Both Arsenal and Mikel Arteta came under fire from fans as the summer 2021/2022 transfer window drew to a close and the club were bottom of the Premier League table after the first three games. Last season certainly wasn’t the football club’s best and saw the team fail to qualify for any European competition for the first time in 25 years – even Spurs qualified for the new Conference League! Disappointment ripped through the team’s dedicated fan base as this shock loss kicked the team out of the league, potentially damaging the club’s ability to attract new players for the season ahead. As the summer transfer window opened, all eyes were on Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, as deals and transfers commenced.
The first game of the season between Brentford and Arsenal highlighted just how far the team has declined in recent years with Brentford coach Thomas Frank, revealing that he would have been “disappointed” if his team did not win on the day. It seems that rival England teams now view Arsenal as an underwhelming team to play, thus making Mikel Arteta’s job very clear moving forward. Although new players won’t single-handedly fix the problems Arsenal is experiencing, they’ll certainly go some way towards strengthening and uniting a somewhat fractured team. Arsenal have shown improvements since their torrid start of three losses in three games without scoring, and their new signings are starting to show some promise – Martin Odegaard scored his first goal since his permanent move to the Emirates and Ben White is seeing more game time.
As you might imagine, betting odds for teams like Arsenal are always changing. However currently, Arsenal have odds of 10/1 of finishing in the top four according to Gambling Deals. Finishing in the Champions League places would be a huge step forward for Arteta’s men, but the strength in depth champions Manchester City, European champions Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have could make that a tough prospect.
However, qualifying for the Europa League would still be a sign of progress after last year’s eighth-place finish, which Arsenal are 2/1 on to achieve.
Fixing Arsenals Issues Isn’t A Quick Thing
Arsenal’s manager has invested in a young group of players following the conclusion of the Euros, saying: “we really need them, and this group of players really needs them, and the club needs them next to us because we need that confidence, that support, and that energy.”
The newest members of the team are Nuno Tavares (Benfica), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht), Mika Biereth (Fulham), Ben White (Brighton), Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna) and Aaron Ramsdale (Sheff Utd).
Odegaard did well on loan at Arsenal last season, and has continued his form with an excellent free-kick to secure a win away at Burnley in the most recent round of Premier League fixtures. White will provide some security to a backline that faltered often last year, and his range of passing has already impressed Arsenal fans this year.
Deadline day signing Tomiyasu was dropped straight into the side for his debut against Norwich and has impressed in both Premier League starts so far. Capable of playing right back and centre back, the Japanese international’s versatility could prove very useful for the Gunners.
The Long-Term Future
Although investing in these young players will be beneficial to the club in the long run, it’ll take time for the newly formed squad to become harmonious. Quite a few supporters seem to believe that Mikel made poor choices by introducing these younger high profile players, suggesting that the pressure on them to immediately improve the club will be overwhelming. But there is at least an obvious plan by the club moving forward to invest in young talent, and build around Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, who look set for bright futures.
Saka in particular was the lone bright spot in an otherwise desperate season for the Gunners last year, showing incredible talent and maturity that it can be hard to remember he’s only just turned 20 years of age.
The only really meaningful sale that the club made in the transfer window in terms of incoming transfer fees is Joe Willock, who joined Newcastle in a deal that netted Arsenal £25m. They managed to offload the enormous wages being paid to Willian by terminating his contract, and otherwise, William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi, Hector Bellerin, Runar Alex Runarsson, Reiss Nelson, Lucas Torreira and Konstantinos Mavropanos all left the club on a loan basis, alongside several of the under-23s squad.
What Do Arsenal Fans Have To Say?
The fan base strongly feels that Arsenal currently has plenty of players who could, or maybe even should, move on. Despite a large influx of incomings, there are still some players left at the club whose futures are in doubt.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles took to Instagram during the summer to make his feelings about wanting a move away public and Alexandre Lacazette has a hefty price tag attached to his name that fans feel he has failed to live up to. Even despite his poor performance and missing the start of the season due to illness, Barcelona still seem to be keeping a close eye on him.
Bernd Leno has already seemingly lost his place as the team’s starting goalkeeper to summer signing Aaron Ramsdale and it seems unlikely that he will stay after this year, and Saed Kolasinac seems surplus to requirements.
Despite this group of young, energetic squad members, Mikel Arteta still warns that there may be disappointment for fans ahead. He noted that people are expecting instant success and nothing less, however he warns that it takes time to fully prime the team for any of the matches they play going forward. Speaking on Arsenal.com, he assured fans that the team is now primed to grow together into a unit that can go far and get to good places in the future.
Some fans disagree with the decision to solely invest in players they believe will be future stars for the club. This team cannot be fixed in just one transfer window, and the process will take time. If they can get a good result against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the upcoming North London Derby, which according to Gambling Deals they are favoured to win with 7/5 odds, Arsenal fans can begin to look forward to a more positive season than the last.