Arsene Wenger has celebrated his twentieth anniversary in charge of Arsenal, and fifteen trophies later, we reflect back on his most expensive signings in an all-time starting eleven.
Often criticised for not utilising the club’s vast financial resources, Wenger has actually made high-profile and expensive acquisitions over the years.
However, many of the players included in this particular team are actually in the current Gunners squad, pointing to the evidence that the Frenchman has become less frugal with money in recent years.
In fact, there is only two players in the eleven that were signed before 2012, the summer of which was evidently a turning point in transfer activity.
[tie_slide] Petr Cech, £10m
Signed in the summer of last year, the addition of Cech was meant to be a benchmark for a number of world-class recruits.
Unfortunately, Arsene Wenger did not make another high profile signing for the rest of the summer, but the need for a ‘keeper was mighty indeed, and the acquisition of Cech has been one of the manager’s best moves for years.
The former Czech Republic international won the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets (16) in the Premier League last season, with Arsenal eventually finishing second. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Mathieu Debuchy, £12m
The signing of Debuchy was seen as a harmless and potentially useful one following his 2014 move from Newcastle.
Injuries have somewhat halted his progress, and Bordeaux tried to sign him in the summer, but Wenger has made far more erroneous moves than the one for his compatriot two years ago. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Shkodran Mustafi, £35m
After months of negotiations, Wenger finally landed his man, signing Mustafi from Valencia the day before final 24 hours of the transfer window.
Generally regarded as reliable and powerful, the German international has made a remarkable start to life in London, striking up a phenomenal partnership with fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Calum Chambers, £16m
Chambers will spend this season on loan at Middlesbrough, but did start the season in the starting eleven alongside Rob Holding.
Although the transfer to sign Chambers looks overpriced at the moment, the defender is very much one for the future, so one will have to wait to see how the former Southampton man progresses. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Giovanni van Bronckhorst, 8.5m
After three highly successful years at Rangers, the Dutchman moved to the Gunners as a replacement for Emmanuele Petit in 2001.
However, a cruciate knee ligament injury limited his opportunities at Highbury, eventually making 64 appearances before his departure to Barcelona. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Granit Xhaka, £34m
Xhaka may have only just broken into the Arsenal team, but is already a firm fan favourite.
The Swiss international was one of the Bundesliga’s finest players of the last two years at Borussia Monchengladbach, and is the midfielder that the club have been lacking for the past few years. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Santi Cazorla, £16m
The Spaniard has well and truly paid off his transfer fee, being one of Wenger’s most reliable and consistent players.
Having joined from Malaga in 2012, Cazorla’s arrival set the mark for a change of transfer policy at the Emirates, as aforementioned.
Last season, injuries hampered the 31-year-old, but he has been nothing short of sensational during 2016/17. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Alexis Sanchez, £35m
Undoubtedly a coup of a signing, the addition of Sanchez from Barcelona in 2014 was an outstanding one for Wenger to make, with the Chilean widely regarded as astoundingly talented.
Quick, sharp and remarkably lethal going forward, Sanchez has transitioned incredibly from operating as a wideman to becoming a lone forward at Arsenal.
He is yet to sign a new deal, with his current one running out in 2018, so supporters will be praying that he doesn’t leave for the likes of Juventus just yet. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Mesut Ozil, £42.5m
Ozil broke a Premier League record for the most chances made in a single season in the last campaign, and is undoubtedly world class.
His shock transfer from Real Madrid in 2013 sent ripples throughout the world as a stunned football audience struggled to decipher how exactly the London outfit had managed to convince a player of Ozil’s stature to join them.
He has drawn criticism in the past, but doubters are quietly hiding from social media at the moment. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Jose Antonio Reyes, £17.4m
Loved by Arsenal fans, the tale of Jose Antonio Reyes goes in the style of ‘what could have been’ following his loan to Real Madrid and subsequent permanent move to Atletico the following season in 2007.
Signed from Sevilla in 2004 for a sizeable fee, the Spaniard scored in each of his opening six games for the Gunners but eventually failed to transition from having moments of flickering brilliance to become a world superstar.
Nevertheless, his contribution to the club hasn’t been forgotten, with the winger being remembered fondly. [/tie_slide]
[tie_slide] Lucas Perez, £17.1m
Despite a marvellous performance against Nottingham Forest, Perez is yet to be handed a significant opportunity in the Premier League following his move from Deportivo la Coruna late this summer.
The 27-year-old scored an impressive seventeen goals in a struggling Deportivo side last season, and brings another attacking dimension to the club.[/tie_slide]
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