And with that, the transfer window has slammed shut. Arsenal brought in 5 players this summer — Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos, and Matt Turner. The Gunners spent north of £110M on the heels of spending almost £150M last summer, giving them the highest total spend of any Premier League club over two years (actually, Chelsea may have eclipsed Arsenal with their deadline day spending — either way, the club have spent lately).
The club shipped out a number of players: Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Dinos Mavropanos, Hector Bellerin (free transfer), Alex Lacazette (free transfer), Nuno Tavares (loan), Pablo Mari (loan), Alex Runarsson (loan), Nicolas Pepe (loan), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (loan), and Auston Trusty. You would have liked to see some of those loans be permanent deals but getting their wages off the books will have to do.
It was a bit disappointing that Arsenal weren’t able to bring in either defensive midfield depth or a rotational option on the wing to spell Bukayo Saka. That’s how it goes sometimes. Transfers are much more difficult to pull off.
Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal had a great window. Every bit as good as last summer and perhaps a bit better. Up there among the best transfer windows in club history.
Overall, I’d give the window an 8/10 or A-. I know those two don’t exactly translate, but I think you get the picture. It was a very good window, just short of being excellent, but definitely praiseworthy.
Gabriel Jesus, £45m
Transfer Grade: A+
The Brazilian striker is the crown jewel of the summer business and seems to be the missing link in the Arsenal attack. His movement, energy, and quality have made the Gunners a fearsome bunch. You never know where he (or any of the other attackers) are going to pop up, which makes them all more difficult to defend. He comes with title-winning experience and at 25-years old, he has several prime years ahead of him.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, ~£32M
Transfer Grade: A
Almost equally as important to Arsenal’s summer business is the Ukrainian hybrid left-back, left-center defensive midfielder, or whatever you want to call him. The Gunners needed cover for Kieran Tierney at left back and look to have outright replaced him. At the very least, Zinchenko offers a different skillset and allows the Gunners to effectively play a 2-3-5 in possession. His pressure resistance, ball retention, and progressive passing gives Arsenal attacking threat down both sides of the pitch.
A few questions remain about his defensive abilities, but he offers so much going forward as to more than cancel those out. Like Gabriel Jesus, he comes from Manchester City with title-winning experience and fits with the overall age profile of the Arsenal squad (25).
Fabio Vieira, £34M
Transfer Grade: NA
It’s impossible to rate the signing because we’ve not seen him play competitive minutes for the club. He could turn out a total bust, an average player, or a smashing success. There is no way to tell. He spent all summer recovering from a foot injury suffered on international duty. He’s 22-years old, can play across the attacking front, and should provide another creative, passing option with the ability to chip in a few goals.
At that price, he should be ready to contribute to the first team when fit and ready. That’s not a prospect number. That’s an immediate impact amount. Remembering he’s a midfield addition that might be able to play the advanced left-side no. 8 spot, which would allow Granit Xhaka to shift back in the formation, makes me a bit more comfortable with Arsenal not bringing in another player for the base of the midfield.
Matt Turner, £7.5M
Transfer Grade: C+
Arsenal needed a backup keeper to replace the departing Bernd Leno, and they got one. He’s a very good shot-stopper but needs to work on his distribution, which I’m sure he’s been at in training. We’ll see how far it’s come along in the Europa League and domestic cups. That transfer grade definitely has the potential to go up.
Transfer Grade: B+
Another move that’s tough to grade because we simply haven’t seen him play much with the senior side. He’s looked quite good, as in above the level of the competition, in limited minutes with the U21s. He’s a pacey dribbler and has the build of a man that belies his actual age (19). He should get plenty of time in the Europa League with the potential for cameo appearances in the Premier League should he impress.
We’ll have more transfer window wrap-up content later / tomorrow, likely including grades for all the other Premier League clubs, and perhaps a too early look ahead to the January window and next summer.