It hasn’t been easy for Arsenal fans over recent years.
They had the difficult final few years of Arsene Wenger, and just when they thought they had a new dawn under Unai Emery, the wheels are starting to fall off once again. Transfers haven’t been great either, so today we’re going to rate each of Arsenal’s last 25 signings out of 10, and that’s not including youth players who haven’t featured for the first-team yet.
1. Gabriel Paulista, 6 out of 10.
We’re starting back in January 2015, when Gabriel arrived from Villarreal for £11.3 million. The Brazilian seemed like an odd signing at the time, and barely featured when he first arrived, despite a great performance against Everton in his first start. Gabriel was okay in an Arsenal shirt, not horrendous but hardly exceptional. But his departure was a surprise, joining Valencia in August 2017 despite Arsenal’s lack of defensive options. He’s hardly any worse than what they’ve got currently.
2. Petr Cech, 7.5 out of 10.
When Arsenal signed Petr Cech, it seemed like he could be a marquee signing. He was second choice at Chelsea, but still one of the best stoppers around, while Arsenal were really desperate for a safe pair of hands. And Cech impressed in his first season at the Emirates, despite a poor defence in front of him. As the years went by, more mistakes would creep into his game, with an inability to play out from the back getting some people on his back. Once Emery arrived, Cech was pretty much out the door, retiring last summer.
3. Ismael Bennacer, 2 out of 10.
You’d be excused for either not knowing this guy or forgetting he actually was a Gunner. The Algerian midfielder arrived in England in 2015 as a teenager, making just one appearance for Arsenal, coming off the bench in a League Cup clash. It seemed like Arsenal had a gem, but two years on and he’d join Empoli, and now he’s at the San Siro with AC Milan, with Arsenal actually rejecting the chance to re-sign him. Maybe one that got away for the Gunners.
4. Mohamed Elneny, 5 out of 10.
Arriving from Basel in January 2016, Elneny quickly proved how important a holding midfielder was to Arsenal, even if he wasn’t going to be the main man going forwards. He didn’t cost much and was always just a squad player really at the Emirates, and now he’s out on loan back with Basel. A low risk deal that didn’t have any major highs or lows, a straight down the middle player.
5. Granit Xhaka, 4 out of 10.
Ah Granit Xhaka, just where did it all go wrong? He cost £35 million in the summer of 2016, and initially looked like he was going to be an excellent signing, a player who could go on to become an Arsenal great. This summer he became captain, and has since lost it, with an exit now inevitable. Xhaka is detested at the Emirates, a player who has became better known for stupid tackles and west passes rather than long range screamers and dominating midfields.
6. Takuma Asano, 0.5 out of 10.
In July 2016, Takuma Asano joined Arsenal. It’s more than three years on, and the Japanese forward still hasn’t played for the club because he hasn’t got a work permit. He’s 25 now, spending his time playing out on loan in Germany. A woeful Arsenal signing, who finally left this summer for Partizan Belgrade.
7. Rob Holding, 7 out of 10.
He’d only played 26 Championship games for Bolton, but Rob Holding had done enough to impress Arsenal, moving to North London for £2 million in 2016. When he’s been called upon, Rob Holding has actually been pretty decent, the least catastrophe ridden of all the Arsenal centre-backs, but now he’s 24 and needs to start playing more football.
8. Lucas Perez, 1 out of 10.
In the cups, Lucas Perez was somewhat prolific in an Arsenal shirt, but it never happened in the Premier League. Considering he cost £17 million, Perez was an absolute waste of money, something of a panic buy after a great season with Deportivo. Perez lasted one season at the Emirates before leaving on loan and then permanently, before also flopping at West Ham.
9. Shkodran Mustafi, 1.5 out of 10.
In 2016, Arsenal spent £35 million on a World Cup winner, and it seemed like they’d done a deal that would fix their defensive woes. In 2019, Mustafi is nothing but a joke in North London, with memes and GIFs of his horrorshows gracing social media almost every day. He can’t even get a game at Arsenal nowadays, and is surely primed to leave in January.
10. Sead Kolasinac, 8 out of 10.
Signed on a free in 2017, it’s hard to be too critical of Sead Kolasinac. He’s always been pretty good in an Arsenal shirt, and he also saved Mesut Ozil’s life, fighting off those blokes who tried to rob him. Kolasinac’s position is now under threat with the arrival of Kieran Tierney, but the Bosnian international has been solid for Arsenal over the past couple of years.
11. Alexandre Lacazette, 8.5 out of 10.
A club record signing in 2017, it’s hard to assess Lacazette’s time at Arsenal, as he’s often been overshadowed. But when you look at his goal return, he’s actually been damn good. In both his full seasons of premier League football he’s hit double figures, and in total he averages just shy of a goal every other game. Lacazette is ice cool in front of goal, but at a time when Arsenal have an even better striker in their ranks.
12. Konstantinos Mavropanos, 5 out of 10.
It’s hard to judge the big Greek centre-back, as we’ve not really seen much of him. He’s managed seven Premier League appearances so far, and from what I can remember he looked okay, not exceptional but okay. Is he a future Arsenal star? Who knows.
13. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 3 out of 10.
