Arsenal fans are intrigued to see how Mikel Arteta strengthens his squad this month – but the Gunners have a mixed record when it comes to signing players in the January transfer window.
This is now Arteta’s second January window as he looks to shape the squad in his own image. If reports are to be believed, Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard is set to arrive on loan to bring some much-needed creativity, following Mat Ryan’s loan signing from Brighton.
We’ve taken a look back at Arsenal’s previous 22 signings from the January transfer window. We can’t say it’s a list littered with success stories.
You probably shouldn’t mention his name around the Emirates these days, but Adebayor was an absolute steal in 2006, joining from Monaco as a 21-year-old for around £3million.
Come 2007-08, the striker stepped up to fill the void left by Thierry Henry by scoring 30 goals in all competitions and was practically unplayable at times before leaving under a cloud to join Manchester City.
Now 36, Adebayor left Kayserispor in December 2019 with the team bottom of the Turkish league, halfway through a one-year deal. He was last seen turning out for Paraguayan club Olimpia last Spring but only made four appearances.
READ: A rare celebration of peak Emmanuel Adebayor & his super spell at Arsenal
In 399 games for Arsenal, Walcott scored 108 goals and provided 78 assists, which is not to be sniffed at, but his legacy could have been far greater were he not desperately unlucky in a couple of big moments.
Still, all the years of service didn’t stop him celebrating at The Emirates, having scored against them for Southampton. He’s back at his boyhood club now after a not particularly memorable stint at Everton.
READ: How the football Gods conspired to deny Theo Walcott Arsenal hero status
We assumed Poom would be Estonia’s No.1 goalkeeper for the rest of eternity. Turns out he retired in 2009, but it’s comforting to know he has been Estonia’s goalkeeping coach ever since.
He’ll always have that winner against Barcelona and the four goals at Anfield, but Arshavin flattered to deceive for large spells at the club.
The Russian retired in 2018 after three years in the obscurity of the Kazakhstan Premier League. We can only hope he now devotes his time to updating Ask Arshavin.
READ: The best (and worst) of Ask Arshavin: Bears, Albert Einstein & ice cream
In a surprising move, Arsenal re-signed Campbell on a free transfer in January 2010 following the defender’s exit from Notts County after a couple of months in League Two.
The former England international made 11 appearances before spending the final season of his playing career at Newcastle United, and was last seen in charge of Southend United.
No, we don’t remember him either, but that’s probably because the attacking midfielder was loaned out seven times by Arsenal and never actually appeared for the club.
More recently, the four-cap Bolivia international left the brilliantly-named Sport Boys for the equally brilliant The Strongest.
Once considered an exciting prospect, Miyaichi never established himself in England after spending time on loan at Bolton and Wigan.
The winger moved to cult German outfit St Pauli, but his career has been consistently blighted by injuries.
A name familiar to plenty of Football Manager players but possibly no one else.
The attacker was loaned out six times, including a spell in the Championship with Bolton, but never appeared for the Gunners before returning to his native Brazil with Fluminense.
“My strike against Leeds when I came back to London in 2012 was my favourite goal for Arsenal,” Henry told The Sun in 2017. “That one was personal. It won’t go down in FA Cup history but it was the first time I scored as a fan.
“You know, I wasn’t meant to come back and I came back. I wasn’t meant to play, I played. I wasn’t meant to score, I scored. It was so emotional. It wasn’t about technique or about the score, it was what it meant to me.
“Usually when I scored I didn’t show much uncontrolled emotion. I was accused of being cold. Sometimes that was because I was annoyed because I’d missed a chance or because we were losing. But that day, we could have been 10-0 down and I would have still celebrated like that! I was a lunatic! I had scored as a fan! Everyone dreams of that.”
That goal alone made re-signing Henry, now in charge of MLS outfit CF Montreal, on loan completely worthwhile.
The 2020 winter transfer window marks five years since Eisfeld left England to return to Germany, initially joining Bochum on loan before joining the club on a permanent basis for the 2015-16 season.
Eisfeld had joined Arsenal as a highly-rated prospect from Borussia Dortmund in 2012 and was compared to Robert Pires by Arsene Wenger after scoring in a League Cup tie against West Brom, yet he never appeared for the first team again before a similarly underwhelming spell at Fulham, with injuries hampering the midfielder’s career throughout.
