Ranking every Arsenal January signing of the past 10 years from worst to best

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are beginning to prove their many doubters wrong this season.

Swathes of pundits and fans scoffed at the £100million-plus the Gunners splashed on young unproven talent before the start of the season, but they have all been left to rue their words.

After two years of drifting between brilliant and stale football, Arteta’s Arsenal is finally taking shape – through his philosophy, his coaching and his players.

The north Londoners sit fourth in the Premier League going into Boxing Day for the first time since 2016, though January additions to central-midfield and the forward line would certainly bolster their chances of securing a Champions League place come May.

Arteta has played coy when asked whether he will add players in the upcoming transfer window, with previous years providing a mixed bag to say the least when it comes to the quality of January signings.

Daily Star Sport ranks the effectiveness of all 17 players who Arsenal have signed in January over the past decade below.

17 – Cohen Bramall

One of the most obscure Arsenal signings of all-time is undoubtedly Cohen Bramall, with the Gunners bringing in the youngster from non-league Hednesford Town as a left-back in 2017.

He was likely signed as a long-term replacement for the departing Kieran Gibbs but unfortunately for the Englishman, he failed to impress enough to warrant a single Premier League appearance.

Bramall currently plays for League One side Lincoln City, who he joined midway through the 2020/21 season.

16 – Wellington Silva

Wellington Silva was a promising winger signed from Fluminese for £3million back in 2011.

However, the Brazilian’s north London career was immediately struck by complications regarding his work visa which saw him loaned out to Levante in Spain.

He was loaned out an additional five times without ever making a senior appearance until he finally re-joined Fluminese in 2016

15 – Thomas Eisfeld

The German playmaker was compared to highly-rated star Mario Gotze when Arsenal snatched him from Borussia Dortmund in 2012.

But he couldn’t adjust to English football and, following an unsuccessful spell at Fulham in 2014, was finally sold to VFL Bochum in the German second tier.

14 – Ryo Miyaichi

The Japanese winger’s pace and talent immediately drew comparisons with Theo Walcott as soon as Arsenal signed him in 2011.

Unfortunately for Miyaichi, he never did enough to warrant a start for the north Londoners in his four seasons at the club.

His singular league appearance in the 2013/14 campaign puts him just ahead of those below him on the list.

13 – Denis Suarez

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Unai Emery’s tenure brought some strange additions to the side but loanee Denis Suarez in the 2019 January window was perhaps the worst of the lot.

Arsenal fans would have been forgiven for thinking a central-midfielder from Barcelona would have brought some much needed creativity, but the Spaniard only made four league appearances.

Suarez’s Arsenal spell will be best remembered for woeful cameos and constant injuries.

12 – Krystian Bielik

The 6’2 Pole was tipped to become the Gunners’ next Patrick Vieira when he was signed in 2015 but never made a first team appearance for the club.

After being pushed back into defence, Bielik impressed during his loan spell at Charlton before being sold in 2019 to Derby County.

On the plus side, Arsenal made £10million from his sale after picking him up for just £2.4million from Legia Warsaw.

11 – Konstantinos Mavropanos

Just about edging Bielik is another defender who has failed to make an impact at the Emirates.

While still officially an Arsenal player, Konstantinos Mavropanos has made just seven league appearances for the side since joining in 2018.

The 24-year-old has suffered from a number of injuries and looks set to depart following his loan spell at Stuttgart at the end of the season.

10 – Mat Ryan

Aussie goalkeeper Mat Ryan joined boyhood club Arsenal on loan from Brighton in January 2021.

Ryan made three appearances but was actually picked ahead of first-choice keeper Bernd Leno on two occasions.

He left at the end of the season having kept one clean sheet, but remains well-liked by fans due to his interactions with current players on social media.

9 – Omar Rekik

Arsenal signed highly-rated teenager Omar Rekik for less than £1million in January this year.

Now 20, the 6’1 Rekik has continued his development for the Arsenal u23s as he eyes a potential first-team breakthrough.

