BLOG: ROUNDING UP ARSENAL’S 2016 SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW

The 2016 summer transfer window has been one of monumental, record-breaking change in the football world.

With English clubs now having an unprecedented amount of money due to the Premier League’s lucrative TV deal, total spending for the window is set to reach £1 billion for the first time ever. Thirteen out of the 20 Premier League clubs have broken their transfer record this summer, including Manchester United’s world-record £89 million signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus.

So where do Arsenal fit into all of this?

It’s been a typically testing summer, with the club yet again waiting until later in the window to take care of business and, as a result, leaving the team looking undercooked for the start of the season. Thankfully Arsenal got the required business done in the end, but at the cost of a potential 5 points.

With the window finally shut, here are Arsenal’s notable ins and outs from this summer. The key word here is notable—keep in mind that I’ve only included significant transfers of first team players.

INS

Granit Xhaka, central midfielder, £30m from Borussia Monchengladbach

With all the fuss about how desperately Arsenal needed a striker and a center-back this summer, the signing of Granit Xhaka went under the radar a bit. The Swiss midfielder seems to enjoy pinging diagonal long balls as much as he does charging into a 50-50, obtaining a fascinating blend of tenacity and craft to his play.

The 24-year-old gave a glimpse of what he’s all about against Watford and it already seems like he’ll be a key player for the Gunners this season.

Takuma Asano, striker, £800,000 from Sanfrecce Hiroshima

I can’t pretend to know much about the little-known Japanese striker besides the fact that his name is quite fun to say, but winning the J League’s “Rookie of the Year” award and a pair of goals scored at the Olympics for Japan is certainly promising.

After failing to obtain a work permit to play in England, the 21-year-old will go on loan to Stuttgart for the season. Wenger has said that Asano is “one for the future,” so keep an eye out for him in Germany.

Rob Holding, center back, £2m from Bolton Wanderers

After a baptism of fire in the form of a 4-3 home defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season, Holding has put in some impressive performances alongside Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the Arsenal defense. With an experienced partner next to him, the 20-year-old has settled into Arsenal’s back line with surprising ease, already dealing with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Troy Deeney, and Odion Ighalo.

Considering his age, Holding looks remarkably poised and assured at the back. It’s early days, but £2 million looks like an absolute bargain for the young Englishman. Hats off to Wenger for this one.

Lucas Pérez, striker, £17.1m from Deportivo La CoruñaPerezAFC

While Lucas might not be THE striker Arsenal fans have been craving for years, he’s an exciting signing nonetheless. Not only does he offer the Gunners a much-needed alternative to Olivier Giroud, but his versatility means he can play anywhere across the front line.

Having only just proven himself at hometown club Deportivo La Coruña with a 19-goal season after years of being loaned out, the 27-year-old will be hungry to prove himself on the biggest stage of his career thus far. The Spaniard’s explosive pace and nasty streak have led some to call him “the Galician Jamie Vardy,” but it remains to be seen how he adapts to English football.

Shkodran Mustafi, center back, £35m from Valencia CF

Not only did Arsene Wenger spend more than £30 million on one player this summer, but he did it twice!

£35 million might be a lot for a defender, but it seems like money well spent when you consider the fact that Chelsea spent £32 million to bring back David Luiz after refusing to pay an absurd £60 million for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

At the prime age of 24, Mustafi can be the natural heir to Per Mertesacker as Koscielny’s defensive partner. First, however, he’ll have to get Rob Holding out of the team.

OUTS

Wojciech Szczesny, AS Roma, season-long loan

Arsenal’s Polish keeper will spend a second consecutive season on loan at Roma after making 34 Serie A appearances for the club in 2015-16.

At 26 years of age, Szczesny still appears to lack the professionalism and attitude to succeed at Arsenal as he was yet again caught smoking last season following Roma’s 6-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona. His recent moment of madness in a Champions League qualifier against Porto reminds us that he still hasn’t ironed the propensity to commit costly errors out of his game.

Joel Campbell, Sporting Lisbon, season-long loan

Campbell

The loaning out of Joel Campbell was a move that left a number of fans scratching their heads. During the limited play time that he was given last season, the Costa Rican always worked hard both to create something going forward and to win the ball back in defense, making him an extremely useful squad player.

