During this window alone, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta waved goodbye to three first-team players for a grand total of nothing, as their contracts were terminated – players the club had invested millions into.
Shkodran Mustafi, Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos all departed for pastures new, and for free, with the players’ transfer fees totting up to £93m.
A tweet from Swiss Ramble highlighted the true extent of this questionable recruitment, with shocking figures dating back 10 years.
The likes of Danny Welbeck, Lucas Perez, Mathieu Debuchy and Petr Cech have all come and gone for Arsenal, leaving between £18m and £10m losses on the transfer fee alone each in their wake – I’ll let you be the judge of that value.
Alexis Sanchez was purchased from Barcelona for £38m and swapped with Manchester United after four years of service for Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryn – who was then sold to Roma for nothing.
Of the 38 players who the North London club let go in that period, 26 of them resulted in losses.
In total, the club paid £379.3m for players and received a return of £143.7m. Yes, that is a £235.m loss.
Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, who is considered to be in charge of transfers, has recently spoke to The Athletic, saying: “Mikel has to be involved in recruitment, he must. We talk about what we need, the characteristics of the players, the system we’re going to play and then I start the process internally.
“That’s my role. If he has names, if he advises or wants advice on players, that’s fine.
“If he wants to talk to the other guys (like scouts) of course he will talk to them, but normally that’s my process.
“That’s why the relationship between us needs to be very strong. I have to understand his points and he has to understand the club’s points. Then we build everything together — that’s the main point.”
While there can be no doubt that The Gunners received value in performances from a lot of other players included, like Per Mertesacker who cost just £10m or Santi Cazorla at £17m, serious questions have to be asked about the lackadaisical spending and lack of return.
Do Stan Kroenke’s club need to be more prudent with their money, or less reluctant to cash in on a player investment when given the opportunity?