Real proof of the secrecy of Arsenal's transfer business

Arsenal are famous for their unwillingness to comment on transfers, but it feels like there's no secrecy in the transfer market. After all, we read about the players Arsenal is pursuing every week, and legitimate transfers such as Giroud and Gervinho have played out in the press and then come to fruition.

But the numbers don't bear this out. Arsenal have signed 11 senior players on permanent transfers in the past 4 transfer windows (excluding the Summer 13 window). Yet despite the dozens and dozens of players linked to Arsenal by the papers during those windows, 6 of the 11 were not reported in the papers as of July 1 of the window they moved in (note that I'm fudging by including Nacho Monreal in the 7, given that his move was so under the radar that his signing was first reported by

Frankly I'm being a little generous to the papers here. Of the 5 that were reported in June or before, I'm counting Per Mertesacker. Mertesacker got a solitary reference as a "possible option" for Wenger at CB at the bottom of a late May Daily Mail article that is mostly about the Cesc saga. Serious discussion of Mertesacker to Arsenal (a "serious discussion" being defined as the first article with Mertesacker as the headline target) didn't make the papers until July 10th

So lets put this in perspective. Right now the fanbase is waiting for the completion of the Gonzalo Higuain deal and wondering if that will be followed up with Fellaini or Bender in midfield. But in all likelihood the midfielder we'll end up signing isn't a name that we're all talking about in the comments or on Twitter.

Information about media reports comes from the invaluable Arsenal's Silly Season blog. Spend a few minutes clicking around it, and you'll be amazed by how much drivel the English papers push to us every summer (to me the quintessential example is Scott Dann in the summer of 2011).

List of the 11 players signed and their first media mention below:

Nacho Monreal - Signed Jan 31 with same-day warning
Santi Cazorla - First reported July 21, signed August 9
Olivier Giroud - Reported all spring, signed June 26

Lukas Podolski - Reported all spring, Signed April 30
Mikel Arteta - First reported August 25, signed Aug 31
Joel Campbell - First reported July 16, signed August 12
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - First reported May 18, signed August 8
Gervinho - First report May 20, signed July 11
Per Mertesacker - First report May 29, but not heavily discussed until July 11. Signed August 31
Park Ju-Young - First reported August 27, signed August 31.
Andre Santos - First reported August 29, signed August 31

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