Arsenal’s Top Ten Most Expensive signings – How many were successes?

So, at the weekend I heard the first whispers of Pepe being a waste of money. We can be a grumpy fan base and you wouldn’t have thought we had won the game given how some gooners were reacting. Yet if gooners are questioning our new signing after victory how will they react when we lose?

Last week I wrote an article about how a player shouldn’t be judged on how long it takes to score their first goal (not including his penalty) with the likes of Pires, Walcott, Henry, Bergkamp, etc all taking their time to settle. I guess this week I’m playing devil’s advocate and showing that money doesn’t guarantee anything.

I want to look at our top 10 record transfers and see what our success rate actually is..

I’m not including Saliba as he obviously hasn’t kicked a ball for us, while it would also be unfair to judge Tierney at this stage. As Mkhitaryan was involved in a swap deal I left him out of this as well, as I wanted to base my research on straight cash.

10th Welbeck – 18 million
While Man United fans were sad to lose ‘one of their own’, their then boss Louis Van Gal was quick to point out his conversion rate. We knew what we were getting, someone who’s finishing skills were not good enough, but who’s athletical ability was enough to hurt the opposition on the wing. His injury record meant he could never build up any momentum. and eventually made it hard for our owners to warrant offering him a contract extension.

Joint 10th – Jose Antonio Reyes – 18 million
Part of our Invincibles and seen as Spain’s next big thing. The talent was there but never seemed to adapt to England, in terms of its culture or the physical nature of our football. From day one, he was surrounded by stories of being homesick and wanting to return to him homeland. Stories he never really went out of his way to squash.

Joint 10th Perez- 18 million
So, Arsenal heard Everton were going to sign this striker for a reasonable price in today’s market so found a cheap option to fill a hole in our squad. In his few starts scored some quality goals but no matter what he did Arsene Wenger reverted back to the status quo. Given the Frenchmen was accused of giving some players too many chances, to write off Perez so soon suggests there was an attitude problem. It also doesn’t help that be became close friends with Sanchez at a time the South American was upsetting the dressing room.

9th Chambers – 18.21 million
Started well, with many gooners thinking he’s so good on the ball he could a do job as a DM. Loans to Middlesbrough and Fulham were designed for his development, but both ended in relegation although was player of the year at Craven Cottage. Still not obvious what Emery’s opinion is of the defender, currently playing him at right back despite a clean sheet at Newcastle when he started in the centre.
MISS (at moment)

8 Leno- 22.5 million
Seen in Germany as a hot prospect which makes 22 million in today’s market worth the gamble. He got better as his first season progressed, although I do feel some gooners got a bit carried away in their praise. One of the things he has to sort out his is insistence on building play from the back. Has the distribution skills that it seems modern day keepers must have but has to realise when it’s not working and simply play safe.
HIT (so far)

7- Torreira – 25.9 million
Due to his work ethic he became a massive fan favourite, being labelled the DM we been crying out for since the days of Gilberto Silva. Like most South American’s though, struggled during the winter months where in Italy he would have been having a Christmas break. His form never recovered. I thought he was being a bit cheeky flirting with a return to Serie A and taking 50 million to use to buy a defender or use towards Zaha wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Especially now he’s lost his spot to Guendouzi and is being played out of position. When was his last great game?

6- Mustafi – 36.9 million
Lot of money to spend on a player who years later can’t get into our squad. Started well not losing his first 20 odd fixtures. Then an injury seemed to affect his confidence. When he had the right partner next to him could play well but lacked the leadership skills to lead a back 4. Lacks consistency for this level. Could suddenly have a world class performance but the next week would be needlessly diving in. Current situation is that he’s fully aware he’s not wanted and only featuring in cup ties. It got to a point where he was being booed by his own fans in pre-season. He was made a scapegoat. He’s not good enough but he’s not the only one..

5- Sanchez – 38.25 million
Forget the obvious talent and work rate that was infectious, in that regard he led by example, off the pitch though was not the leader we needed him to be. As soon as it became clear title bids were failing, he would sulk, throw gloves to the ground and sometimes not even thank away fans. At a time our young squad had zero confidence and he wasn’t helping, some stories even ranging that there was a physical altercation in training .
We thought it be such a PR disaster to sell him we were prepared to turn down 60 million for the sake of having his services for one more year. The assumption was that he was sulking in his last months with us due to not wanting to be at the Emirates anymore, but his form at Old Trafford shows losing him wasn’t end of the world. He could have been so much more..

