For all the talk of the January transfer window not representing value for money and talks of it completely being scrapped from the calendar, Premier League sides are some of the most active when it comes to some winter shopping.
To recruiting promising youngsters to fully-fledged international stars, Arsenal have often opened up their purse strings in the New Year on a lookout for either short-term or long-term fixes.
With Unai Emery’s side said to be on the lookout for a couple of signings this month to add to their squad, Gunners fans will hope that any additions go on to enjoy an Arsenal career of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang…rather than a Guillaume Warmuz.
So, here’s all of Arsenal’s permanent signings made in the January transfer window, RANKED.
19. Guillaume Warmuz (Lens) – Free Transfer
A legend at Ligue 1 club Lens where he made 427 appearances and won the league title in 1998, Warmuz signed for Arsenal in January 2003 and with aspirations of becoming the side’s number one shot-stopper.
Six months later however, the former France Under-21 international had left the club with no first-team appearances to his name, and joined Borussia Dortmund, with Jens Lehmann going in the opposite direction.
18. Luke Freeman (2008) – £200k
Starting his professional career at Gillingham, Freeman made his first-team debut with the club at the age of 15, becoming the youngest player to ever appear in the FA Cup at the time. The hype surrounding him saw him earn a move to Arsenal, with former boss Arsene Wenger describing him as a ‘very interesting prospect’.
Sadly for Freeman, the winger never made it out of the Gunners’ youth teams and eventually left on a permanent deal to League One Stevenage.
17. Havard Nordtveit (Haugesund) – £500k
Dubbed the ‘brightest defensive talent in Europe’ by former Haugesund captain Kevin Nicol, Nordtveit’s move to Arsenal never quite worked out as promised. Despite being named skipper for the Gunners’ second string immediately after his move, the Norwegian failed to make a single appearance for the club and spent most of his time away on loan.
Now at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, Nordtveit has carved out a relatively successful career away from the Emirates.
16. Nacer Barazite (2007) – Free Transfer
Signed as a youth prospect from Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, Barazite went on to make three appearances for the Gunners. His second game for the club saw him come on a substitute in Arsenal’s League Cup quarter-final against Blackburn Rovers in December 2007, but after just 17 minutes on the pitch, was stretchered off with a dislocated shoulder.
The Dutchman then enjoyed a fine loan spell with Derby County in 2008, but never truly found himself back in contention at Arsenal.
15. Thomas Eisfeld (Borussia Dortmund) – £475k
A former Germany Under-20 international, Eisfeld’s performances with Dortmund’s academy earned rave reviews for his excellent technique and ability to play either from the left or as an attacking midfielder. The German made his debut for his new club in the Gunners’ incredible 7-5 comeback win over Reading in the League Cup, and after scoring his first goal the following season against West Brom, Wenger compared him to Robert Pires.
Eisfeld would just make one further first-team appearances before leaving for pastures new.
14. Krystian Bielik (Legia Warsaw) – £2.4m
Highly-rated in his time at Legia Warsaw, Bielik came to the Gunners as a holding midfielder, but has since moved been converted into a centre-back.
The Poland Under-21 international currently finds himself out on loan for a third successive season, this time at League One side Charlton where he’s become a mainstay of the Addicks’ backline. Still only 21, Bielik may well find himself with an Arsenal future under new boss Unai Emery.
13. Konstantinos Mavropanos (PAS Giannina) – £1.8m
Sven Mislintat’s first signing for the club, Mavropanos put in a remarkably assured display on his full debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford last season. The Greek showed a glimpse into the huge future he could potentially have, with his pace and power making him naturally suited to the intensity of the Premier League.
With international teammate Sokratis now at the club, a centre-half duo from Greece may form the bedrock of the Arsenal defence in the coming seasons.
12. Gabriel Paulista (Villarreal) – £11.3m
Aggressive in the tackle and played with his heart on his sleeve, Gabriel brought a much-needed quality to Arsenal’s defence.
The Brazilian was quick for a centre-back, and was willing to put his body on the line when needed. Despite performing impressively when called upon, the 28-year-old was surprisingly sold to Valencia just two years after joining the Gunners.
11. Carlos Vela (Guadalajara) – £2.7m
If there was one player on this list Gunners fan regret leaving, Carlos Vela may well be that man. After winning the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Cup with Mexico and finishing as the tournament’s top-scorer with five goals, Vela eventually signed for Arsenal in a real transfer coup for the Gunners.
On his full debut for the club in September 2008 after a period of loan spells away to get a work permit, Vela scored a hat-trick against Sheffield United in the League Cup, with his second goal officially voted as one of the club’s ’50 Greatest Goals’. ‘King of the Chip Shot’, the Mexican was unlucky not to earn consistent starts with the Gunners.
10. Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla) – £10.5m
Given the no.9 shirt, Reyes was heralded as one of Spain’s brightest young talents when he arrived from Sevilla in 2004. After scoring an own goal against Middlesbrough in just his second game for the club, Reyes’ Gunners career took off when he scored twice against Chelsea to knock them out of the FA Cup.
The winger enjoyed a fine first six months and was named the Premier League’s Player of the Month in August, but after reports emerged regarding homesickness, he eventually left the club to return to his native Spain and join Real Madrid.