It turns out that Campbell’s loan move abroad—the 5th in his Arsenal career—came from his desire to play first team football rather than Wenger’s lack of faith in the player. Respect to Campbell for wanting to play more, and let’s hope he does well with Sporting Lisbon.

Calum Chambers, Middlesbrough, season-long loan

It became clear that Chambers had fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates when Wenger picked new signing Rob Holding to start alongside Laurent Koscielny in Arsenal’s last two Premier League matches.

Still just 21, the former Southampton man is extremely young for a center back and still has a long way to go in his career. A loan spell at another Premier League club and the consistent playing time that comes with it should give Arsenal a better sense of where Chambers currently is in his development.

Serge Gnabry, Werder Bremen, undisclosed fee

A transfer that came out of left field, as Gnabry was expected to stay at Arsenal this season and fight for his place after tearing up the Olympics in Rio with six goals for Germany.

Instead, the 21-year-old will ply his trade at Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. It’s a shame to see an exciting youngster depart on a permanent basis, but we wish Gnabry the best as he returns to his homeland.

Jack Wilshere, AFC Bournemouth, season-long loan

Rarely has there been a transfer that made Arsenal fans feel as many emotions as they felt regarding Jack Wilshere’s loan move to AFC Bournemouth. There’s something surreal and slightly sad about seeing the Arsenal midfielder hold up a Bournemouth jersey on deadline day. No disrespect to Bournemouth—an incredible club with a brilliant story—but remember that Wilshere won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2011 (!) and was supposed to be much further down the line in his career by now.

Alas, injuries have taken their toll on the 24-year-old and he now finds himself in need of some serious playing time to get back on his feet and playing to his full potential. It’s a testament to Arsenal’s options in the middle of the park, too, that the club felt the need to loan Wilshere out in order for him to play regularly. After all, he’d have to compete with Mesut Özil, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, and Mohamed Elneny to get into Arsenal’s midfield—that’s quite a tall order.

While it would’ve been great to watch Wilshere break into the Arsenal starting XI, at the end of the day it’s in Wilshere’s best interest to spend a season somewhere he can consistently play Premier League football and get his career back on track.

Best of luck, Jack.

Overall Grade: B+

While Arsenal didn’t get the coveted marquee striker that fans wanted, they did sign a central midfielder and a center back—two key areas that needed strengthening. Granit Xhaka could very well anchor the Gunners’ midfield for years to come, while Shkodran Mustafi is as good of a center back as we could have wished for. The purchase of Rob Holding looks quite clever, too, and Lucas Perez might raise a few eyebrows this season.

Although some of the last-minute loan departures leave the squad a bit lacking in terms of attacking options, most gooners will be satisfied with this transfer window and excited for the season that lies ahead.

Follow me on Twitter: @Gunner_NYC

WILSHERE LOANED TO BOURNEMOUTH

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere has completed his loan move to AFC Bournemouth, the Premier League club has announced, as the midfielder searches for first-team football.

With Arsenal adding new signing Granit Xhaka to the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin this summer, Wilshere’s route to the first team has been complicated further.

The 24-year-old was reportedly loan listed by the Gunners yesterday, as he held talks with both Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, meanwhile Serie A giants AS Roma and A.C. Milan also came in contact with Arsenal regarding a move, Sky Sports News reports.

Despite Roma’s strong interest, the north Londoners are thought to have pushed back the Italians’ offer due to their conduct in an apparent pursuit for Greek defender Kostas Manolas this summer.

Subsequently, both the Gunners and Wilshere agreed to the Englishman’s season-long loan to Bournemouth, which will see the midfielder reunited with ex-Arsenal academy player Benik Afobe, who joined the Cherries last season for £11.3 million in January 2015.

Wilshere made just 14 appearances in an injury-ravaged 2015/16 season, meanwhile the England international has since made two substitute appearances since the start of the new campaign.

MUSTAFI COMPLETES ARSENAL MOVE

Arsenal have confirmed the capture of Valencia centre back Skhodran Mustafi, a deal thought to be in the region of £35 million, as Calum Chambers agrees to join Premier League club Middlesbrough on loan.

The Gunners have been searching for a central defender more openly ever since the injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, with Mustafi identified as the club’s primary target.

Under habitual circumstances, no details of the deal that takes the Germany international to the Emirates Stadium have been disclosed officially by the club as of yet, but outlets such as the Daily Mirror have moved to claim the so-often reported £35 million as his price tag.

