Premier League • England

Arsenal summer transfer window 2023 – ranking all the incomings and outgoings

Arsenal's Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Nicolas Pepe. TEAMtalk montage.

Arsenal made one of the signings of the summer in the shape of Declan Rice but on the departures front it was a case of not enough money recouped with players like Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney failing to attract decent bids. 

The Gunners wanted to bring in players who can play in different positions and give Mikel Arteta more options than he had available to him last season. They looked at how things finished last year and felt they needed to shake things up a little bit. Last year was great, but they were pretty predictable.

They signed Jurrien Timber, who can play as a right back, left back, centre back. They didn’t start the window specifically targeting Kai Havertz, but that opportunity arose and they looked at the position they were wanting to strengthen and they felt he could play that role. But not only that role, he could also play out wide and as a central striker.

Declan Rice was the big priority target. Arsenal have been working very hard since the start of the year to sign him because they wanted to bring someone in who could share the burden with – but also move on from – Thomas Partey. He could also cover defensively, could potentially play in a Granit Xhaka role and could play the number six role as well.

Timber was such a key part of the summer plans and they didn’t replace him. They’re weaker there than they were last season because they’ve lost the player that they signed to make them stronger but then they’ve also moved on Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding who, between them, played more than 50 games last season in all competitions.

They’re in good shape apart from the defence. The midfield options are very strong. Going forward, they’re in a very strong position. They’ve got wide players who score lots of goals. And look at what’s happened off the bench so far in the opening games.

Against Fulham, Mikel made the changes and sent on Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah. Nketiah scored and Vieira set up both goals in that game. Against Manchester United, he put on Vieira, [Gabriel] Jesus, and Reiss Nelson. All three of those combined for the third goal.

They’re not called substitutes for Arsenal, they’re called impactors and they’re impacting games. That’s because of the strength in depth that Arsenal now have.


Declan Rice (£105m) – Grade A

A world class signing; a world class player. £105million is a massive price tag but he already looks like a world beater. He looks like he’s been at the club for years. When you spend that money on a player you want an immediate impact. That’s the signing you need if you want to bridge the gap to Manchester City.

Kai Havertz (£65m) – Grade D

He hasn’t shown anywhere near what he can produce at Arsenal. For that sort of money, you want someone who’s ready to improve you straightaway. You can hear the murmurings already and they’re only going to get louder. He needs to produce some big moments and he needs to produce them quickly. They’ve got Tottenham coming up in the North London Derby. No better place to do it than that.

Jurrien Timber (£38m) – Grade B (denied an A only by injury)

He was a star in pre season, Arsenal’s best player by a fair distance. It’s very rare to see a player settle having come from abroad so quickly and look so comfortable at a club. He looked like he was born to play for Arsenal. He’s going to come back stronger and he’s already shown us that he’s going to be a real asset. Just a massive shame that injury now has denied him what was surely bound to be a very strong first season in Arsenal colours.

David Raya (loan) – Grade B

A bonafide Premier League No.1 and he’s going to end up as Arsenal No.1 sooner rather than later. While [Aaron] Ramsdale has done nothing wrong, if you want to be the best you’ve got to be ruthless. This is a clear signal from Arteta.

Should Ramsdale suffer an injury, Arsenal will not be any weaker calling upon Raya. And, if for some reason the move does not work out (it won’t!) then Arsenal can always send him back to Brentford given he’s only arrived on an initial loan.


Folarin Balogun (£35m) – Grade B

It’s £35million for a player who’s had one good season in France and they have specifically got a 17.5% sell-on clause. If he does explode at Monaco, he’ll be in the Premier League sooner rather than later and he’ll go for a massive fee. That will take the overall transfer fee up to around £50million. They wanted £50million and got quite a lot less than that.

Granit Xhaka (£21.5m) – Grade B

A hugely-important player and they miss him already. They got a really good fee for him for his age . In that regard it was a really good transfer for Arsenal but they have lost a very good player to Bayer Leverkusen who gave them so much. They brought in a player in Havertz to replace him who is struggling to adjust and who needs time. That area of the pitch looks a little bit weaker as a result.

Matt Turner (£7m) – Grade B

The drop off was obvious when Ramsdale wasn’t there. He couldn’t play really with his feet and that really impacted Arsenal. He was a very good shot stopper and a really good guy behind the scenes as well. They made a profit in the space of a year on him by selling to Nottingham Forest and they’ve improved the squad by bringing in a much better replacement.

Auston Trusty (£5m) – Grade C

They could have got more for him from Sheffield United given how well he played last season for Birmingham and made his way into the international setup for the USA during that time. Had that been at Chelsea, for example, they’d get £10million. That’s a classic ‘Arsenal should have sold for more’ transfer.

Pablo Mari (£3.7m) Grade C

Very much a stop-gap signing from Brazil. At the time they needed a left-sided centre-back and they got him in when they didn’t have much money to spend during Covid. He did a job and then moved on to Monza.

Rob Holding (£1m) – Grade F

This is the worst deal Arsenal have done this summer. It’s outrageously bad. Arsenal sold him to a Premier League club for £1million. That is a loan fee to a Championship club. Crystal Palace have wanted him for a while and they must be laughing at what they got him for. They should have been getting 10 times what they got for him. How can Auston Trusty be worth five times what Rob Holding’s worth? And Auston Trusty should have gone for more than £5million.

Kieran Tierney (loan) – Grade C

When Arsenal started the summer, they had earmarked a £25million to £30million sale but the bids didn’t arrive. He’s still got three years left on his contract, he’s not going to lose value. The market will potentially be even stronger for Tierney next summer when he returns from Real Sociedad.

Nuno Tavares (loan) – Grade C

£12million next season would be a decent fee. You’d rather it would have happened permanently this summer and they could have got that money up front, but a loan to Nottingham Forest with an option to buy isn’t the worst deal.

Marquinhos (loan) – Grade C

He didn’t have the best of loans at Norwich last season so sending him to another country with Nantes might be good for him. It’s a perfectly fine, generic Premier League club loan deal.

Albert Sambi Lokonga (loan) – Grade C

They’ve just kicked the can down the road; they were open to selling this summer but there wasn’t really a market for him. Hopefully this Luton Town loan will generate a market for him.

Arthur Okonkwo (loan) – Grade D

This is basically the end of his contract. He’s got a year left and he’s going to spend that year out on loan at Wrexham and I don’t envisage a new contract being given to him. He’s at a club that is very, very high profile and is going to have a lot of eyes on him this season.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (free) – Grade E

Arsenal turned down £20million odd from Wolves for Maitland-Niles a couple of years ago and now they’ve lost him on a free to Lyon. One of the faults Mikel’s got is that when you lose your place, you can be very much out in the cold and then your value will plummet as a result.

Nicolas Pepe (free) – Grade F

They’ve been burned massively financially on signing a player who was worth nothing like what they paid for him. He could never shake that transfer fee off. Ideally, Arsenal would have got £25million from a Saudi club but as much money as they’ve got they’re not stupid. From a club point of view, it’s a horrendous mistake. It’s a massive lesson learned.