Arsenal: Ranking every signing made by Arteta and Emery since Wenger left in 2018

Date published: Monday 9th May 2022 8:00 - Jason Soutar

Arsenal players Thomas Partey, Willian, Kieran Tierney and Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal have spent a fair whack since Arsene Wenger left in 2018 – meaning criticism of the Kroenke family not putting their hands in their pockets has pretty much been put to bed.

We’ve looked at Everton. We’ve looked at Manchester United. Now it’s time for the Gunners. Surely they haven’t done worse than the other two s**tshows?


27) Willian (free)
Signed on astronomical wages after a spell with London rivals Chelsea, Willian scored once in 37 appearances for Arsenal, costing the club a fortune in wages before generously agreeing to terminate his contract last August.


26) Denis Suarez (£2.2m loan fee)
This was one of the most pointless loan signings in Premier League history. Suarez played six times for Arsenal and provided little to no impact.


25) Alex Runarsson (£1.8m)
Runarsson is probably better with his feet than with his hands which, for a goalkeeper, is not ideal.


24) Stephan Lichtsteiner (free)
Emery turned to the experienced Lichtsteiner when looking for someone to provide some cover for Hector Bellerin. He enjoyed a terrific spell with Juventus but was less than impressive in north London. The Swiss right-back spent one season at the Emirates, joining Augsburg before retiring after another single campaign at a club.


23) Nicolas Pepe (£72m)
Arsenal’s club-record signing is currently a bench warmer with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe all ahead of him in Mikel Arteta’s pecking order.

Pepe has 27 goals and 20 assists in 109 matches for the Gunners and has often been criticised for his performances. His price tag has held him back at times. £72m is a lot of money which will always bring more scrutiny, unfortunately for the Ivorian. The talent is there to be seen, but his lack of consistent game time makes it very difficult to stamp his authority on the team and earn a starting berth.


22) Pablo Mari (£5.4m + £7.2m loan fee)
Mari was only signed because he is left-footed. Nobody can convince me otherwise.


21) Sokratis (£14.4m)
The Greek defender was brought in early on by Emery as the Spanish manager looked to create a team that could play out from the back like prime Barcelona. It didn’t quite work out that way. Sokratis was a terrific professional during his time at Arsenal but was past his best by the time he made the move to England.


20) Mathew Ryan (loan)
A decent back-up goalkeeper, Ryan spent the second half of 2020/21 at the Emirates. He made three appearances and joined Real Sociedad after his time in north London.


19) Auston Trusty (£1.6m)
To pretend I know a lot about Trusty would be shameful behaviour. He is an American defender that has been signed for barely anything. Can’t really go wrong, and is not expected to go tremendously well at the same time.


18) Matt Turner (£5.7m)
Arsenal’s new back-up goalkeeper with Bernd Leno expected to leave this summer. Auston’s compatriot will join up with his new teammates at the end of the season.


17) Dani Ceballos (loan)
There were high hopes after Arsenal signed a player who ran the show as Spain came out victorious at the 2019 Under-21 European Championships. However, Ceballos failed to live up to the hype with Gunners fans happy to see the back of him after his two-year loan.


16) Lucas Torreira (£25.8m)
Torreira hit the ground running after joining the Gunners in 2018. Off the back of a great World Cup campaign with Uruguay, the midfielder instantly became a fan favourite at the Emirates, making 50 appearances in his debut season as Arsenal reached the Europa League final.

However, Arteta doesn’t fancy Torriera, who was loaned out to Atletico Madrid in 20/21 and is set to join Fiorentina permanently for around £12m when his loan finishes this summer.


15) Cedric Soares (free)
Signed on loan and then offered a contract before kicking a ball, Cedric has failed to endear himself to the club’s fans with numerous mediocre performances. His ranking here is respectable, however, after performing well in Takehiro Tomiyasu’s frequent absence this season.


14) Nuno Tavares (£7m)
Hauled off after 30 minutes against Championship side Nottingham Forest. Taken off at half-time against Crystal Palace before being dropped as central midfielder Granit Xhaka filled in at left-back. It’s been a rough first season for Tavares. He’s a young lad, though, and has shown that he can be an asset to Arteta’s team. £7m is also peanuts.


13) Bernd Leno (£22.5m)
Leno became the club’s No. 1 goalkeeper with Petr Cech retiring at the end of 18/19. Signed with a solid reputation of being good on the ball, the German shot-stopper has been suspect at times when asked to play out. He has probably never been a top-five keeper in the Premier League, but is now a top-five back-up keeper with Aaron Ramsdale recently stealing his spot in between the sticks.