Mustafi appeared 64 times in La Liga for Valencia during his two-year-spell in Spain, having joined from Italian club Sampdoria in the summer of 2014 for £6.8 million.

Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger had the following to say about his new signing: “He is at the right age. He has good experience. He is a very focused player who can play with the ball as well. We have taken a great player but have prepared well for the future.”

Mustafi joins the likes of Lucas Pérez, who also signed for the Gunners today, Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, Takuma Asano and Kelechi Nwakali as the sixth signing made by the club this summer, meanwhile Chambers becomes the latest to leave north London in the past hour.

With first-team opportunities now limited further by Mustafi’s arrival, Arsenal have announced the completion of Chambers’ loan deal to newly-promoted Middlesbrough, a move that’ll see the 21-year-old play under Aitor Karanka’s side for the remainder of the season.

ARSENAL LAND LUCAS SIGNING

Arsenal have announced the signing of Deportivo de La Coruña forward Lucas Pérez, with no official word being made by the club on the details of the deal.

As per various reports last week, the Gunners were prepared to pay the Spaniard’s £17.1 million release clause to capture his services, as they beat Everton to the 27-year-old’s signature.

Lucas joins Arsenal on the back of a goal in Deportivo’s opening clash against Eibar in La Liga, whereas he was on target 17 times last season for the Galician outfit.

Arsenal’s latest recruit also matched Bebeto’s 22-year-old club record for goals in consecutive games, finding the back of the net against the likes of Barcelona and Atlético Madrid throughout his run of seven goals in as many games last season.

Gunners boss Arsène Wenger offered his description of the forward, stating: “He’s not only a goalscorer, he’s a guy who combines well with partners, who can give a final ball and makes good runs. He’s got a good eye for goal and had an outstanding season last year.”

The signing of Lucas is widely-expected to be followed by the capture of Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi, meanwhile the likes of Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere and Serge Gnabry all reportedly brace themselves for new surroundings.

ARSENAL CLOSE IN ON DOUBLE SWOOP

Arsenal look set to complete the transfers of Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Pérez from Deportivo de La Coruña, with the two due in for medicals today, according to BBC Sport.

After weeks of to and fro, it appears Arsenal have finally agreed terms with Valencia over Mustafi, as the Gunners prepare to pay up in excess of £35 million for the Germany international.

Deportivo forward Pérez should also follow the World Cup-winning centre back to the Emirates Stadium, despite suggestions in the Spanish press yesterday that Arsenal had failed in a bid to pay the Spaniard’s release clause in two separate instalments.

Pérez will cost the Gunners £17.1 million, the overall price of his release clause, which would take Arsenal’s total spending for this summer close to £100 million.

Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger admitted today in his press conference prior to the away clash versus Watford that the north Londoners are “working on deals” and that he was “99% confident” on their conclusions.

ARSENAL’S LUCAS PÉREZ BID REJECTED

Arsenal’s bid for Deportivo de La Coruña’s Lucas Pérez has been rejected, according to Cadena Ser (via the Daily Mail), as the Gunners join Everton in the race to sign the centre foward.

The north Londoners are believed to have offered to pay Lucas’ £17.1 million release clause in two instalments; an offer deemed as “unnacceptable” by Deportivo who want the complete figure.

Arsenal have thus far missed out on reported targets such as Álvaro Morata, Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette this summer, as the club’s search to bolster their attack continues.

Reports from Marca and El Confidencial today claimed there was “total agreement” between Arsenal and Deportivo on the prospect of Lucas’ sale, with more bold statements revealing a deal will “almost certainly” take place.

BBC Sport understands Arsenal are indeed interested in signing Lucas, meanwhile Everton and Valencia are also in the hunt.

However, the 27-year-old, according to Sky Sports News, is thought to favour Champions League football, as the Spanish press move to place Arsenal as favourites to land him.

As per Spanish paper AS, Lucas holds a great deal of gratitude towards Deportivo, partially responsible for his recent rise to prominence, and the striker will only look to leave the La Liga club for a “big project”.

Everton aren’t thought to be deemed by Lucas and his camp as the talked about “project”, despite talks regarding a move to the Toffees being at a more advanced stage.

Negotiations between Arsenal and the Galician club are still in its initial stages, however.

