Mikel Arteta will be satisfied with a transfer window in which Arsenal strengthened key areas and tied down their most coveted stars to new contracts.
The Gunners addressed their long-standing weakness at centre-back with the £27million signing of talented 22-year-old Gabriel, Willian arrived at the Emirates to provide experience and depth in attack, and midfield maestro Dani Ceballos returned on loan for another year.
Elsewhere, club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended speculation about his future by penning a new £350,000-per-week deal, while teenage starlets Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli signed long-term contracts.
And, of course, the Gunners ended the window in style as Thomas Partey arrived on Deadline Day.
Owner Stan Kroenke personally approved and sanctioned the funds necessary to get Partey out of his contract with Atletico Madrid, ensuring Arteta landed his priority midfield target.
But with a successful transfer window – and the spending that accompanies one – come increased expectations.
Take, for example, the marquee arrival of Partey. The Ghanaian’s Atletico Madrid wage has been quadrupled and he will earn over £200,000 per week at Arsenal.
Partey will earn more than Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and over £100,000 per week more than Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Chelsea stars Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.
Of course, Partey will be one of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet – but Arsenal’s exorbitant spending on wages is not limited to their biggest stars.
The Gunners are understood to be paying 32-year-old winger Willian around £200,000 per week after his arrival on a free from Chelsea.
Back-up defender Sead Kolasinac will continue to take home £100,000 per week after Arsenal failed to secure a loan exit for the Bosnian.
This is not to say Arsenal’s rivals are not also handing out lucrative contracts. Chelsea lured Ben Chilwell away from Leicester with a monster £190,000-per-week deal and Spurs veteran Toby Alderweireld was given a new six-figure contract last season.
Chelsea also grabbed headlines with their huge summer spending which far outweighed Arsenal’s. However, the Blues’ net spend over the last five seasons is over £100million less than the Gunners’.
Arsenal have started the campaign strongly with three wins and their sole defeat coming to champions Liverpool.
Given the recent struggles of Chelsea and traditional big spenders Manchester United, Arteta will be well aware Arsenal have a fantastic shot at a first top-four finish since 2016.
And while Partey is 27 and has many years remaining at the top of his game, the Arsenal boss knows Willian and Aubameyang are into their 30s and their primes will soon end.
To keep Aubameyang fully motivated, they need to be in the top four mix and heading back towards Europe’s top table.
Now is the time for Arsenal’s big earners to live up to their bumper contracts and steer the Gunners to Champions League football.
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