12) David Luiz (£7.8m)
Luiz divided opinion during his Arsenal career. From red cards against Manchester City and Wolves to masterclasses in the 2020 FA Cup semi-final and final to help his side win the trophy, nobody went from a world beater to completely shocking overnight quite like the Brazilian.

Arsenal defender David Luiz defending against Raheem Sterling


11) Matteo Guendouzi (£7.2m)
This signing had the potential to rank high in a list of Arsene Wenger signings, let alone post-Wenger signings. However, Arteta doesn’t want anything to do with Guendouzi, who is now starring in Marseille’s midfield and is a full France international. £7.2m was a bargain and Marseille are also getting a bargain when they spend £9.9m to make his loan permanent this summer.

Guendouzi would likely be pushing for a top-three spot on this list if he was still at the club, but letting him leave for f*** all when he would probably walk into Arsenal’s midfield if he hadn’t grabbed Neal Maupay by the throat is a tough pill to swallow for the fanbase.


10) Sambi Lokonga (£15.75m)
A full Belgium international, 22-year-old Lokonga has a superb amount to offer and has the potential to be a mainstay in Arsenal’s starting XI for years to come.

Be that as it may, the young midfielder has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League, with Guendouzi taking to English football much quicker than Lokonga has as things stand.


9) William Saliba (£27m)
Saliba might have no first-team appearances for Arsenal, but it is clear to see how good he is after his loan spells with Saint-Etienne, Nice and most recently, Marseille.

What Arteta will do with the French international next season is anyone’s bet.


8) Thomas Partey (£45m)
Partey has the potential to be world class and has shown it in fits and starts for Arsenal. Back in December, the Ghanian insisted that his performances for the Gunners have been 4/10, which is harsh but fair, considering how good everyone knows he can be. Having said that, he has not been a bad signing and is very important to Arteta’s system, despite Mohamed Elneny showing that he can fit the role very well in recent weeks.


7) Benjamin White (£52m)
The transfer fee raised many eyebrows last summer, with many laughing at Arsenal for paying more for White than Manchester United did for Raphael Varane. Who’s laughing now, huh?!


6) Takehiro Tomiyasu (£16.7m)
“Tomiyasu was offered to most clubs in the Premier League. He’s a good player but the problem is he’s not really a right-back, nor is he a central defender. I’m not sure how he will get on at Arsenal”.

Egg on your face, Kaveh Solhekol. Tomiyasu is solid, versatile and very two-footed. His injury proneness is a slight worry, but he has been one hell of a signing.


5) Aaron Ramsdale (£25m)
Ramsdale has added a new dimension to the Arsenal team thanks to his ability to play out from the back. Arsenal buying him shocked the club’s fanbase and he was written off before signing on the dotted line. It’s fair to say he has shut his critics up while picking up some new haters from rival fans for his eccentricity, passion and ‘camera saves’. It really is a miserable world out there.


4) Martin Odegaard (£31.5m + £1.8m loan fee)
Odegaard was good enough on loan last term to be Arteta’s number one priority in midfield last summer. The Norwegian has been excellent this season and has shown he can be the heartbeat of this team at such a young age. Another bargain in this modern market, Odegaard is likely to become club captain when the dust settles at the end of 21/22.


3) Gabriel Magalhaes (£23.4m)
Signed for more than his left foot, Gabriel is an excellent player and has formed a terrific partnership with White. £23m is a bloody bargain in this day and age.


2) Kieran Tierney (£24.3m)
The Scot would probably be number one if it wasn’t for his injury record. Tierney missed 23 games in his debut season, 11 in 20/21 and has missed 16 this term with a return before 22/23 not happening.

Having said that, what a signing he has been. The fans quite rightly love him and a lot are keen for the former Celtic left-back to be the next club captain. Once again, his fitness issues will likely keep him as one of 20 vice skippers, as opposed to being the top dog.


1) Gabriel Martinelli (£6.4m)
The best Arsenal signing post-Wenger for many reasons. £6.4m for someone of Martinelli’s ability and potential was a masterstroke from the club’s scouts.

Before moving to north London, the Brazilian had a trial with Manchester United, who opted not to sign him because they don’t tend to make good decisions in that department.

With his injury problems hopefully behind him after some terrific management from Arteta – despite calls from fans for him to play Martinelli more often – the winger will continue to progress with his transfer value at least ten times what the Gunners paid to sign him from Ituano.

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