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Arsenal steady ship after losing Sanchez, Giroud

Zeeshan Ali
SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
1.04K   //    06 Feb 2018, 18:23 IST

Mesut Ozil finally signs a £350,000-a-week contract extension making him Arsenal's main man.
Mesut Ozil finally signs a £350,000-a-week contract extension making him Arsenal's main man

Arsenal have had the most unsettling transfer window in recent memory, but they might have managed to steady the ship by bringing in star signings to bolster their attack. Following the departure of a couple of mainstays in the North London club's roster, coupled with the exit of their talisman goalscorer Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal were looking a little dreary. But overall, they can be content with the business they've done in January.


Arsenal's transfer woes from the years gone by

Arsenal losing their core players is nothing new to the Emirates faithful, with Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie all moving onto clubs where they hoped to win competitions in which the challenge posed by the Gunners seemed to inevitably peter out, season after season.

Often these departures turned into transfer sagas that refused to go away, drawing attention away from the pitch and onto the owners, the management and the lack of loyalty perceived by the fans, on the part of the players,

Almost all of whom started attracting the interest of the so-called bigger clubs in Europe, solely as a result of the backing of Arsene Wenger at a very young age (something hardly any other club or manager was willing to do in the early Premier League era). Consequently, Arsenal were dubbed a "selling club".


Sanchez, Ozil looked to move on

When murmurs of discontent in the Sanchez camp made it's way to the back pages of the dailies, midway through last season, Arsenal fans prepared themselves for the inevitable. When Mesut Ozil jumped onto the bandwagon, an all too familiar sinking feeling hit the atmosphere surrounding the Emirates Stadium.

Almost a year on, Sanchez made the call to drop the idea of rejoining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and opted for a more lucrative offer from the red side of Manchester which would see him pocketing up to a whopping, half a million pounds each week, making him the highest paid player for United ahead of Paul Pogba and David de Gea.

But this meant that the German no.11 for Arsenal was out of potential suitors with Jose Mourinho initially keen to reunite with the world cup winner following a stint together at Madrid, when Sanchez was widely believed to be headed to Etihad.


Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang signs, Ozil extends stay

With interest cooling for the playmaker, Ozil was forced to reconsider his future in North London and eventually put pen to paper on a £350,000-a-week contract extension, committing himself to the club till 2021, but not before the management made their intent clear by signing two top quality players who linked up to devastating effect for Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Enter, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang!

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League
Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang both started for Arsenal against Everton as they blew away the toffees 5-1

Wenger managed to prize away Mkhitaryan in a straight swap for Sanchez with the Red Devils. The former United man is a player that the Arsenal manager has long been an admirer of, and the fact that Sanchez had only months left to run on his contract, decided to bring the attacking midfielder in, after he had fallen out of favour with the Portugese at the helm of affairs at Old Trafford.

The signing of Mkhitaryan took on added importance after Arsenal managed to finally land his former Dortmund teammate, Aubameyang after months on unending speculation. Once Michy Batshuayi was made available to the German outfit by Chelsea, Arsenal had their man.

A price tag of £56 million seemed like a bargain in the current transfer frenzy atmosphere, with defenders fetching upwards of what Aubameyang cost the Gunners, with Aymeric Laporte joining City for £57 million and Virgil van Dijk going to Anfield for a scarcely believable £75 million.

With the pacy forward only still 28, the Gunners will be hoping that the best is yet to come from the Gabon international, a scary thought for their rivals considering he's already scored 141 goals in just 213 appearance for Dortmund.

Wenger on multiple occasions, stated that Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are expected to sign any decent offer put in front of them and despite having nothing concrete to back that along with only a mild lingering heartburn following the manner of Sanchez's departure, the mood around the football club was one of optimism.


Giroud moves to arch rivals Chelsea

That was till late on transfer deadline day, Arsene Wenger broke Arsenal hearts, when he opened the door for Olivier Giroud, to cross over to the other side of London, and into the welcoming arms of Antonio Conte and Premier League Champions, in search of first team football, with one eye on the World Cup in Russia.


Swansea City v Arsenal - Premier League
Olivier Giroud played his final match for the Gunners in the 3-1 defeat to Swansea

Wenger was full of praise for the centurion goal scorer and appreciated his work ethic. The manager also acknowledged that the striker's character and determination made it impossible for the club to not let him get his wish to stay in London, with his wife having just given birth to their third child.

Giroud was always seen as a back up striker, and the recent signings of Lacazette and Aubameyang sent him a strong signal that he was not going to reclaim the starting centre forward position in the red for Arsenal.

The outpouring of grief from the fans for the French forward was as unexpected as it was gratifying. So much so that fans almost forgot that Francis Coquelin had also been sold to Valencia and Arsenal's No.14 after Henry, Theo Walcott had also departed after 12 long years with the Gunners.

Giroud's departure struck a chord with the fans, raising him to nearly a cult status in the Arsenal folklore, surprising considering he was ridiculed for most of his time at the Emirates by the very same people, and opted to move to Stamford Bridge. Maybe it was a sense of loyalty and commitment along with his uncanny ability to score important goals that won over the faithful. A desire to stay and fight for the club badge is something Arsenal fans desperately crave for from their stars.

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Zeeshan Ali
SENIOR ANALYST
"Played 38, Won 26, Drawn 12, Lost exactly none!"
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