It has been a relatively busy January transfer window at the Emirates. Left-back Sead Kolasinac rejoined Schalke 04 on loan, the contract of Mesut Ozil was terminated and the Germany finally left to join Turkish side Fenerbahce, centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos also had his deal terminated, while Arsenal brought in attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan for the rest of the season. That all happened earlier, but here’s what was done on Deadline Day.
Mustafi joins Schalke
Centre-back Shkodran Mustafi has left the club after four and a half years and 151 appearances and joined Kolasinac at Schalke, though on a permanent basis. Both technicel director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta thanked the 2014 World Cup winner for his contribution to the club and wished him the best of luck for the future.
Mustafi arrived in the summer of 2016 with the hope being he would provide some stability to a much-criticized back line, and it’s fair to say those expectations proved too much for his quality. He never really impressed, though he was capable of patches of excellent form. All in all, the parting of ways was the best option for both the player and the club at this point.
Maitland-Niles joins WBA on loan
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was reported to have expressed concern about a lack of regular game-time at Arsenal several times before. He was the subject of a reported £15 million bod from Wolverhampton Wanderers last summer, but the club rejected the offer.
The 23-year-old is obviously keen to rack up a sufficient number of minutes on the pitch for England boss Gareth Southgate to give him serious consideration for a spot in his team for the upcoming Euros, and in all honesty, he has a much better chance of getting his wish at the Hawthorns than at the Emirates. Further more, Baggies boss Sam Allardyce has reportedly promised him a spot in midfield, his preferred section of the team, rather than playing him as a fullback or a wing-back.
Arteta will likely miss the versatility he provides in the remaining part of the season, but there isn’t much point in keeping a player against his wishes. On the other hand, he should be of great help to his temporary club as they seek to escape relegation.
Willock joins Newcastle on loan
Joe Willock has made his move to the north-east and will be playing for Newcastle United for the rest of the season. With Emile Smith Rowe and now Martin Odegaard ahead of him in the pecking order in the attacking midfield role, it only makes sense for the 21-year-old to go somewhere where he can play more regularly and work on his development.
“I’d like to thank all the supporters for their warm welcome and messages so far,” Willock told Newcastle’s website.
Youth players leave on loan
Midfielder James Olayinka, 20, has extended his loan at Southend United. Defender Zech Medley has joined Kilmarnock, while 21-year-old defender Joseph Olowu has joined Wealdstone, also on loan. Matt Smith, 20, was recalled from his loan at Swindon Town in the morning, and sent on another temporary spell to Charlton Athletic late in the evening.