Arsenal have fallen behind their top-four rivals in recent seasons despite spending big money in the transfer market. With Mikel Arteta’s young team injecting new enthusiasm into the club, the future is looking positive at the Emirates. Gabriel Jesus looks set to become Arsenal’s latest arrival for £45 and Leeds winger Raphinha could be next. But where would these two potential signings appear on the list of Arsenal’s top 10 most expensive transfers?
10. Shkodran Mustafi – £36m Valencia to Arsenal 2016
The mere sight of Shkodran Mustafi is enough to induce PTSD in Arsenal supporters. Signed as a ball-playing centre back, the German World Cup winner often appeared to be frightened of the object, as well as his opponents. Mustafi was regularly the culprit for conceding penalties and own goals during his 151 games for the club, while red cards were often brandished in his direction. One of Arsene Wenger’s worst signings for Arsenal at £36m.
9. Alexis Sanchez – £38m Barcelona to Arsenal 2015
Signing Alexis Sanchez was a huge coup for Arsenal at the time and the Chile striker galvanised the club. He helped win two FA Cups, scoring against Aston Villa in the 2015 final and Chelsea in the 2017 showpiece. Sanchez ultimately proved an excellent piece of transfer business with 80 goals in 166 games for the Gunners, before leaving for Manchester United where he managed to score just five times in total.
8. Granit Xhaka – £40m Borussia Mönchengladbach to Arsenal 2016
Signed as the leader that Arsenal had been missing since Patrick Vieira’s departure 11 years previously, the Swiss midfielder has been a divisive figure since his arrival. Capable of scoring long range pile-drivers but also of moments of madness, Xhaka’s performances vary wildly. While he is rarely injured, the 29-year-old is too slow in his passing and movement to take Arsenal to the next level. Could be sold before the coming season starts.
7. Mesut Ozil – £42m Real Madrid to Arsenal 2013
Billed as the man to bring the glory days back to north London, Mesut Ozil produced some sublime displays but never quite lived up to the hype of his 2013 deadline day transfer. The Germany midfielder’s creativity and vision made him a crowd favourite and he guided the Gunners to an FA Cup win in his first season – their first silverware in nine years. His spell at the club ended with him frozen out by Arteta after various controversies.
6. Thomas Partey – £45m Atletico Madrid to Arsenal 2020
Thomas Partey has yet to fulfil his undoubted potential ahead of his third season at Arsenal. The £45m midfielder has suffered with injuries and would benefit from a ball-winning star alongside him. With the Gunners eyeing a bid for Leicester ace Youri Tielemans, could we see the best of Partey next season? Arteta will have to manage his workload wisely given that the World Cup takes place in Qatar in November.
5. Gabriel Jesus – £45m Manchester City to Arsenal 2022
Jumping the gun slightly here as Gabriel Jesus has yet to pass his medical. However should the deal go through, Arsenal will finally have a striker capable of pressing from the front and make runs in behind defenders. Despite only having one year left on his contract, Manchester City refused to allow Jesus to leave for less than £45m. But that sum is good value for a player with 58 Premier League goals to his name and bags of untapped potential.
4. Alexandre Lacazette – £48m Lyon to Arsenal 2017
A hard-working striker, Alexandre Lacazette often performed admirably for Arsenal was but arguably never clinical enough at the crucial moments. His goals dried up dramatically last season and he was eventually replaced in the starting XI by youngster Eddie Nketiah. Lacazette then rejoined Lyon, the club where he made his name, on a free transfer after scoring 71 times in just over 200 games for the north London outfit.
3. Benjamin White – £50m Brighton to Arsenal 2021
Brighton played hardball to squeeze £50m out of Arsenal for a player with minimal proven top flight pedigree last summer. But Benjamin White showed last year exactly why the Gunners didn’t hesitate to drop the big bucks for the classy central defender. Now an England international, White is attracting attention from champions Manchester City. But Arsenal would rather part with Gabriel than their marquee defensive signing, so he is going nowhere for now.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £58m Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal 2018
A truly world-class striker when he arrived from Dortmund, Aubameyang hit the ground running and initially outscored the majority of his rivals in the Premier League. The Gabon star almost single-handedly brought FA Cup glory to Arsenal in 2020 with outstanding performances in the semi-final and final wins over Chelsea and Man City respectively. Disciplinary issues saw him sold to Barcelona by Arteta midway through last season, however.
1. Nicolas Pepe – £72m Lille to Arsenal 2019
There’s little denying that Nicolas Pepe has been a huge flop when you consider the amount of money Arsenal spent on him. Some great Europa League displays from the Ivorian have not been enough to mask a plethora of anonymous Premier League performances. Time is fast running out for Pepe to show his worth and whether he even gets a third season in the red and white of the Gunners now seems unlikely with Arteta aiming to ship him out soon. It’s highly unlikely Arsenal will recoup even half of the £72m the club spent to sign him.