9. Mohamed Elneny (Basel) – £5m
Considering how the market has completely turned upside down in recent years, Elneny’s cut-price move to Arsenal has proven to be a shrewd acquisition. Whilst not a regular starter, particularly under Unai Emery this season, the Egyptian’s versatility has been a valuable asset for the Gunners.
Able to fill in at centre-half as well as a number of midfield positions, Elneny’s non-stop running and total commitment has endeared himself to Arsenal fans since his arrival from Switzerland.
8. Abou Diaby (Auxerre) – £2m
The ultimate ‘what if?’ question amongst Arsenal fans, Abou Diaby’s career was blighted and essentially ruined by a never-ending catalogue of injuries. The Frenchman showed flashes of brilliance with his lung-busting runs and impeccable technique and was supposed to be the answer to Patrick Vieira’s departure.
His marauding run and goal against Aston Villa at Villa Park in December 2008 encapsulated everything the former Auxerre star could have brought to the side, without the caveat of injuries.
7. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United) – Exchange With Alexis Sanchez
After a fairytale start against Everton, when the Armenian recorded a hat-trick of assists, Mkhitaryan’s form for the Gunners has been rather inconsistent for the Gunners. Injuries certainly haven’t helped, and under Unai Emery, the 30-year-old lay-off with a foot problem came at a time when he was enjoying a good run of form.
The jury is still out over Mkhitaryan, but as a versatile midfielder capable of playing in numerous positions, it has been little surprise to see his new Arsenal boss take a liking to him.
6. Emmanuel Eboue (Beveren) – £1m
When you talk about Arsenal cult heroes, Emmanuel Eboue’s name is always near the top of the list. The quirky and effervescent Ivorian brought a real energy to the club, and always looked like he enjoyed playing for the club.
Even amidst the horrible experience of being booed by a section of Arsenal fans during a game against Wigan in December 2008, the full-back stood firm and enjoyed seven seasons with the club and has been publicly outspoken over his love for the Gunners.
5. Andrei Arshavin (Zenit Saint Petersburg) – £15m
Arshavin’s career with Arsenal may have taken a huge nosedive in his latter years at the club, but will forever be remembered for two of the most iconic moments in the Gunners’ recent history. Signed on deadline day in 2009, the fleet-footed Russian’s arrival represented a real coup for Arsene Wenger’s side, with his performances at EURO 2008 earning rave reviews.
At £15m, Arshavin became the club’s record signing at the time, and remained so until the arrival of Mesut Ozil. A four-goal salvo at Anfield, and the winner against Barcelona at the Emirates in the Champions League, remain some of the greatest moments in both Arsenal and Arshavin’s history.
4. Emmanuel Adebayor (Monaco) – £3m
After his acrimonious departure to Manchester City, and later his move to north London rivals Tottenham, Adebayor’s name at the Emirates is, quite frankly, taboo. But during his time with the Gunners, the rangy yet talented Togo forward showed flashes of being the heir to Thierry Henry’s throne.
Capable of both scoring the spectacular (including an acrobatic volley against Spurs at White Hart Lane), and poaching predatory strikes, Adebayor enjoyed a few prolific years in his time on the red half of north London. The forward struck 62 times in 142 appearances for the club, and enjoyed his finest campaign in the 2007/2008 season where he scored 30 times and made it into the PFA Team of the Year.
3. Nacho Monreal (Malaga) – £8.3m
Since signing from cash-strapped Malaga in 2013, Monreal has well and truly become part of the Arsenal furniture. A symbol of consistency and a real favourite amongst his manager and players, the Spaniard’s willingness to fill in at centre-back as well as his favoured left-back role has marked him out to be a vital player since his arrival.
‘Mr Reliable’ for the side, Monreal turns 33 next month and it remains to be seen whether the defender can edge out Sead Kolasinac as the side’s first choice left-back for the foreseeable future but he has been a virtual ever-present in the Gunners’ first team.
2. Theo Walcott (Southampton) – £12m
His arrival in January 2006 was seen as the capture of one of European football’s brightest young talents, with the 16-year-old moving to the Emirates in a £5m deal; the most expensive transfer at his age in British football. Arsene Wenger at the time acknowledged it was a gamble, but heaped great praise on the teenager by comparing him to Wayne Rooney.
Whilst he may not have gone on to enjoy similar success to the likes of Rooney, or become the technically gifted footballer of a Thierry Henry, there can be no questioning Walcott was a fantastic servant at the Emirates and one of the Gunners’ best January signings.
13 seasons at the club, 397 appearances, 108 goals. For just £12m? An absolute no-brainer.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) – £56m
Was there ever any doubt? Taking to the Premier League like a duck to water, Aubameyang has well and truly taken English football by storm. One of the most prolific strikers in the world, the Gabon international has carried his international pedigree and form into being one of the league’s very best marksman.
A club record deal at £56m, the 29-year-old arrived last January in arguably the prime years of his career. Despite edging towards turning 30 in a few months, the forward hasn’t lost any of his blistering pace and is one of the Premier League’s top scorers this season with 14. Arsene Wenger’s one, final gift to Arsenal fans, and at the rate he’s going, could well make a case to be the club’s greatest ever January signing.