Arsenal splashed out over £150million on six signings who were under the age of 23 in the summer transfer window but the Gunners’ investments for the future are already making their mark
Arsenal’s summer transfer window not only saw six new faces arrive at the Emirates, but a wave of criticism come their way.
The Gunners were faced with the job of rebuilding after Mikel Arteta and co slumped to an eighth-place finish last season, meaning they are without European football this time around for the first time since 1995.
Technical director Edu opted to take a long-term approach in the squad rebuild, with all six incomings being below the age of 23 and costing a combined price of £150million.
When the window slammed shut on August 31, Arsenal’s squad was the youngest in the Premier League, leaving pundits and fans alike sceptical as to where Arteta’s much-needed leaders were.
It only intensified after starting the term by losing their first three games, with £50million man Ben White notably struggling.
But fast forward seven matches and the Gunners sat fifth in the table following their 2-0 victory over Leicester City.
Five newcomers started the match and Martin Odegaard – on loan for the second half of 2020-21 – came on as a substitute.
It seems Edu’s future-proofing is paying dividends well ahead of schedule as Arteta has entrusted the likes of White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga with senior responsibility.
But arguably the Emirates hierarchy’s best decision of the summer was to sign goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale for an initial fee of £24million.
Like most of the club’s business, supporters questioned the call to pay Sheffield United so much for someone who had been relegated in both of his seasons in the Premier League.
Five clean sheets in eight games later, though, and Ramsdale is firmly Arteta’s No.1 after swiftly displacing Bernd Leno.
Those shutouts are now just down to the 23-year-old, however, as Tomiyasu and White have also starred in the rearguard, while Tavares has filled in for the injured Kieran Tierney as of late.
Post-match at Leicester, Arteta gave an insight into Arsenal’s summer business when quizzed about Ramsdale.
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“We invest money in talent and people we believe can be great for the future of the club,” the Spaniard said.
“We made that decision based on that and Aaron has had some really encouraging performances, and today he had some incredible saves to maintain the clean sheet and he needs to continue to do that.
“In football you have to play 50 games for 20 years, and this is only the start.”
Arteta has acknowledged there are still plenty of miles left on the road to success and in line with their shared long-term thinking, Edu will too.
“We need to carry on. We haven’t done anything. We won a couple of matches,” the Gunners boss affirmed.
“We are not where we want to be still. There are a lot of things to improve.
“Let’s keep humble, working hard and go game-by-game. There are a lot of positives.
“I’m not going to say anything against any of that but again, there are a lot of things to improve.”