The former Hertha Berlin youngster looks set for a bright career and has already made an appearance for the Tunisia national team.

8 – Kim Kallstrom

“Dare to Kim” was the sarcastic mantra as Arsenal signed the ageing Swede midway through the 2013/14 season – a play on the “Dare to Zlatan” tagline made famous by compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Arsenal were on course to win the league that season with Kallstrom being brought in to add depth to an increasing list of injuries.

But Kallstrom infamously arrived injured himself and only played four times as the Gunners fell away from the title race.

His only major contribution in a red and white shirt was his penalty in the FA Cup semi-final shootout against Wigan, before the Gunners went on to win the competition and end a lengthy trophy drought.

7 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was brought to Arsenal as part of the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez move to Old Trafford in 2018.

Despite showing glimpses of his quality, Mkhitaryan continued to struggle with the pace and physicality of the Premier League as he had done for Manchester United.

He was eventually sold to Roma in 2020 with his most iconic moment in red and white arguably coming during the official announcement of another January signing…

6 – Gabriel Paulista

Brazilian Gabriel Paulista was fiery, aggressive and hard in the tackle, leading to comparisons with Arsenal legend Martin Keown.

Gabriel sometimes veered towards carelessness with the defender prone to making rash decisions, but he ended up with a respectable 64 appearances for the Gunners after signing for around £11million in 2015.

He left for Valencia in 2017 where he became a regular for the next four seasons, winning a Copa del Rey in the process.

5 – Mohamed Elneny

Six years after signing for Arsenal, Mohamed Elneny’s £5million transfer from Basel appears a bargain despite the midfielder never becoming a nailed-on starter.

It is fair to say the Egyptian is not the most exciting nor talented midfielder to have graced the Emirates but he has been a reliable servant to all four managers he has played under.

Elneny is extremely difficult to dispossess and keeps things ticking when Arteta needs the midfield to keep possession for long durations.

4 – Thierry Henry

Perhaps the only time that ‘The King’ won’t finish number-1 on an Arsenal list.

Henry returned to the club where he became arguably the greatest Premier League player ever in 2012 to help out Arsene Wenger’s struggling side as a loanee.

As if his presence wasn’t enough, the Frenchman, sporting a new number and beard, scored a spine-chilling winner against Leeds in the FA Cup and extended his Arsenal record with a goal in the league against Sunderland.

3 – Martin Odegaard

Former Real Madrid wonder-kid Martin Odegaard was brought in during the January window last season while the Gunners were desperate for creativity in midfield.

He enjoyed a steady start to his career in English football as a loanee with his excellent technique and passing being standout attributeS, but has only just begun to show what he is capable of this season.

Arteta clearly saw something special in the Norwegian to splash £30million on a permanent transfer in the summer and if Odegaard’s recent performances are anything to go by, the 23-year-old could easily top this list in the next few years.

2 – Nacho Monreal

Opposition fans will be surprised to see the Spaniard so high on the list but the Gunners faithful will remember just how reliable and consistent Nacho Monreal was in his six-and-a-half seasons with the club.

Monreal signed for around £8.5million back in 2013 and left his mark in north London by winning three FA Cups, all while proving his versatility across the backline and scoring big goals.

He will go down as the best Arsenal left-back in the Emirates era, though Scotsman Kieran Tierney is already making a strong case to be no.1.

1 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabonese striker’s form over the past two seasons should not detract from what a phenomenal signing he has been for the Gunners.

It is rare for any side to secure a world class player in January, let alone a struggling Arsenal back in 2018, when Aubameyang was bought from Dortmund for a then-club record fee of £56million and immediately began tormenting defences.

He reached 50 Premier League goals for the Gunners faster than Henry and won an FA Cup as captain in Arteta’s first season in charge.

While his form has certainly deteriorated, Aubameyang undoubtedly remains the Gunners’ greatest January signing of the decade.

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