By 90Min
August 11, 2019

Summertime. The point in each year where we all pull our hair out in anticipation of the coming season. A time when only rumours ranging from the farcical to the frighteningly plausible prevent us from adopting a new-found love of extreme ironing.

Arsenal have had their fair share of ups and downs in the summer window, and with the 2019 one now overfor Unai Emery's side, we thought it best to look back on those summers gone by. 

Reflection and reevaluation are on the cards, so here is a ranking of all 18 of those summer windows since they began in 2002/03, with some of them making for rather uncomfortable reading, it must be said.


18. Summer 2015

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/GettyImages

Ins: Petr Cech, Mohamed Elneny

Outs: Lukas Podolski, Ryo Miyaichi, Abou Diaby, Semi Ajayi

The Premier League season that will forever be seen as both the greatest story in club football as well as the one that got away, Arsenal truly bottled it when the league was well and truly there for the taking.

Petr Cech and Mohamed Elneny were the only additions to the Gunners that summer, and while Cech was a real coup, there were so many other areas that needed strengthening. If Arsenal had spent big, there's no knowing whether they could have clawed back that ten point gap to eventual winners Leicester.

Lukas Podolski also left, and he was never replaced. It's a window that still riles Arsenal fans to this day, and will for some time.


17. Summer 2009

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Ins: Thomas Vermaelen

Outs: Emmanuel Adebayor, Kole Toure, Henri Lansbury, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

That image...shudders.

A bitter pill to swallow is seeing your star striker leave to a league rival, but its made worse when one of your best defenders follows suit.

It wouldn't be the first time this would happen for Arsenal fans, as Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure jumped ship to join Manchester City in the summer of 2009. It signaled a lack of power on the Gunners' behalf, and hinted towards a shift in mentality that would cast doubt among supporters.

Thomas Vermaelen was brought in and, while a solid defender, injuries ravaged his time at the club and prevented him ever making his mark in north London. 


16. Summer 2016

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Ins: Granit Xhaka, Skhodran Mustafi, Lucas Perez, Takuma Asano, Rob Holding, Cohen Bramall

Outs: Serge Gnabry, Wellington Silva, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Krystian Bielik

Xhaka, Mustafi, Perez and Asano. Yes, really. And yes, a combined total of £101m. This lot have been about as much use to Arsenal as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

Furthermore, Serge Gnabry left for Werder Bremen for £4.5m and is now winning Player of the Year at Bayern Munich. It's the stuff of nightmares. The only plus in this window was Rob Holding, who has the makings of a future Gunners captain. Otherwise, move on.


15. Summer 2007

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Ins: Eduardo, Bacary Sagna, Lukasz Fabianski, Lassana Diara, Pedro Bothello

Outs: Thierry Henry, Jose Antonio Reyes, Fabrice Muamba, Freddie Ljungberg, Jeremie Aliadiere

The king has left the building.

It was a horrendously emotional day, but one that was expected nevertheless, when Thierry Henry finally bid goodbye to Arsenal. Together with him left Jose Antonio Reyes, Freddie Ljungberg and Lassana Diarra, and while the Gunners brought in Bacary Sagna and Eduardo, it was never going to fill the void. Nobody blames Henry, but the fact he left due to the poor recruitment made at the club and that even he knew Arsenal were heading nowhere spoke volumes of how hopeful fans were.

Eduardo would be plagued by injuries, by no fault of his own, scoring 21 goals in 67 appearances.


14. Summer 2012

GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Ins: Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal

Outs: Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Carlos Vela, Henri Lansbury, Ju-yeong Park, Johan Djourou, Nicklas Bendtner

Arguably the worst sale in Arsenal's history, the only reason this window isn't further up the table is due to the fact the club acquired some pretty decent footballers.

Oh, there's no point sugar coating it, Robin van Persie WAS SOLD TO MANCHESTER UNITED and WON THEM THE LEAGUE.

It was an utter shambles and will rile the Emirates faithful until their final days on this earth. But, as mentioned, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Nacho Monreal joined with mixed success. However, 100 Arsenal goals for Giroud and some of the best football played at the Emirates with Cazorla in the team softened the blow ever so slightly. 

Who am I kidding, no it doesn't.


13. Summer 2011

GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Ins: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Ju-yeong Park, Carl Jenkinson, Joel Campbell, Thomas Eisfeld, Yossi Benayoun

Outs: Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue, Armand Traore

As aforementioned, it wasn't to be the first time Arsenal sold key players to direct rivals, as Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy abandoned their posts in favour of a move to mega-rich City once again.

Cesc Fabregas also left the club, returning to Barcelona, while the incomings blew lukewarm and exceedingly cold.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Good but never played in rightful position.

Gervinho: Mostly garbage. That miss against Bradford...

Mikel Arteta: Never set the world alight but gave his all.

