Finally, the summer transfer window, Covid-19 edition has been slammed shut with clubs counting their gains and losses. For Arsenal, it has been more gains than losses. Going into the summer, there were many needs to be met, many holes to be plugged but limited resources to throw around.
Going into the summer, Arsenal needed a central defender and got one from Ligue 1 side, Lille, Brazilian defender, Gabriel Maghales. The dearth of creativity had to be addressed too seeing that the Gunners did not create as many chances last season and that could be said to be partly responsible for their worst league finish in donkey years. Last season, Arsenal had better defensive record than Chelsea having conceded fewer goals but fell short with respect to goals scored. To address this, Mikel Arteta turned to Bossman agent, Chelsea’s Brazillian winger, Willian Borges. That meant another box ticked.
Going into the summer, dark cloud of uncertainty hovered no thanks to the uncertain future of top striker, Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang. The club was unsure of his stay as at that time, he could follow in the steps of his predecessors, notably Robin Van Persie and Alexis Sanchez that ran down their contracts, refused new deals and forced a move to bitter rivals. This summer, the Gunners were able to put that to bed as the Gabonese forward penned an improved 3 year deal that brought a huge sigh of relief to the Emirates and its faithfuls.
All through the summer, there were two names that kept reverberating; Thomas Partey of Athletico Madrid and Houssem Aouar of Lyon who later joined as top target. Both were seen as key signings that would significantly improve the Gunners. The latter was expected to improve Arteta’s side offensively with respect to creating chances and the former was expected to help defensively, the kind of physical and brutish central midfielder that the team had been screaming for.
Now the window has slammed shut but not before Arsenal completed the signing of Partey though same could not be said of Aouar who Lyon priced out of reach and also opted to stay.
From Arsenal’s summer activity, the Gunners can conveniently say they had a near perfect window, having secured Aubamenyang to a new deal, added a versatile winger and a midfield enforcer, adding a creative midfielder would have been a gloss on the finish but that was not to be.
Arsenal exited the window stronger than they entered it. The arrival of Partey will go a long way in stabilizing Arsenal’s midfield and defence. Despite the absence of a natural creative midfielder, the arrival of the Ghanian means they can commit more men forward while he sits back to protect the back 4. His presence means the Gunners can even tweak formations, Aretata could make a switch to 4-4-2 where Aubamenyang could be played alongside Alexander Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah or Nicolas Pepe. This also means that there can now be traditional wingers which would only further strengthen the team going forward.
Arsenal under Arteta is a project in progress but with the summer acquisitions, the Gunners have made huge progress as they attempt a steady climb back into the top 4 where they traditionally belong. With Thomas a gunner, Arsenal can now “Partey”