Since the start of the Premier League, Arsenal have consistently been one of the most successful clubs in England competing with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to be crowned champions.
A lot of the North London club’s success has been built on the club’s excellent use of the transfer market in unearthing unpolished diamonds, with Arsène Wenger taking huge credit in developing world class talent.
But for every excellent acquisition that Wenger has brought to the capital, you can also find a player who did not make the grade of flopped dramatically.
Signings such as Nicolas Anelka, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabergas were inspired but the acquisitions of Oleg Luzhny, Amaury Bischoff, Sebastien Squillaci and Andrey Arshavin have likely been the cause of some sleepless nights for Wenger since taking over the club in 1996.
With that, we’ve put together a list of the 15 worst Arsenal signings of the Premier League era.
15. Mikael Silvestre
After eight excellent seasons at Manchester United, Mikael Silvestre was a hugely surprising Arsenal capture in the summer of 2008.
Although Silvestre signed from United on a free transfer, the Frenchman was past his prime and had seemed to have lost some of his pace. The left-back joined Arsenal as a back-up member of the squad and managed to make 44 appearances over two seasons.
Silvestre’s time in North London will be one remembered for the wrong reasons after several terrible performances.
One interesting fact is that the Silvestre transfer was the first direct transfer between the two rival clubs since Viv Anderson joined United in 1987.
14. Abou Diaby
Although hugely talented, Abou Diaby has to go down as one of the worst Arsenal signings of the Premier League era simply due to his lack of playing time during his nine-and-a-half seasons in North London.
The box-to-box midfielder was signed from Auxerre for just £2.1 million in January 2006 and started his Arsenal career with great promise. After the bright start, his Arsenal career was hampered with injury after injury and he managed just 166 appearances during his time with the club.
In his last four seasons at Arsenal, the Frenchman managed just 22 appearances before being released on a free transfer in June 2015.
13. Marouane Chamakh
Arsene Wenger signed Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer in 2010 after the Moroccan had impressed during his final season at Bordeaux. His goal record was pretty decent in France, so the signing seemed like a promising one for the club.
The striker’s Arsenal career started brightly in the absence of Robin van Persie, as he was the first player to score in six consecutive Champions League games.
However, on van Persie’s return, Chamakh’s chances became limited and he soon fell out of favor before being loaned to West Ham United and Crystal Palace. Palace made the deal permanent in 2013 for a fee of £840,000 and he hasn’t been much better for them.
12. Junichi Inamoto
Japanese international Junichi Inamoto arrived from Gamba Osaka in the summer of 2001 after becoming one of the stars of the J. League. Unfortunately for the midfielder ,the step up to elite English football proved a difficult bridge to gap and he was released after just one season with Arsenal.
Despite selling a massive amount of shirts and becoming a cult sensation, he only made four appearances for the club before joining Fulham. Inamoto went on to have a solid career in England, Germany, and Turkey before returning to Japan in 2010. Inamoto is still playing for Consadole Sapporo, who play in the J. League 2.
11. Nelson Vivas
Argentinian right-back Nelson Vivas was signed from Swiss club FC Lugano in 1998 for just £1.54 million. He spent a year there, so it was hope that he’d make the transition from Argentinian to European football seamlessly.
Unfortunately for Vivas, he was unable to dislodge the first choice full-backs of Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn and as a result was sent on loan to Celta Vigo in Spain.
Vivas made just 14 Premier League starts in an Arsenal career that was uneventful and he was eventually released on a free.
Bought from French club Lille for £8.4 million, Gervinho was sent-off on his Premier League debut for slapping Newcastle United’s Joey Barton. Despite that, big things were expected of the Ivorian after a good scoring record in France, but unfortunately things failed to materialize for him in North London.
The striker failed to establish himself as a regular and only made 63 appearances scoring 11 goals for the Gunners before signing for Serie A club Roma. Since arriving in the Italian capital, Gervinho has started to re-establish himself as a good striker, scoring 23 goals in 80 games for the Giallorossi.
9. José Antonio Reyes
José Antonio Reyes was a big money signing from Sevilla in the January of 2004. At £14 million, Reyes was supposed to be a signing that took Arsenal to the next level.
Although the winger made a promising start to his Premier League career, a bullying by Manchester United at Old Trafford started his form’s downward spiral. The player eventually lost his place in the team and was sent on loan to Real Madrid.
Reyes never returned to play for Arsenal and was offloaded to Atlético Madrid for £8.4 million in 2007 after playing just 110 games for the North Londoners.