Per Mertesacker: Milk turns faster than him but also made some good contributions.

Andre Santos: Oh good lord. What was Arsene Wenger smoking?

Ju-yeong Park: Don't even bother.

Carl Jenkinson: Greatest signing of the 21st century.

Joel Campbell: Never fulfilled his potential and was 99% crap.

Thomas Eisfeld: Utterly pointless.

Yossi Benayoun: Desperation.


12. Summer 2006

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Ins: Tomas Rosicky, Denilson, Julio Baptista, William Gallas

Outs: Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, Sebastian Larsson, Lauren, Sol Campbell

Oh that classic Arsenal trend of selling your top players to direct rivals. This was the first major one to occur and still leaves a really bitter taste in the mouths of Arsenal fans.

Of course, it was (C)Ashley Cole's move to Chelsea. The player wanted out, so a swap deal with William Gallas took place. On the surface it seemed like a decent move, getting rid of a player who wanted to leave and adding in a French international, however, it couldn't have gone more wrong.

Cole was still ace and Gallas was an atrocious captain.

On the bright side, one of the most naturally gifted players to walk the turf at the Emirates joined, as Tomas Rosicky would go on to win the hearts of all Arsenal fans. But then again, Denilson and Julio Baptista also joined, so, not great.

At least Cygan left, so its all good? RIGHT?!?!


11. Summer 2005

Paul Gilham/GettyImages

Ins: Aleksandr Hleb, Alex Song, Carlos Vela, Vito Mannone

Outs: Patrick Vieira, Jermaine Pennant

It was a fairly quiet summer window in north London, as Arsenal only secured two meaningful signings. Hleb was the top assist maker in the Bundesliga the season prior, and with a distinct lack of creativity in wide areas, Wenger secured a coup in bringing the Belarus international to England.

Song would prove to become a valuable asset over the next few years after been plucked from Corsican anonymity but hardly acted as cover for one of the club's best-ever player's departure.

Patrick Vieira did indeed leave Arsenal after nine wonderful years of service. He should have been kept on, with age still on his side at 29, but Wenger's desire to see Cesc Fabregas grow meant he was sold to Juventus. The resounding issue with this window is that Vieira has simply never been replaced, even 14 years on. 


10. Summer 2002

Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Ins: Gilberto Silva, Pascal Cygan, Guillaume Warmuz

Outs: Richard Wright, Matthew Upson, Alexander Manninger

Having won the league the year before, the summer window proved to be the perfect chance to improve further on an excellent squad and aim for back-to-back league titles. Gilberto Silva joined and would go on to become a firm fan favourite, yet one small issue halted them securing a successive title.

The club signed Pascal Cygan. 

Ultimately, if just a bit more was spent, those five points extra required to win the league that season might have been achievable.


9. Summer 2010

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Ins: Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci, Wellington Silva, Marouane Chamakh, Ryo Miyaichi

Outs: Eduardo, Nacer Barazite

A combination of one decent addition and some substantial mediocrity made this a window to forget for the Emirates faithful. Laurent Koscielny arrived having been plucked from the French unknown and would go on to be a fine servant for the club - until 2019 at least.

On the other side, two of the worst players to don the red and white came through the door in the form of Sebastien Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh. Oh my giddy aunt were those two atrocious. Like, extremely bad.


8. Summer 2004

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Ins: Manuel Almunia, Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Eboue, Mathieu Flamini, Arturo Lupoli


Outs: Francis Jeffers, Jermaine Pennant, Igors Stepanovs, Sylvain Wiltord, Stuart Taylor, David Bentley

Having just arguably sealed the Premier League title in the most impressive manner to date, the 'Invicibles' had a window to build on that unprecedented success and push towards top-flight dominance with a solid summer of transfer dealings.

Almunia - who will forever be etched into Arsenal folklore for all the wrong reasons - was average at best, while Van Persie would go on become one of the league's top strikers and subsequently one of the most hated men in north London. Flamini was solid occasionally and Eboue, well, at least he could dance.

Wiltord wasn't the player he once was so was moved on, while Wenger managed to rid the club of Stepanovs and Jeffers. Actually, on rethink, maybe the best window ever?


7. Summer 2008

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Ins: Aaron Ramsey, Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Mikaël Silvestre, Amaury Bischoff

Outs: Aleksandr Hleb, Justin Hoyte, Gilberto Silva, Philippe Senderos, Mathieu Flamini

The cynics among us will point to the fact that Arsenal signed Silvestre to replace Senderos, which quite frankly is like finishing 20th instead of 19th. Nevertheless, what needs to be evaluated from this window is that Wenger secured three top signings that would prove to be massive hits at the Emirates.

Granted, some of them ended rather sour. However, Nasri and Arshavin had their excellent moments in an Arsenal shirt, while Ramsey will forever be remembered for his winning goals in two FA Cup finals (and also turning down United to join). He'll be sorely missed, but he goes with the vast majority of supporters' best wishes.