Lucas hit 17 La Liga goals last season, attracting reported interest from Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and even Barcelona this summer.

CAMPBELL JOINS SPORTING ON LOAN

Arsenal forward Joel Campbell has joined Sporting on a season-long-loan, following confirmation made by both clubs this afternoon.

Campbell, who hasn’t featured in any of Arsenal’s matchday squads in the Premier League this season, arrived in Lisbon over the weekend to complete the deal, with there being no indication as of yet of a buy-option.

Sporting’s reported interest in Campbell, who can also play as a winger, dates back to the 2014 season, with current boss Jorge Jesus, then manager of rivals Benfica, also being associated with a move for the Arsenal man.

In that time, the Costa Rica international has found his path to the Arsenal first team blocked by the likes of Alexis Sánchez, Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott.

Having joined the Gunners back in the summer of 2011 from Saprissa, Campbell was forced to spend three consecutive seasons out on loan to Lorient, Olympiacos and Real Betis, due to work permit issues.

His return to north London was intersected by another loan spell, this time with Villarreal in La Liga during the 2014/15 season, making his most recent adventure with Sporting his fifth loan move since signing for Arsenal.

Campbell did, however, play 30 times for Arsène Wenger’s side last season, as he scored four times in the 2015/16 season.

MUSTAFI AGREES TO JOIN ARSENAL

The agent of Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi, Ali Bulut, has confirmed to the German press that the defender has agreed a deal in principle to join Arsenal, although the Gunners are yet to make an official bid for the player.

Bulut, in an interview given to German website Spox, revealed that Mustafi has agreed to join the north London club, currently without defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista for a long period of time.

Mustafi’s compatriot will be sidelined for up to four months, whereas Gabriel will be out of action for half of that period to leave Arsenal’s defence depleted versus Liverpool for their opening game of the Premier League season.

The start of the season comes too soon for Mustafi’s deal and the player is yet to sign anything official, but the defender’s agent does add that “it now just remains for the teams to come to an agreement over the fee,” with Sky Germany having a similar scoop of the story.

Valencia are thought to value the Germany international at €30 million, despite a €50 million release clause, and are currently under pressure to adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

ARSENAL BID €41M FOR MAHREZ

Arsenal have made an offer worth €41 million for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, L’Equipe claims, as the winger prepares to force his way out of the club.

Sky Sports News, via their sources, earlier denied an offer of £30 million being made by Arsenal, thus far the only recognised offer for Mahrez to be reported in France of late.

However, L’Equipe have now placed Mahrez back on Arsenal’s radar in today’s edition of their publication, claiming that the Gunners have launched a fresh bid in the region of €41 million (£35.2 million) in hope of landing the 25-year-old.

Initial information suggests Leicester, most recently linked with a £23 million move for Santos forward Gabriel Barbosa, feel they have little time left in the transfer market to sign an eventual replacement, hence their refusal.

Mahrez, who’s so far rejected a new deal to keep him at the King Power Stadium, is believed to have been very accepting of those circumstances in a meeting with Leicester’s director of football, Jon Rudkin, but the winger’s mood is now rumoured to have changed.

L’Equipe believe Mahrez is willing to clash with the Foxes in order to join a team of Arsenal’s stature, whereas RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi has echoed reports on the Leicester man’s wishes to move to a bigger club.

ARSENAL HIT BY LYON PRICE HIKE

Olympique Lyonnais striker and Arsenal target Alexandre Lacazette looks increasingly likely to stay with the Ligue 1 club after he was revalued him at £60 million, according to the Telegraph.

The Gunners came in with a bid of £29 million, as confirmed by the French club last month, in an attempt to lure Lacazette away from Lyon, but saw that offer turned down.

Lyon, whose message had always been that the 25-year-old would stay with the club, had initially set Lacazette’s asking price at £42.8 million, as Arsenal prepared to come back with an improved offer.

The likelihood of that happening now appears to have been shot down, however, as ‘Les Gones’ increase their valuation of the striker to £60 million.

Lyon are under no pressure to sell one of their prized assets, having already sold Samuel Umtiti to Barcelona for £21 million this summer.

Some of that cash may now be utilised by the club to offer Lacazette a new contract, as reported by the Evening Standard yesterday, making the Frenchman the best-paid player in Lyon’s history.