Arsenal

Arsenal new boys prove transfer patience is a virtue after early panic

Max Cooper
A huge victory for Arsenal
A huge victory for Arsenal / MB Media/GettyImages
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On August 28, Arsenal's season was officially declared dead at the scene.

The Gunners had just lost 5-0 to Manchester City, seen Granit Xhaka perform his usual anti-heroics by collecting a mental first-half red card, and were buried bottom of the Premier League table with three defeats from three games, zero goals scored and nine conceded.

Mikel Arteta was the most hated man in north London, and Gooners were ready to chase him out of the capital city after wasting £142m on a collection of absolutely useless dross signings. The future had never been darker.

Fortunately, the latter of those crimes has turned out to be a falsity - as foreseen by very few (other than this particular writer), even when heads were being lost all over the country.

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Two months later, the Gunners are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions, sit sixth in the table (only outside of the Champions League places on goal difference), and have even progressed into the latter stages of the Carabao Cup.

Almost half of the Arsenal team which took to the field in the 2-0 victory over Leicester City on Saturday consisted of their new summer signings, and what we witnessed was a group of players finally finding their feet in a new and complicated environment.

It's never easy to breeze straight in at a new club and hit the ground running at the same levels that convinced them to fork out massive money for your services, as Ben White proved on his nightmare debut in the 2-0 defeat to Brentford.

But he, along with his fellow recruits, have won the Gooners over with their committed and impressive displays. Hell, White is still a fan favourite even after admitting he doesn't watch football and doesn't know much about Patrick Vieira's glorious spell at Highbury.

Ben White
Leading the charge / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Rightly, that off-field preference has absolutely no bearing over on-field performances, and supporters have been able to look past the media noise and see their season for what it really is: an actual transitional year - and a promising one, too.

Not one of these transitions that is followed up by another transitional transfer window 12 months later - but a proper set of building blocks to lay down on a carefully built foundation. Four of Arsenal's back five were signed in the summer, and they are all clearly huge upgrades on their predecessors.

Aaron Ramsdale is having the last laugh over his big-money move from Bournemouth, after the Gunners' decision to splash around £25m on a goalkeeper that had been relegated twice in the past two campaigns left onlookers in fits of giggles.

The new number one performed legitimate miracles on Saturday afternoon, culminating in one of the best individual stops we've ever seen, and then turning away the rebound to transform it into an unthinkable double save.

Ramsdale has never looked more at ease, and Arsenal finally seem to have found someone who revels in the pressures of playing for a top club. His calmness is spreading throughout the backline, too.

White has grown in stature over the past month, and Gooners are witnessing the form that bagged him a spot in the England setup at Euro 2020 off the back of a stellar season with Brighton. Takehiro Tomiyasu has nailed down that right-back slot, and Nuno Tavares shone when handed his chance against the Foxes.

In midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga competed against some of the finest opponents that the Premier League has to offer and more than held his own. And then off the bench came Martin Odegaard, another insane talent at Arteta's disposal.

That's not even mentioning the jewels in Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka, whom they have tied down to new long-term contracts. Keeping players who love the club and want to pull on the jersey is essential, and not only that, they've managed to purchase stars who buy into that philosophy, too.

So, it's probably time to admit that Arsenal's recruitment staff know a bit more than the banterous Twitter accounts that rack up likes and retweets with, "Man spent £Xm on this fraud *crying face emoji*."

Shocking, right?

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