Arsenal Transfers: Rating the Effectiveness of Last Year's Late-Summer Signings

Elliott Binks@https://twitter.com/elliottbinks92Senior Writer IIIAugust 23, 2012

Arsenal Transfers: Rating the Effectiveness of Last Year's Late-Summer Signings

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    After the catastrophic 8-2 defeat to rivals Manchester United, Arsenal was in a perilous position at the start of last season.

    The Old Trafford massacre prompted Arsene Wenger to return to the transfer market, which resulted in a flurry of panic buys in a bid to fortify the squad for the upcoming campaign.

    With the 2012 window almost closed, it is almost exactly a year since the five last-gasp signings were sanctioned; but what impact have the players had at the club so far?

    Were the transfers really just knee-jerk reactions, or were they a wise and justified move on Wenger's part?

    This article analyzes how effective the new faces were in their debut season.

    Note: the list does not include Gervinho, Carl Jenkinson or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they were all signed by the club before the defeat to Manchester United, thus they were not a part of the five late summer signings that Wenger made.

Park Chu Young

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    The South Korean arrived from Monaco as a largely unknown quantity. Though highly rated in his homeland, Park Chu Young has yet to produce his best form for the Gunners.

    Restricted largely to a handful of League Cup appearances, he did manage to score a quite sumptuous winner against Bolton in the fourth round, with a finish reminiscent of club legend Thierry Henry.

    But despite his goal, he continued to fulfill a bit-part role within the team.

    And after surrendering his No. 9 shirt to the incoming Lukas Podolski, it seems unlikely that he will have much more of an impact this time out than he did last term. 

    Verdict: Probably the least impactful of the five signings due to his limited playing time.

Andre Santos

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    With Bacary Sagna rampaging down the right, adding an even more attack-minded threat to the left side was music to many fans’ ears.

    But unlike the Frenchman, Andre Santos doesn’t quite seem to appreciate the importance of defending. He often found himself caught out when going forward last season.

    Though he weighed in with a few goals, he remains prone to the odd defensive mishap and thus appears to be nothing more than an understudy to the more reliable Kieran Gibbs.

    One thing he does offer though is squad depth, an asset that could be even more crucial considering Gibbs’ susceptibility to injury. 

    Verdict: Contributed well in attack but a lack of defensive discipline lessened his effectiveness.

Yossi Benayoun

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    Yossi Benayoun is another questionable signing, largely because he joined on loan from rivals Chelsea, having been deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

    But the Israeli playmaker soon set about proving his worth. He scored key goals in the draw with Norwich and the win over West Brom, as well as an 87th-minute winner against Aston Villa.

    Thus, one could argue that without Benayoun’s contribution last term, Arsenal would not be playing in the Champions’ League this season.

    A permanent transfer never materialised, but the fact that he captained the side in the League Cup quarter final against Manchester City is proof of the mark that he made in his short time at the Emirates Stadium. 

    Verdict: Performed well despite not featuring regularly; a tidy piece of business from Wenger.

Per Mertesacker

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    The towering German’s big move from Werder Bremen looked particularly promising; his vast experience was something that the Arsenal defence sorely needed.

    But Per Mertesacker's time with the Gunners didn’t get off to the greatest of starts and he took a while to properly settle in.

    Often finding his lack of pace exploited, he appeared uncomfortable with the style of the English game, although Mertesacker himself blamed the lack of a Winter break for his below-par form.

    Nonetheless, such excuses cannot be used forever and he will have to adjust to the physical demands of the Premier League fairly soon if he wishes to be a success. Having completed his first pre-season programme with the club, perhaps he will now be more prepared for the challenge.

    Verdict: Not as effective as one may have hoped, but he has the opportunity to rectify that.

Mikel Arteta

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    Of the five late summer signings that Wenger made 12 months ago, the acquisition of Mikel Arteta was the best of the bunch.

    Though not at the same level as Cesc Fabregas, Arteta’s experience and composure in the centre of the park helped to soften the blow of his fellow countryman’s departure.

    Whether operating in the final third or in a deeper-lying role, the former Everton captain helped to steady the ship and secure the Gunners a 16th consecutive season of Champions’ League football.

    He was instrumental in the club's resurgent run of seven successive wins through February and March. His personal highlights of the season included scoring a 30-yard free kick in the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa and his splendid late winner against Manchester City.

    Verdict: A great singing from Wenger, and one of the key figures in Arsenal’s season.

Conclusion

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    Arsene Wenger's signings produced a rather mixed bag of results.

    While the likes of Park Chu Young and Andre Santos may not have been as effective as many fans would have hoped, the contributions of Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta were crucial.

    And with plenty of more time for the others to improve, they could go on to play an important role at Arsenal football club.

    Perhaps some of the transfers were slightly rushed, which is understandable considering the circumstances the club was in at the time, but Arsenal did of course manage to secure 3rd place—a great achievement for the team considering the predicament they had been in after the first few games.

    Surely such success speaks volumes of the players' performances?

    As far as I can see, it was a job well done from Wenger and company.

    But how do you think they performed? Don't forget to comment below with your thoughts and opinions.