When the dust had settled, (or in this case given the season), snow had settled on the January transfer window, Arsenal fans offered a cursory glance at the one signing made by Arsene Wenger and voiced a collective and often indignant:
Thomas Eisfeld didn't have the carrying power of a Clint Dempsey, Lukasz Podoslki, Mario Goetze (another Dortmund player) or any of the raft of players linked—often falsely—to the Emirates during the mad rush of transfer season, but he did have something most Arsenal newcomers possess in spades: talent.
Yet fans were reluctant about this signing. The Borussia Dortmund youth team product had not featured for the the senior side in 2011-12, and he had a past maligned by a nasty ACL tear and most recently, a groin problem he had dealt with this season.
Just 19, though he is incorrectly listed as 24 on Soccernet, Eisfeld nevertheless caught the eye of Arsene Wenger, who brought the midfielder into London in the dying embers of the transfer window, eventually signing him for a fee believed to cost around £600,000 after subjecting him to rigorous medical tests to determine his fitness.
Donning the iconic No. 10 (nothing to live up to there, Herr Eisfeld, the youngster started in midfield and wasted little time integrating himself with his quick feet, vision, impressive technique and precise distribution.
In a game the Gunners would win 2-0, Eisfeld was behind the build-up to the first goal. Showing a propensity to get forward in attack, he collected a deft pass from German compatriot Serge Gnabry and fired a side-footed effort at Swans keeper Jose Moreira, whose deflected save fell into the path of an onrushing Zak Ansah, who coolly finished from close range.
Eisfeld was substituted at halftime, but during his time on the pitch he earned good reviews. According to reserves manager Neil Banfield, the German teenager suffered a "knock" on his knee during the first half, and was subbed off as a precautionary measure.
Banfield offered this appraisal of his newest charge's performance:
"I am delighted with young Thomas. He was a little bit nervous as he doesn't know anybody, but he has settled in great. At half time we decided to take him off - he got a little knock on his knee, so there was no need to take any chances. He had a good 45-minute run out."
Arsenal's reserves have not played since, and their next match comes on the 14th at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers.