Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux, free)
Laurent Koscielny (Lorient, undisclosed)
Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla, undisclosed)
Luke Ayling (Yeovil, free)
Nacer Barazite (Vitesse, loan)
Sol Campbell (Newcastle, free)
Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk, undisclosed)
Luke Freeman (Yeovil, loan)
William Gallas (Tottenham, free)
Fran Merida (Atletico Madrid, free)
Philippe Senderos (Fulham, undisclosed)
Mikael Silvestre (Werder Bremen, free)
Jay Simpson (Hull, undisclosed)
Armand Traore (Juventus, loan)
Sanchez Watt (Leeds, loan)
The most obvious difference in the Arsenal squad that you’ll see this season is at the back. Arsene Wenger has cleared out a lot of the defensive deadwood from his squad: William Gallas has moved to North London rivals Spurs following a contractual dispute, aging centre-backs Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre have moved on free transfers, and after seven years at the club, they’re finally rid of Philippe Senderos.
The new faces replacing them are Frenchmen Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci, who take the total of Arsene Wenger’s compatriots to play under him at Arsenal to 21. Koscielny cited this as a reason behind the appeal of joining Arsenal:
“It is nice for French players to come and join a team like Arsenal where there are so many other French players. It will help me to integrate easily in the team. Arsenal is a club where many young players get the chance to play in the Premier League and that is one of the reasons I chose Arsenal. They have a lot of young players full of quality and there are plenty of French players too. I have great respect for Arsene Wenger.”
Squillaci, at 30, offers a little more experience at the back, having played in La Liga and the Champions League for Sevilla, as well as several years in the French Ligue 1.
Marouane Chamakh, who ended one of the most tedious transfer stories in recent years this summer, completes the trio of new Arsenal players. The Moroccan striker has impressed for Arsenal in pre-season, and his first couple of Premiership appearances for the club. Chamakh is looking as though he could well prove to be worth the wait, and could be one of the bargains of this transfer window. He’ll certainly be an important outlet for Wenger, who now has an alternative to throwing Nicklas Bendtner on up front.
Arsenal threw away a decent title challenge towards the end of last season; and they may hope for a stronger challenge with a stronger squad. They may have lost a few players, but the likes of Senderos and Silvestre simply weren’t good enough.
If their centre backs can avoid injury (it’s an area that suddenly looks a little thin) they should have it in them to give Chelsea and United a tougher challenge this time around.
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