8. Stathis Tavlaridis
Greek defender Stathis Tavlaridis joined Arsenal following a £630,000 transfer in January 2002. The then 21-year-old never really found his feet after failing to dislodge first choice centre-backs Sol Campbell and Kolo Touré in defence and he was sent on loan to Portsmouth.
Tavlaridis played a total of eight games for Arsenal with seven coming in the League Cup, which Arsenal famously used to blood youngsters and fringe players into first team action.
In 2004, the defender was sent on loan to French club Lille, which turned into a permanent transfer after impressing. Since leaving Arsenal, Tavlaridis has had a solid career in France and Greece and now turns out for Panathinaikos as a 35-year-old.
7. Igors Stepanovs
The hormer Latvian international defender Igors Stepanovs was signed from Skonto Riga for £1.05 million in 2000. Although Stepanovs started his Arsenal career fairly well, the Latvian had a disastrous game in a 6-1 defeat against Manchester United which spelled the start of the end for him at Highbury.
The defender only managed a total of 31 appearances in his Arsenal career before moving on to Grasshopper Zürich in Switzerland. After his time in the alpine country came to an end, he played his career out between Latvia, Denmark and Russia before finally calling it a day in 2011.
6. Park Chu Young
The South Korean international was signed in 2011 from French club Monaco for around £4.55 million. The striker only played seven games for Arsenal and has to go down as one of the club’s worst signings in the Premier League era.
Prior to signing with the North London club, the then 26-year-old had 25 goals in 91 appearances for Monaco, so it was hoped he could adapt to English football and fill the net for the Gunners.
It wasn’t to be, so the striker was sent out on loan twice to Celta Vigo and Watford, before moving on a free transfer to Al-Shabab in the Saudi Premier League.
5. André Santos
André Santos arrived in North London from Turkish giants Fenerbahçe in a £4.9 million deal in 2011. Wenger was trying to strengthen his back-line after an 8-2 drubbing by Manchester United, so Santos was signed alongside Per Mertesacker.
The wing back was highly rated after winning 24 caps for Brazil throughout his career but he never really showed his class at the Emirates and most Gunners were happy to see him leave after just two years with the club.
Since leaving Arsenal, Santos has played back in his native Brazil, had a short stint in India and now turns out for Swiss second division with FC Wil.
4. Tomas Danilevičius
Lithuania’s all-time top goal-scorer, Tomas Danilevičius was signed by Arsène Wenger in 2000 for £1.05 million. The striker had previously had spells in his homeland, Belgium, Russia and Switzerland before joining the Gunners from Swiss club Lausanne.
Although Danilevičius came for relatively cheap, the move was a disaster for the player who only made three appearances in the famous red shirt. After two loan spells away from Highbury, Danilevičius was allowed to join Italian club Livorno in 2002.
Danilevičius had a fairly successful career in Italy and went on to become his country’s all-time top scorer with 19 goals in 71 appearances for Lithuania.
3. Christopher Wreh
Cousin of former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, Christopher Wreh arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 1997 for £300,000.
Wenger had once worked with Wreh at French club Monaco, where his career took the same path as at Arsenal after being unable to hold down a regular spot in the first-team.
After several loan spells around Europe, Wreh was eventually transferred to Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. After just one year in the Gulf, he returned to the UK with Bournemouth and St. Mirren before a stint in Iran and non-league British football.
2. Richard Wright
Arsène Wenger paid £6.3 million to secure the services of Richard Wright after the Frenchman identified the goalkeeper as a long-term replacement for Arsenal legend David Seaman.
Wright had won two England caps while he was the Ipswich number one, but rather than succeeding Seaman for club and country, he found himself behind Arsenal’s third-choice keeper Stuart Taylor.
After making just 22 appearances for Arsenal in his one and only season in North London, he was off-loaded to Everton for £3.85 million. His career was never really the same again and he’s currently Manchester City’s third choice keeper.
1. Francis Jeffers
After breaking on the scene as a youngster at Everton, Francis Jeffers was notoriously labelled the ‘fox in the box’ who was signed by Wenger to aid Dennis Bergkamp with Arsenal’s goal-scoring duties. The Liverpudlian striker was bought for £10.71 million which was thought to be a good piece of business for someone who was earmarked as England’s next number 9.
However, nagging injuries and an alleged poor attitude in training meant that Jeffers never reached his potential. Initially, Jeffers was sent back on loan to Everton in an attempt at rediscovering some of his previous form before being off-loaded to Charlton after just three seasons with Arsenal.
Jeffers never found any kind of form again during his career and retired after failing to find a new club in 2014.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!