Mikel Arteta found himself busy in this January transfer window as the Arsenal manager started the window by letting go of Mesut Ozil.
After letting go of Ozil and sending him to Fenerbahce in Turkey, Arteta brought in young playmaker – Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan. This happened to be the start of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal clean up programme as he had sworn to get rid of all the toxicity in the club with insiders leaking information about the club.
He recently claimed to have found those responsible and although he did not mention names, with players exiting after not receiving any playtime, there are many who are guessing who the culprits were.
At the start of transfer deadline day, the Gunners loaned out two of their U23 players – Matt Smith and Zech Medley to Charlton Athletic and Kilmarnock, respectively. ‘
German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi was released by terminating his contract, and sent to FC Schalke, much like their former left-back – Sead Kolasinac.
Another slightly surprising loan was that of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who has been sent on loan to Premier League relegation-battling West Bromwich Albion. Maitland-Niles seemed to be unhappy playing out of position and that led to some issues with Arteta and we have not seen him get many minutes since then.
Joe Willock has also left the club to join Newcastle United as he was seeking more first-team football.
Although Arsenal did not make any signings, they did enquire about Barcelona’s left-back, Junior Firpo, however, given that a Premier League team cannot have more than 17 international players, they could not make a move without selling/releasing another foreign player.
Arteta’s clean-up programme
Things were very negative both, on and off the pitch for the Gunners. There was a lot of flak that manager, Mikel Arteta was receiving as Arsenal were in 16th in the Premier League table, around 6 weeks back.
Things have drastically changed since. The Gunners are on a 7-match unbeaten run and now look like a potential top-4 side. However, it all seems to have begun with the ousting of Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos who has returned to his home country, Greece to play for giants – Olympiacos.
Young French central defender – William Saliba, is enjoying his time at Nice where he is getting regular first-team football and Arteta hopes that this loan spell will elevate his game to the next level.
Another strong signing, although a loan, was Australian goalkeeper – Matt Ryan from Brighton and Hove Albion. Ryan will be a trusted deputy to first-choice German goalkeeper Bernd Leno. It was evident that the Gunners could not trust any of their current goalkeepers to succeed the German international in case of injury or rest.
All in all, Arsenal have done good business and the team looks like a much better side now, with a nice atmosphere and players who want to play for the North London side. Lacazette seems to have found his feet and the side has one of the best young footballers in Bukayo Saka.
Once captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returns, the Gunners will get back their goal threat with the Gabonese star playing alongside Frenchman Alex Lacazette.
Arteta’s philosophy is slowly but surely taking shape. These could be exciting times for the Gooners.