4- Xhaka – 40 million
The latest scapegoat with some ‘fans’ now abusing him outside of the stadium and on social media to force him out of the club. Yet two top managers have now consistently picked him, with Emery making him his captain. That suggests he might offer something tactical that fans don’t see. He has a good range of passing althoughhe slows our attacks down, not helped when he partners two DM’s? His yellow card record is poor. It’s hard to say he justifies 40 million

3 Ozil- 42.3 million
When fans were stood outside the Emirates in 2013 excited that we got Ozil, who would have thought years later some be happy he’s not in our squad. That in itself might make him a failure, but to me it says more about Emery not liking flair/creativity rather than the player himself. The World Cup winner was brought for his ability to make goals, he’s assisted more than anyone else since arriving in England. It is not his fault that others don’t do their jobs better. Like he pointed out we won 13 FA CUPS in our whole history, he contributed to 3 of them.

2 Lacazette – 47 million
Whisper it quietly but I prefer him to Auba in terms of his work rate. Closest since Sanchez in terms of striker having work ethic to come win the ball and make things happens. Has made a bromance with his strike partner while supporting many of our youngsters.
Should be our captain in my opinion. He gets niggling injuries, without could be contender for top scorer

1 Aubameyang- 57 million
Quite simply a goal scorer. Can be quiet for 70 minutes then suddenly find the net with a rare touch. Only wish we had bought him years earlier.


Dan Smith


  1. I also wish we got Aubamayang when he was younger, a 22/23 years old auba would have broken Henry record.

    1. The 22/23 years old Aubameyang didn’t have too much experience as a main striker

      If I’m not mistaken, Klopp was the one that changed him from a winger to a CF

      1. And if am also not mistaken Wenger was the one that changed an inexperienced Henry from a winger to a CF.

  2. As much as I HATE Kroenke, he has allowed a lot of spending over the years

    Xhaka is a HIT?

    I forgot we paid that much for Mustafi

    Ozil and Alexis were a hit for one season at least. Without Ozil’s 19 assists and 6 goals and Alexis and 13 PL goals we wouldn’t have finished 2nd place. It was Wenger’s fault that we didn’t finish 1st for not getting a top striker or DM. Actually if he had played Alexis up front instead of Giroud that would have made a difference. Giroud went on a costly 12 PL match and 15 match non-scoring streak! Then Wenger mismanaged Alexis financially and only getting Mkhytarian in return and gave Ozil a mega salary. So overall both were misses mainly because of Wenger. We also lost Ramsey and Wilshere on free transfers.

    Wenger made up for it by getting Aubameyang and Lacazette though. Great signings by La Professor

    It’s far to early to tell if Pepe will be a hit or miss but my heart and soul is hoping he will be a hit. Only time will tell.

    1. So your point exactly is? Ozil and Sanchez were both Miss?
      Some people though, even though both players are no where to be found now.
      They really brought something strong with them and they both were successful.
      I won’t judge them based on the way they both handled their career later on

    2. And here I believe Wenger mistake was benching Giroud by using Sanchez as a striker and it ended up bad and we landed in Europa for the first time in his reign.

      If Giroud has started as our striker or maybe by another striker and leave Sanchez to his place as a winger, I believe we won’t have been in Europa.

      All that glitters are not gold
      2016/2017 season
      Giroud start 11 matches and 18 as sub yet he scored 12goals.

      While your Sanchez as striker played as striker this very season and scored 24 goals yet nothing to show for it.

      Giroud start 24, 36, 21, 26 games in is past season and we qualify for CL but when the task was given to Sanchez and Giroud start only 11 games, we landed in Europa.

      Even Giroud played as a striker for all our triumph FA cup.

      And also as Chelsea striker for the Europa final.

      So go figure.

  3. To adjudge Torreira a MISS is baffling. He had a decent season last year but has been played way too forward this year. That is not his fault! We have seen him at the base of the midfield in the cup games and we know he feels at home in that position. Play him where he should before judging him. Chambers has really shown massive improvement since his loans. The RB was his worst position prior to this season but he has had 3 wonderful performances in that position so far and you still consider him a MISS? 5 appearances, 5 clean sheets. What makes him a MISS so far is beyond me.

