World Cup persuaded Wenger to give the winger a shot in the first team, although he made just four appearances in the season that followed.

The 2015-16 campaign brought 30 appearances, but he couldn’t fire his Arsenal career into life. Three more loans around Spain and Portugal followed before Italian side Frosinone snapped him up permanently.


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