From Xhaka to Balogun: How Arsenal's summer sales are performing this season

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 15 Nov 2023 16:50 GMT
  • 5 min read
Granit Xhaka, Folarin Balogun
© ProShots

Arsenal spent lavishly this summer in a bid to mount another charge for Man City's throne, but while that hasn't proved quite as straightforward as many had hoped, some of their summer sales certainly do find themselves in the midst of a title challenge.

Most of the headlines in the summer were about the Gunners' acquisitions of Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber, Kai Havertz and David Raya. Yet, several high-profile players also departed the Emirates in the previous transfer window, among them Granit Xhaka and Folarin Balogun.

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But how have the summer departures fared so far this season? Let's investigate.

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Folarin Balogun - €30m to AS Monaco

An Arsenal boy through and through, Gunners academy product Folarin Balogun ultimately saw his path to the first team blocked despite a highly successful loan stint with Stade Reims last term. After being linked with Chelsea, the American ultimately headed back to Ligue 1, signing for Monaco in a €30 million move after a lengthy transfer saga.

Unlike last time out, it has been a season of contrasts so far for the 22-year-old in France's top flight. While Monaco found themselves at the summit of the table for several weeks (they're now in third), Balogun has not managed to recapture last season's form, only scoring three times in nine games and notably missing two penalties against local rivals Nice in a 1-0 defeat earlier in the season.

Folarin Balogun
© ProShots - Folarin Balogun

Granit Xhaka - €15m to Bayer Leverkusen

Compared to Balogun, Granit Xhaka's season couldn't be more different. The Swiss star departed the Emirates as his wife wished to return to Germany, signing for Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen in a €15m deal. Back in the Bundesliga, the 31-year-old is having the time of his life.

After becoming a real leader under Mikel Arteta, the midfielder is now showing his best side at Leverkusen, being crucial both in terms of performances and mentality for Alonso's table-topping Werkself. Xhaka has formed arguably the Bundesliga's best midfield partnership with World Cup winner Exequiel Palacios this term.

Matt Turner - €8.2m to Nottingham Forest

Back-up goalkeeper Matt Turner departed Arsenal in search of a starting gig elsewhere, joining fellow Premier League outfit Nottingham Forest in the summer. He initially found what he was looking for, becoming an instant starter for Steve Cooper's side and, despite some wobbly moments, showing why he is regarded as one of the US's best keepers.

In recent times, however, the 29-year-old has been dropped in favour of former Man Utd target Odysseas Vlachodimos. Turner managed two clean sheets in 11 games before losing his spot.

Auston Trusty - €5.8m to Sheffield United

A fellow American, Trusty also signed for a relegation battler in Sheffield United and it's not been an easy time for him with the Blades. Trusty was on the outside looking in to start the season, but in light of his side's abysmal form, he was eventually given a chance to show his talents.

Now, the 25-year-old is a regular fixture, playing all 90 minutes in the previous five games, though only two of these matches did not end in a loss, with Trusty shipping 12 goals.

READ: Arsenal send surprise transfer message to Milan

Pablo Mari - €4.9m to Monza

Pablo Mari is the face of an unlikely success story. Stabbed last year, the Spaniard has fully recovered and is now a key component for Serie A surprise package Monza, previously backed by the controversial late Silvio Berlusconi.

Monza have only lost three games all season - all of them against 'big' sides - and currently sit in a solid ninth despite being tipped for a relegation battle prior to the campaign. Mari already spent last term on loan with the Italian side.

Rob Holding - €1.2m to Crystal Palace

Rob Holding was - perhaps unfairly - made the face of Arsenal's late-season collapse in 2022/23, but 2023/24 hasn't been much better for him. On the contrary, it has been atrocious so far.

The 28-year-old has only featured once this season for Crystal Palace - the 3-0 loss to Man Utd in the Carabao Cup. Holding didn't even make Roy Hodgson's squad early in the campaign and since September 16, he has been an unused substitute for the Eagles, getting no minutes whatsoever.

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