    1. So answer the question, when was his last great game
      if he’s playing out of position that’s because Guendozi is playing better
      So Emery is trying to fit him in instead of dropping him
      Can’t remeber us having to play Viera out of position?
      I like him but if we are saying he started last season well, not enough to be a hit in my opinion
      Can i give Chambers a Hit based on 5 games ?
      Thats why I put so far

      1. Dan, I’m sure you know Unai has favourites (lots of coaches do). Guendouzu is not the one keeping Torreira off the pitch, its Xhaka and we know why_ he’s a favourite. That does not make Torreira a MISS. Also classifying a player as a miss after one season does not make sense. For Chambers, while his improved performances may not be enough to call him a hit, its a enough he is not a miss, at least yet.

  4. How Come Torreira after one season is already a miss when the coach insisted on playing up front after he won MOTM performing against Tottenham last season?
    I really don’t agree with that one though, his trouble started when he was instructed to be doing the creative job, something he’s shown he’s not good at. Look as a matter of fact. Am I the only one who thinks we might even perform better with Xhaka up front instead? Since Emery is the godfather of Xhaka’s new daughter, we all know he’s not sitting for anyone.
    Why not push Xhaka up front instead to go continue his passes and shot taking forward while Torreira stays in his natural position?
    Torreira isn’t a miss if you ask me, he needs to be managed well. Every pundits were singing praises to him when the season started and he had better stats when compared to Kante in his first three months. Then we played Spurs at home, he was everywhere, even scored, and suddenly Emery sees him as Ramsey. Is it a coincidence his form dropped after being pushed up front?

    I don’t think it’s fair to label Chambers a miss either, he wasnt getting steady chances. He was either being loaned out or was being played everywhere all around the pitch. Each time he went on loan, he performed very good. This season might be his chance, isn’t he showing up so far?

    1. I wonder how he come up with Torriera and Chambers been a MISS.

      Chambers was at Arsenal since 19 and with no stable role and proper integration, but still showed in wenger last season as the best defender we have but was loaned out.
      Showed to be capable against Newcastle but benched and it takes Nile horrible performance to bring him back and I know is just a matter of time before he sit back on the bench with Bellerin back to the fold.

      This is not Chambers fault but the coach’s fault.

      Torreira moving forward and losing form is not his fault also but the coach’s fault

      1. if Chambers left tomorrow could you say for 2o million he’s been a hit, that;s the question
        People keep pointing to Torreria in the first half of last season, we are 12 months on
        Chambers is playing well but I had to take account of his whole time here
        Still waiting to hear Torreria’s last great game, apparently Spurs which was a year ago
        Not playing is not an excuse it just shows others are playing better

        1. So, following your thinking Dan, no one is playing better than Xhaka – no one is playing better than Sokratis and/or Luiz and Leno is playing better than Martinez?

          If your not selected, when you are outperforming your team mates, your face doesn’t fit, or your boss has favourites, there is nothing you can do about it.

          1. ken
            agree with you
            i love to see Holding/Chambers or Torreria play as DM
            but fact is they are not so how can I say Hit ?

          2. dan Smith, “so not playing is not an excuse, it just shows that others are playing better” doesn’t hold water does it?

            So many of our players are being ignored/overlooked by UE (and AW in his last two years\0, his favourite players, tactics etc make the point of your article impossible to judge.

            Great to see you back Kenny Rolfe!!!!

  5. Welbeck: Not good enough, Reyes RIP: To immature, his parents sat behind me in C Block in the East stand and picked him up after every training session. Perez: Not given a chance by Wenger, don’t know why he bought him, Chambers: Jury’s still out, but looking good, Leno: Excellent but is going to be kept on his toes by the emerging Martinez, Torreira: Started well, don’t know whether his love for Italy is affecting his game. Still prefer him to Xhaka. Mustafi: One word describes him, disaster, Sanchez;: Brilliant for us, take him back in a heartbeat, didn’t like the way he left but that’s the modern footballer for you, Xhaka: Possibly the worst Arsenal player in the last thirty years, making him captain will come back to haunt Emery, Ozil: I agree with you Admin regarding Ozil, the previous games against United, Watford and Bournemouth were crying out for Ozil, someone who thread a pass, another decision that could haunt Emery, Auba and Laca: Brilliant, Auba’s a goal machine and to think some idiots wanted to sell him a few months ago, makes the mind boggle. Laca is proving to be one of the best at holding the ball up and turning in the box.Love’em both

    1. Ken
      Lots of valid points mate
      Just can’t call someone a hit based on zero evidence
      starting well but a manager not picking him while could me a managers oversight, not enough for a hit

  6. Thank you Ken1945, the most experienced contributor on this site. Always good to read your comments Ken

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