Mikel Arteta and Edu correct Serge Gnabry mistake as Arsenal generate £62.7m in transfer fees


Arsenal have the joint-third most profitable youth academy in the Premier League since July 2015, new data shows.

Thanks to new figures released by the CIES Football Observatory, the Gunners’ business in terms of outgoings over the past six and half years has been put under a microscope and it actually outlines the progress Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have made in a short space of time.

In this period, Arsenal have earned €75m (£62.7m) through selling academy graduates, putting them level with Chelsea and just behind Manchester City in the standings, although the trio trail Liverpool who have recouped €131m (£109m).

To meet the quota, the deals in question are from July 2015 onwards and only count if the north London outfit received a transfer fee, so Jack Wilshere’s move to West Ham United in the summer of 2018 is not included.

As per CIES, the Gunners have collected transfer fees for seven players that were trained at the club and went on to become first-team players since July 2015.

Furthermore, as Theo Walcott went straight from the Southampton academy to the Arsenal first-team in 2006 thus skipping the academy process, his move to Everton isn’t included either.

Therefore, the players in question are Serge Gnabry, who joined Werder Bremen in August 2016, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny, with the latter two departing in the summer of 2017 for West Brom and Juventus, respectively.

Francis Coquelin left for Valencia in January 2018 but it would take another 18 months for Arsenal to receive a fee for an academy graduate when Alex Iwobi joined Premier League rivals Everton.

The most recent academy sales have been Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa in the summer of 2020 and Joe Willock ‘s permanent move to Newcastle United last August.

Of these seven deals, Willock has generated 39% of the €75m (£62.7m) Arsenal have received in transfer fees, which is the highest.



Joe Willock got a round of applause from Arsenal fans after his first Emirates return. (Image: BT Sport)
Joe Willock got a round of applause from Arsenal fans after his first Emirates return

Now, it’s safe to say that the Gunners don’t regret many of these deals.

Aaron Ramsdale’s arrival last summer has helped fans move on from Martinez’s exit, whilst Iwobi hasn’t been able to fulfil his potential since swapping the Emirates Stadium for Goodison Park.

However, letting Gnabry leave in 2016 has regularly come back to haunt Arsenal.

An ill-fated loan with West Brom and Tony Pulis, allied with limited first-team opportunities at Arsenal, placed doubts in the German’s mind that a long-term role in the first team would become a reality if he stayed.

As such, Gnabry, with a year remaining on his contract, left Arsenal with no choice other than to sell him to Werder Bremen for around £5m and almost seven years later, the winger is now a regular for Germany as well as Bayern Munich with his valuation reaching €103.3m, which equates to just under £90m as per CIES, as recently as March 2021.

That figure now stands in between €50m-€70m (£41.8m-£58.5m) although it should be noted that the study takes into account a player’s performance, age, contract length, and future outlook to determine an overall price.

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Having watched from afar as Gnabry developed into a world-class player, the Gunners have clearly set out to avoid letting another young player leave on the cheap before potentially emulating the 26-year-old’s path.

Whilst Edu can perhaps take some credit for the Iwobi sale in August 2019 as he was appointed Arsenal technical director a month earlier, he and Arteta have corrected the Gnabry error.

The fact that the Willock sale represents almost half of the club’s transfer fees received from selling academy graduates proves lessons have been learned and in a short space of time too.





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