Ah Henrikh, you were not very good in an Arsenal shirt were you? He arrived as part of the deal that saw Alexis Sanchez go to Manchester United, and it seems like there was no winner from that transfer saga. Like he did at Old Trafford, Mkhitaryan flattered to deceive, and is now on loan in Italy with Roma.
14. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 9.5 out of 10.
Of the last 25 Arsenal signings, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is easily the best. The striker arrived after Sanchez left in January 2018, and he’s been on fire in front of goal ever since. He hit double figures in his first season despite arriving half way through, then last year he shared the golden boot with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. And true to form, he’s doing excellent this time out as well, showing why he is truly one of the best strikers in the world.
15. Stephan Lichtsteiner, 3.5 out of 10.
He arrived on a free in the summer of 2018, and the Swiss defender seemed like the perfect candidate to whip these Arsenal boys into shape with his never say die attitude that made him a figure of hate during his days with Juventus. Sadly, age wasn’t kind to Lichtsteiner. His legs were pretty much gone, limiting his impact in Arsenal red, and he left this summer for Augsburg.
16. Bernd Leno, 8 out of 10.
The German stopper joined Arsenal last summer, and it didn’t take him long to become the number one over Petr Cech. He had an alright first season in the Premier League, and he’s doing decent again this time with the number one on his back. By no means is he the best in the Premier League, but Leno is solid, and the least of Arsenal’s worries right now.
17. Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 6.5 out of 10.
This seemed like an odd signing at the time, as Sokratis was hardly a class act over the years, but Unai Emery freshened up his squad by bringing the Greek defender in for about £17 million. Has it worked? Kind of, kind of not. Some weeks he’s the solid no nonsense defender that Arsenal have needed, then other weeks he seems like a typical Arsenal defender, channelling his inner Sebastien Squillaci to have Gunners fans pulling their hair out.
18. Lucas Torreira, 8 out of 10.
When Lucas Torreira burst onto the scene at the Emirates, he immediately became a fans’ favourite. He was full of energy, tenacious, winning tackles and using the ball well, chipping in with some goals too, including one against Tottenham. But for some reason, things aren’t as good as they once were, with Emery going sour on the Uruguayan, often leaving him out of the side which could ultimately lead to him departing the Emirates sooner rather than later, which would be a damn shame.
19. Matteo Guendouzi, 9 out of 10.
Last summer Arsenal signed a curly haired midfielder who looked a bit like David Luiz and Marouane Fellaini, but no one really knew anything about him. Despite his youth and inexperience, Guendouzi started the season in the Arsenal first team, and wasn’t shy about making his mark. The Frenchman has been excellent for the Gunners, and while he still has a lot of improvements to make, he’s had a bright start for the club, an inspired signing from the second tier of French football.
20. Denis Suarez, 1 out of 10.
From an inspired midfield signing to a shocker, Denis Suarez’s time at Arsenal was pretty bleak. He arrived on loan last January from Barcelona, and had zero impact. On his debut he came off the bench against Manchester City, and all he really did was give the ball away. He made just six Arsenal appearances before injury ended his season, and he returned to Spain with no one clamouring for his return.
21. Gabriel Martinelli, 8.5 out of 10.
The first signing of the summer in 2019, Gabriel Martinelli was something of an unknown quantity. But already the Brazilian teenager has proven he was worth investing in, scoring goal after goal in the cup competitions, finding the net at a rate that other Brazilian legends couldn’t match. Something will have to go drastically wrong if he doesn’t become a Premier League star at Arsenal.
22. Dani Ceballos, 7 out of 10.
Signed on loan from Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos is a player with all the potential to be a mainstay at the top of European football, so Arsenal have quite the player on their hands, even if it is just on loan. Ceballos has quietly impressed since arriving, although maybe not to the levels that some expected after seeing him excel at the Under 21 tournament over the summer. No matter how well he does, signing Ceballos permanently could be difficult for the Gunners.
23. Nicolas Pepe, 6 out of 10.
The Ivorian became Arsenal’s most expensive player ever this season, costing £72 million from Lille. And so far, I actually feel sorry for him. It just isn’t falling for Pepe, who’s starting to feel the wrath of various onlookers as he struggles to justify his massive price tag. But Pepe has shone in moments, he just needs to find consistency and starting scoring at the rate he did in Ligue 1. Until then though, the doubters will only grow and grow.
24. Kieran Tierney, 9 out of 10.
He hasn’t played that much yet, but Celtic fans will tell you all about how good a signing Kieran Tierney is. The Scottish left-back is one of the best defensive talents in Europe, and Arsenal should consider themselves lucky to have him. He’s struggled for fitness so far, but when he properly gets going, the Gunners have a real player in their ranks, one who can give them a bit more edge going forward from the left, while also being solid at the back.
25. David Luiz, 7 out of 10.
Arriving on deadline day from Chelsea, David Luiz was one of the weirdest signings of the summer. How’s he done in an Arsenal shirt? Well exactly as you’d expect. There’s been moments of sheer excellence combined with moments of madness, as well as a classic David Luiz long ball up the field to his teammate. With a better partner at the back, Luiz would probably be doing much better. Sadly, he and Sokratis look more like the Chuckle Brothers than Keown and Adams.