We ‘signed’ Ousmane Dembele for Arsenal in the January transfer window with impressive results

Ousmane Dembele’s contract at Barcelona runs out at the end of the season, with rumours that the French winger could move to Arsenal in January.

football.london understands that Nicolas Pepe has been frustrated with his lack of minutes in the first team this season, and could reconsider his future if this does not change.

Should the Ivorian winger be moved on, this could pave the way for the Gunners to make a move for Barcelona’s Dembele, with the north London outfit able to strike a discounted deal considering the Frenchman is out of contract in the summer.

Barcelona have reportedly told Dembele to find a new club in January with the Spanish giants desperate to receive a transfer fee for the 24-year-old, instead of letting him leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Dembele has suffered with injuries in recent seasons having made less than 130 appearances for Barcelona, since signing from Borussia Dortmund for £120million in 2017.

So, if Dembele was to make a move to Arsenal in January, what sort of impact could he have on Mikel Arteta’s side?

Could the French winger help Arsenal return to the Champions League?

To find out, we simulated the rest of the season with Dembele in the Arsenal squad and this is what happened.

We ‘signed’ Ousmane Dembele for Arsenal in January 2022

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Dembele to join Arsenal at the start of the upcoming January 2022 transfer window, using FM22 to run the simulation.

This is how Dembele’s in-game profile looks on FM22.

Ousmane Dembele's FM22 in-game profile.
Ousmane Dembele’s FM22 in-game profile.

Let’s take a look at how Dembele performed throughout the second half of the 2021/22 season after signing for Arsenal in January 2022.

Dembele slotted into Arteta’s line-up on the right-wing, alongside Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at striker.

The Frenchman made a decent impact in the 18 games he played for Arsenal between January and May, contributing a total of four goals and four assists across all competitions.

Dembele's stats for Arsenal in the 2021/22 season.
Dembele’s stats for Arsenal in the 2021/22 season.

Dembele’s contribution in the Arsenal side ranked him eighth in the squad for most goals and assists, which is quite impressive considering he only joined the club in January.

Dembele averaged a match rating of 7.21, ranking him as the fifth best performer in the squad, only behind the likes of Saka, Aubameyang and Smith Rowe.

At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Arsenal XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics.

This is what Arsenal’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2021/22 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:

Arsenal's best XI in the 2021/22 season.
Arsenal’s best XI in the 2021/22 season.

Full Arsenal best XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Odegaard; Dembele, Smith Rowe, Saka; Aubameyang.

Dembele features in the best Arsenal XI for the 2021/22 season, despite only joining the club in the January transfer window.

Mikel Arteta thrusted Dembele straight into his starting lineup on the right-wing, forcing Martin Odegaard to play in a deeper role in midfield alongside Thomas Partey, with the Gunners also switching to a 4-1-4-1 formation in some games.

So, how did Arsenal perform in the league and cup competitions after signing Dembele in the January transfer window?

Arsenal’s results from the 2021/22 simulation

Arsenal finished third in the Premier League.
Arsenal finished third in the Premier League.

Arsenal finished third in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League and only four points off the pace of champions Liverpool.

The Gunners improved their league position from 8th in the 2020/21 season, tallying 15 more points and improving their goal difference by +17.

Dembele’s impact on the club allowed the Gunners to be able to perform to a level that helped them finish inside the top four for the first time since the 2015/16 season.

So, how did the Gunners perform in the cup competitions?

Arsenal's performances in the cup competitions in the 2021/22 season.
Arsenal’s performances in the cup competitions in the 2021/22 season.

Arsenal reached the Carabao Cup final but finished as runners-up following a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

In the FA Cup, Arsenal almost reached their second cup final of the season but were knocked out in the semi-finals on penalties to Liverpool, following a 2-2 draw after extra-time.

Overall, if Ousmane Dembele were to sign for Arsenal in January, the Frenchman would have a significant impact in the squad as ranked 8th for most goal contributions with four goals and four assists in 18 games, helping the club qualify for the Champions League and reach the Carabao Cup final.

Dembele would come in and start for the Gunners straight away, forcing Arteta into playing the likes of Odegaard in a deeper role in the Arsenal midfield as the Spanish manager tried to find the best solution in attack.

Would you like to see Ousmane Dembele sign for Arsenal? Let us know in the comments!

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