Analyzing Arsenal’s summer transfer window: How have the Gunners fared?
A new manager in the Emirates hot seat after more than two decades will be a fresh sight for Arsenal fans this season. Unai Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger after the end of the 2017/18 campaign, may not have been at the Emirates for long but he has shown the right attitude in completing the club’s transfer business early.
The Gunners finished sixth last season and the man entrusted with the job of steadying the ship should be aware of how big the challenge is. Emery, who has arrived with an impressive CV and boasts of exceptional European pedigree, will need all the support from his staff, the club owners and, most importantly, the fans if he is to turn the fortunes of the club around.
So far so good, Arsenal had a really good pre-season where the youngsters caught more attention when compared to the seniors. The Spanish manager is known for meticulously working on every small facet of the game and has his own methods of getting the best out of players. Under him, the Gunners looked sharp in pre-season, with the team gelling well.
As far as the new signings are concerned, the first impression is encouraging. Their business has not been overly spectacular but Emery has made some solid signings.
Strengthening the defence was a priority when Emery walked in at Emirates. And he exactly did what was expected out of him as the Gunners extensively focused on shoring the back line. Arsenal acquired the services of the experienced right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus. The Switzerland international is a serial winner and he will provide depth, competition and leadership to the squad.
In came goalkeeper Bernd Leno, signed from Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal believed to be for an initial €22m. Petr Cech’s age and drop in form meant the Gunners needed a young goalkeeper to be the Czech Republic’s long-term replacement. And they have got that in Leno, who is definitely one of the most promising goalkeepers in the world.
Emery, with the help Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, identified Sokratis Papastathopoulos to fix Arsenal’s porous defence. Sokratis joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee and will not only provide cover for the injured Laurent Koscielny but will also be a role model for the young defenders.
The Gunners have lacked a defensive midfielder for years now and Emery sorted it out by bringing Lucas Torreira in from Sampdoria. The young Uruguayan fits the bill perfectly at the Emirates as he works tirelessly for his team and tends to keep things simple.
One to watch for the future, Matteo Guendouzi also joined the Gunners as part of Emery’s revolution and the France Under-20 international showed glimpses of his quality in the pre-season tour.
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Throw in the January signings of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and the Gunners have all the ingredients needed to create waves in the 2018/19 campaign. Emery still has gaping holes elsewhere but it’s often better to revamp a squad progressively rather than doing it all in one transfer window.