Despite a positive ending, Arsenal fans won’t need reminding that 2020/21 has been a season to forget.
Mikel Arteta’s side paid the price for a woeful start to the campaign which saw them fall to 16th in the standings in December, despite a summer investment of £72 million.
The Gunners’ form picked up in the second half of the season but even so the club failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years.
As well as bringing in seven new faces to the squad such as Willian and Thomas Partey, Arteta was instrumental in convincing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and youngster Folarin Balogun to sign new contracts.
Despite that, the north London side finished eighth for a second successive year to highlight their demise from a team which consistently qualified for the Champions League under legendary boss Arsene Wenger.
But how have their new signings fared in their first season at the Emirates Stadium? Mirror Sport grades the impact of Arsenal’s 2020/21 transfer dealings…
Thomas Partey: B-
The Ghanaian’s debut campaign in the Premier League has been largely hampered by injury after a deadline-day £45m move from Atletico Madrid.
The 27-year-old has missed 17 games with hip, muscle and hamstring injuries and the Gunners have missed his steel in the centre of the park.
But when Partey has been fit enough, he has played a crucial role for Mikel Arteta, and that was highlighted in the recent 1-0 win over Chelsea. Arsenal will be hoping for more displays like that next season if he can stay injury-free.
Martin Odegaard: C+
Brought in on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season, the jury is still out on whether Odegaard has lived up to the billing at the Emirates Stadium.
The Norwegian has delivered only two goals in his 17 appearances for the Gunners following his January switch and Arteta seems to be uncertain over where he slots into his 3-4-3 formation.
Barring a dramatic change in circumstances, the 22-year-old looks set for a return to Spain in the summer.
Gabriel Magalhaes: C+
Beating several European clubs to the £23m signing of Gabriel, including Chelsea and Napoli, seemed to be a good omen for Arsenal.
The Brazilian looked assured at the back as he quickly settled into life in the Premier League and scored on his debut in the 3-0 win over Fulham.
But as Arsenal’s form quickly nosedived, Gabriel fell down the pecking order following some error-strewn displays. He also contracted coronavirus in December and his confidence appears to be have been affected.
With Rob Holding now a regular in Arteta’s side, he may face a fight for his place next season.
Pablo Mari: C
Initially brought in loan from Flamengo in January 2020, Mari’s move was made permanent in the summer for £4.5m despite making just three appearances during his loan spell.
Even if he is yet to nail down a regular spot in the Arsenal side, the 27-year-old has featured far more prominently this season with 18 appearances in all competitions.
Mari has been a solid presence at the back and his selection for both Europa League semi-finals suggests Arteta may see him as a viable option in his back three for next season, especially with David Luiz leaving.
Mat Ryan: C
The Australian goalkeeper was a shock addition in January when he agreed to join on loan from Brighton, but Ryan has proved to be an able deputy for Bernd Leno.
In fact, the 29-year-old has only conceded once in his three Premier League appearances this season and with doubts over Icelandic stopper Runar Alex Runarsson, the Gunners may choose to retain him on a permanent deal.
Cedric Soares: D
When Arsenal swooped to snap up Cedric on a free transfer, there were more than a few eyebrows raised about the decision to give the 29-year-old a four-year contract.
The Portuguese has been an adequate back-up option for Kieran Tierney, who has struggled with injuries this season, and has largely featured in the Europa League as a result.
It remains unclear whether Arteta trusts the versatile full-back to deputise for Tierney or Hector Bellerin, however, having used Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka in their positions of late. If a buyer comes calling this summer, expect Arsenal to pick up the phone.
Just what were Arsenal thinking?
It beggars belief that Arsenal were willing to hand a deal until 2023 to a player who turns 33 in August, and now they are paying a costly price.
Willian enjoyed a fine debut with a hat-trick of assists but has done very little of note since then, scoring his only goal of the season in the 3-1 victory over West Brom.
The Brazilian has struggled to rediscover the form that made him a key member of Chelsea’s squad for eight years and it is likely he will be offloaded, with moves to his native Brazil and USA reported to be in the pipeline.