(Update 11:00a.m.): In the final hour of the European transfer window, Arsenal completed two moves that had hung in the balance during the course of Wednesday. Arsenal signed Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta from Everton on a four year deal, adding some strength to a midfield which had yet to be bolstered this transfer window.
Arteta admitted his desire to play in the Champions League drew him to the club. "It is a big challenge, a different challenge, fresh for me and I want to see myself on the biggest stage, the Champions League,” he told Everton’s website. Arsenal also snagged Israeli captain and former Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun on a one-year loan.
The English transfer window ends at 6 p.m., and several teams are scrambling to negotiate deals and strengthen their rosters as the English Premier League season gets undeway in earnest.
One team under serious pressure to strengthen its roster is Arsenal, which was drubbed, 8-2, by Manchester United on Sunday in one of the most embarrassing losses by the club in recent memory (Arsenal had not conceded eight goals since 1896).
Arsenal had lost two key midfield playmakers to the transfer market earlier, sending Cesc Fabregas, arguably the face of the club and most valuable player, to Barcelona for potentially $57 million after all fees are tallied. The team also sent French playmaker Samir Nasir to Manchester City as well as defender Gael Clichy, leaving some analysts questioning how the team could compete with giants Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City without any big-name signings.
After the Manchester United loss, Coach Arsene Wenger and the club must have felt the heat, because the club agreed to refund their fans’ ticket costs for the loss by buying them tickets to a future match and announced a trio of new signings.
Most significant thus far have been the signings of two defenders to bolster its depleted back line. Today Arsenal announced the signing of Per Mertesacker, the former German international and Werder Bremen defender. At 6 feet 6 he should provide Arsenal with much needed stability and aerial presence.
Arsenal also snagged Brazilian left back Andre Santos from Turkish league champions Fenerbahce, which will help fill the hole left by Clichy’s departure.
To bolster its front line, Arsenal announced Tuesday the signing of 26-year old South Korean striker Chu Young Park from French club AS Monaco. Said Wenger: “We are delighted to have signed Chu. He will add true quality to our attacking forces and will be a valuable addition to the squad.”
There are still a few hours left in the transfer window, and Arsenal may attempt to make a move in the final hours, but this will certainly help allay some of their fans’ fears. What do you think of Arsenal’s new signings? Tell us what you think in the comments.