Arsenal are set to dip into the loan market once again to bring in Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard, who they hope will add some much-needed creativity to their squad.
There’s a sense of déja vu about this deal. Arsenal have never been scared of bringing in a midfielder on loan, doing so no fewer than five times in the 21st century so far, but it’s safe to say that there have had varying levels of success from their midfield loanees…
Time for a trip down memory lane.
Date joined: July 24, 2001
Full of confusion from start to finish, many claimed that Arsenal only signed Japanese midfielder Junichi Inamoto from Gamba Osaka in the summer of 2001 to boost their shirt sales in Japan.
He was initially touted as a permanent signing worth around £3.5m, but after not playing a single Premier League minute during the season, reports emerged revealing Inamoto was actually only a loan signing.
Inamoto only made two matchday squads in the league during his time at Highbury, before he was swiftly sent back to Japan at the end of the campaign.
Unai Emery had Arsenal fans drooling with excitement as he struck a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez in January 2019, with whom he had taken Spain by storm during the pair’s mutual time at Sevilla.
Unfortunately, everything went downhill almost immediately as Suarez began suffering from various injury problems which limited him to six appearances and prevented him for ever starting a game for the Gunners.
Arsenal declined to sign Suarez permanently and sent him limping back to Barcelona as one of the most underwhelming signings of recent memory.
Normally, when a back injury arises during a player’s medical, that deal falls through. However, for whatever reason, Arsenal decided that wasn’t enough to scare them away from 31-year-old Kim Kallstrom.
The Gunners, who knew all about Kallstrom’s injury before he signed in January 2014, had to wait until late March to see him in action, and they only got three more appearances out of him before the end of the campaign.
One of those appearances was a seven-minute cameo in the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athletic, in which he scored in the penalty shoot-out to help steer Arsenal towards the trophy.
Billed as a box-to-box creator upon his arrival in July 2019, Ceballos had Arsenal fans singing his name almost immediately as he bagged two assists in a 2-1 win over Burnley in just his second game.
Injuries derailed the remainder of his season but didn’t scare Arsenal away from renewing his loan for the 2020/21 season, but things started to slip downhill almost immediately.
Still a regular part of the squad, Ceballos lost his status as a regular starter and definitely did not bring the creativity he was supposed to, convincing Arsenal to return to Real to sign Odegaard instead.
The signing of Yossi Benayoun in 2011 was widely ridiculed. After all, this was a player who looked out of his depth at Chelsea and was cut loose from the Blues after just one season.
However, Chelsea’s loss was Arsenal’s gain. The Israeli was surprisingly impressive at the Emirates in his 25 appearances and often proved to be the man for the big occasion.