The knives were out over the summer for Arsenal, and with just a week to go in the transfer window, Arsene Wenger had lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and signed just three new players, two being from the lower tiers.
Then the 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United came, and Arsenal went into overdrive to make good on their sufferings. Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta all headed to the Emirates in the final 24 hours of the transfer window to pick up their Gunners shirts.
And after a tough start to the season, redemption has given Arsenal fans hope of a top four finish. GMF looks at how the new signings in North London are faring.
Park Chu Young
Appearances so far: 2
Fee: €3.4 million
Park was brought in as a back up for Robin Van Persie, and with the Dutchman currently on fire for Arsenal, the summer signing has suffered from limited game time.
But in just two appearances, against Shresbury and Bolton in the Carling Cup, he scored the winner against Wanderers to take Arsenal through to the final eight in the competition, and the star has shown the potential to provide much-needed depth in the Gunners squad as the season wares on.
Appearances so far: 12
Fee: €12 million
Arteta came to Arsenal at almost literally the last minute of the transfer window, and while he has taken time to adjust to the new club, his form is showing signs of improvement.
After the Gunners defeated Marseille 1-0 away, Arteta said the squad were ‘starting to play together as a team’, as they start to climb the table again. And the playmaker’s own form would reflect that.
Come January, Arteta will finally start to show the fruit for his transfer fee, but like all teams that have overhauls in the summer (Sunderland are also proof of this), the Spaniard will take time to reach his peak at a new club.
Appearances so far: 9
Fee: €11.3 million
Mertesacker was Wenger’s defensive buy, and the German international doesn’t appear to have the pace to keep up with the Barclays Premier League while Bacary Sagna, Keiran Gibba, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby suffer from injuries.
The defender has struggled, giving away 10 goals in those nine appearances, but he has admitted that some communication problems have made settling into England difficult. He also said that Wenger’s faith in him has helped the 27-year-old adjust.
Appearances so far: 6
Benayoun has shown how hard-working he is so far for Arsenal, and the midfielder has added versatility and Barclays Premier League experience that most of Wenger’s other summer signings don’t have.
While supporters were a little underwhelmed at Benayoun being signed for the club in place of the departed Fabregas and Nasri, he has shown his worth in the side, with some classy performances including a goal against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup.
Appearances so far: 6
Fee: €7 million
Santos scored a much-needed goal against Olympiakos in the Champions League to keep the Gunners undefeated in the tournament, and the Brazilian clearly has a lot more to show for his transfer fee.
While he hasn’t had much experience on the pitch, Santos has shown a lot of technical ability, and as Gunners favourite Edu said recently, he will need time to adapt to the English style of football.
Ramires, Lucas Leiva and Anderson all went through the same difficulties in adapting away from Brazil, but after time became established players for Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. Gunners fans will be hoping that the same happens for Santos.
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