Morever, who could forget Arshavin's deadline day move when he delivered a wonderful broken English message to fans: "I am Gooner." Classic.


6. Summer 2017

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Ins: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac

Outs: Yaya Sanogo, Wojciech Szczęsny, Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin

Mixed emotions is the best way to describe this window. Alexandre Lacazette joined from Lyon and has proved to be a major hit in north London, while free signing Sead Kolasinac blows hot and cold - but predominantly cold.

However, the club bid goodbye to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a club-record sale fee of £35m, failing to make the most of his talent and playing him out of position. He joined Liverpool and looks to be star player for them in midfield not sodding right wing-back which Wenger was so adamant at playing him.


5. Summer 2013

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Ins: Mesut Ozil, Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Flamini


Outs: Denilson, Andrey Arshavin, Vito Mannone, Sebastien Squillaci, Andre Santos, Gervinho, Marouane Chamakh


Two words, Mesut Ozil. The German equivalent of marmite.

Unquestionably a world-beater on his day, the only sticking point is 'his day' ended up becoming far too infrequent, particularly towards the latter end of his spell in north London.

Nevertheless, it was a huge statement from the Gunners to sign the Real Madrid midfielder, and his time at the club does bring back some fond memories and outstanding performances.

Gervinho left as well, thankfully, along with a significant amount of deadwood.


4. Summer 2018

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Ins: Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi, Stephan Lichtsteiner

Outs: Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere

While hardly the headline-grabbing signings fans had hoped for, given the state the club was in and their pitiful transfer budget, a few of these players look like being mainstays in the side for the foreseeable future.

Leno looks every bit the club's number one, making vast improvements in his game from when he joined. And with youth on his side, it seems unlikely he will be overthrown any time soon. Torreira was the kind of holding midfielder fans were crying out for, with the level of tenacity and bite that had been sorely missed. 

Sokratis is now the club's number one defender (which isn't saying much because he's not great) and Guendouzi is a diamond in the rough having been plucked from Ligue 2.

We'll brush over Lichtsteiner.


3. Summer 2014

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Ins: Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck, Gabriel, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina, Krystian Bielik

Outs: Thomas Vermaelen, Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel, Thomas Eisfeld

Another top drawer talent made his way through the doors at in 2014 and granted fans with the kind of ability that had deserted the Emirates for a number of years. This time, Alexis Sanchez joined from Barcelona and, while in an Arsenal shirt at least, was one of the finest players in the Premier League on his day.

Vermaelen left for a decent fee of £17m, although some pretty average players joined in response.

Calum Chambers, Gabriel Paulista and Mathieu Debuchy all put pen to paper, while inconsistent duo Danny Welbeck and David Ospina also joined. However, Sanchez did display moments of utter brilliance and was a truly wonderful player in his prime, which is why it pleases Arsenal fans up and down the country to watch him flop so, so badly at United.


2. Summer 2019

FBL-FRA-UNFP-AWARDS

Ins: William Saliba, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz

Outs: Aaron Ramsey, David Ospina, Kystian Bielik, Petr Cech, Danny Welbeck, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Takuma Asano, Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson, Xavier Amaechi, William Saliba, Alex Iwobi

Mark me down as utterly hoodwinked.

With £45m to spend all summer, the lure of Europa League football hardly the most enticing prospect, somehow Arsenal's crackpot team of negotiators - led by the newly crowned Don Raul - broke the club's transfer record,secured two signings ahead of rivals Spurs and assessed the club's defensive issues both short-term and long-term.

The incomings are nothing short of miraculous given the club's bargaining power and financial backing, and at present, it really is a 'pinch me' moment. 

What is even better the amount of money secured over deadwood, Carl Jenkinson for £3m? Please... However, nobody can ever say anything bad about Sanllehi ever again after he somehow wrangled THIRTY EIGHT MILLION BRITISH POUNDS STERLING for ALEX IWOBI. Outstanding summer of business.


1. Summer 2003

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Ins: Philippe Senderos, Jens Lehmann, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy

Outs: Graham Barrett, David Seaman, Oleh Luzhny, Guillaume Warmuz

At first glance it appears a fairly decent window, if not underwhelming. A 16-year-old Barcelona youngster joined, alongside a distinctly average centre half, while a backup left back was brought in to provide cover for Ashley Cole.

No matter which way you look at it, all these signings contributed to the greatest feat in Premier League history (rebuttals welcome) in one way or another.

Jens Lehmann replaced David Seaman and played every minute of every league game without losing a single match. Philippe Senderos didn't even play a single minute but clearly had the greatest banter football has seen and had his team in high spirits the whole campaign. Neither did Fabregas, but he turned out to be a future captain at the club.

When you win the league undefeated, you've succeeded in summer transfer windows.

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