Arsenal supporters could be excused for not knowing a great deal about Monreal when he arrived in January 2013 after spells in Spain with Osasuna and Malaga, but the defender certainly left his mark on the club.
Upon leaving the club in 2019 to return to Spain with Real Sociedad, Monreal waved goodbye with over 250 appearances for the Gunners and three FA Cups to his name.
A bonafide Football Manager legend, it’s probably fair to say Kallstrom finally moved to England a little past his best. A back injury was discovered during the then-31-year-old’s medical, and Arsene Wenger admitted he only went ahead with the signing as there was not enough time left in the window to pursue an alternative option.
The midfielder played just four times for Arsenal, although he notably came on in extra-time of the FA Cup against Wigan Athletic to score in the Gunners’ shoot-out victory, describing the occasion as “the greatest 15 minutes of my life”.
Where is he now? Well, he’s inspiring episodes of our podcast, The Broken Metatarsal.
Derby County made Bielik their club-record signing last summer, prising the Poland international away from Arsenal in a £9.5million move.
Bielik played twice for Arsenal after joining from Legia Warsaw in January 2015, but he needed to drop down to League One, impressing on loan at Charlton Athletic before catching Derby’s eye.
The Rams struggled in the Championship last season, and Bielik’s campaign ended early due to a serious knee injury suffered in an under-23s game, but he’s recovered and is an important player for Wayne Rooney’s Rams now.
Generally remembered for being terrorised by Diego Costa – a fate which befell plenty of other defenders in the Premier League – Gabriel was…fine, right?
The centre-back has grown in stature since joining Valencia in 2017, making over 100 appearances in two-and-a-half seasons and helping the side win the Copa del Rey in 2019. He remains there today, but it’s become something of a basket case club amid tensions behind the scenes.
Having spent last season at Besiktas, the Egyptian midfielder has made a surprise return, making a number of appearances under Arteta this season.
Bramall was plucked from obscurity when he joined Arsenal from non-league outfit Hednesford Town in January 2017.
The left-back failed to make a senior appearance for the club and similarly struggled on loan at Birmingham City before joining League Two side Colchester United upon the expiry of his contract at the Emirates.
Now 24, he certainly hasn’t lost any ambition, telling Sky Sports in December 2019: “I want to be the best full-back in the world. I’m just a winner, I’m passionate and I just want to win and I want to get to the highest level as fast as possible.
“I’ve come to the game late and I look at my mates who are younger than me who are at a higher level, but I’m thinking, ‘I’m 23, it’s possible.’ I can get there now. I’ve been there, I’ve dropped, I’ve took a step back, but I’m ready to go again for the next challenge. Anything that comes at me, I’m ready.”
Another player still on the books at Arsenal albeit currently out on loan, Mavropanos is currently at Stuttgart, having been sent to FC Nürnberg last season.
The centre-back initially impressed in north London after being thrown in at the deep end, making his debut at Old Trafford a couple of months after joining the club from Greek side PAS Giannina and enjoying a run in the side due to injuries.
Now 23, Mavropanos has struggled to build on that promising starts due to injury issues of his own.
Mkhitaryan moved to Arsenal as part of the deal which saw Alexis Sanchez join Manchester United. It’s probably fair to say there were no winners from that transfer.
He’s now rebuilding his reputation at Roma, having joined permanently last summer after doing well on loan.
78 goals in his first 129 appearances for the Gunners. Not bad.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 19, 2021
A poor man’s Kim Kallstrom, Suarez played 67 minutes in the Premier League after joining Arsenal on loan from Barcelona but finally looks settled after Celta Vigo on a permanent basis in 2019.
The Brazilian centre-half has been a somewhat peripheral figure, with fewer than a dozen first-team appearances in his first year at Arsenal, but he looks a useful enough squad addition, having signed permanently after his initial loan from Fluminense.
Like Mari, many questioned the wisdom of Arsenal handing Cedric Soares a four-year deal in the summer, having barely featured in his half-season loan from Southampton.
But the Portuguese right-back has been a solid squad player to bring in for the Europa League, and did especially well on his first Premier League start of the season against Newcastle.
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