Can Arsenal still attract ‘world-class’ players?

The question as to whether Arsenal can still attract and sign world class players, is a debate that has been doing the rounds for quite a few years now.

With the Gunners failing to impress on the biggest scales both domestically and in European competition, it has meant that Arsenal have found it increasingly difficult to attract the very best. Instead the Gunners have managed to attract a few players considered to be of high quality, based on the club’s history and reputation, as well as Arsene Wenger himself.

The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have both identified Wenger and the club’s reputation as reasons for signing for the Gunners, even when Arsenal were largely failing to impress in terms of success. But with Ozil and Alexis still yet to commit to new deals and rumours that they just don’t see the club challenging for major honours, where do the Gunners stand in their attempt to sign top quality stars?

Arsenal legend, Sol Campbell, who was very much a top class player of his day, reckons Arsenal can still attract the very best players, it’s just that they are harder to find.

Campbell said: “They might be rarer, but they are out there. Look at [Alexis] Sánchez. Those characters do still exist. There will be players who have the tenacity and have the skill but are at the wrong club.”

“You’ve just got to find them and you might have to be a bit cleverer or pay a bit more for them.

I agree with Campbell in the sense that signing a truly world class player has become much tougher in recent years; but I think that’s applicable to most clubs, rather than just Arsenal. Not only are there less truly world class players available, possibly because it’s a term that is just thrown around these days, but we are also seeing that with increasing finances in football, transfers for the world class players are becoming quite extraordinary.

Arsene Wenger has never been one for splashing the cash in major transfer deals. He really broke the Arsenal transfer record by a significant amount when he signed Ozil for £42 million in 2013. Since then his transfers have always been for larger sums than the Arsenal fans are used to, but I reckon that it’s more to do with the prices of players these days, rather than Wenger’s attempt to sign more world class players.

Finances in football are only going to continue rising and if the Gunners want to be able to sign players with the quality and reputation of Alexis and Ozil, then Arsenal not only need to be willing to pay the demanded figure, but we also need to put the club back on the map by winning major honours.



  1. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Well you need to make a decent attempt at it first

    I don’t know if it was true or not that Wenger tried to get Aubemeyang
    I don’t think it was because Wenger made a half hearted attempt at getting Vardy (Vardy said Wenger didn’t contact him) who isn’t WC and got Lucas who isn’t WC but hasn’t started in the PL this season

    Wenger made a a huge mistake (or was it?) when he offered £40 million plus £1 for Suarez. He must have known Liverpool wouldn’t accept it: 1. because its not enough of an offer. just to activate contract clause 2. The £1 was insulting. I think he just made the offer to show that he is willing to spend big

    He has spent big on 4 players (Sanchez, Ozil, Mustafi, Xhaka) but only under huge pressure.
    Was the price paid for Xhaka wise? City got Gundogan for £20 mil. I am happy he is with us but I would have spent that money on a defensive midfielder or striker
    Was it wise to pay £16 million on Welbeck, £17 million on Lucas when we had Alexis and Giroud?

    Now we are chockablock with forwards: Our Forwards include other than Alexis: Giroud, Welbeck, Campbell, Iwobi, Lucas, Sanogo, Oxlade, Akpom.

    But to get Aubemeyang, Greizmann, Lewandowski, Rodriguez, Reus, Draxler etc., he needs to make realistic starting offers and be prepared to make big ones.


    Players want trophies
    Players also want big salaries (if we can’t pay £250,000 for Alexis we won’t attract other players).

    We can easily free up salaries and free up money for transfers
    Sell Ramsey and/or Wilshere (Ramsey playing poorly, Wilshere injury prone)
    We can sell a few of our forwards to help fund a World Class player

    I don’t know. Just some thoughts that may or may not be workable (Maybe out of years of frustration)

    1. Jansen says:

      Could not agree more with what you are writing.

      This club is finished as a competitive club. There is no other way to look at this. If you want to be competitive and win major trophies you are going to need a number or world class players. In today’s market, a world-class forward will not only cost you around 80 million (Aubamayang, Griezman etc) you will also have to pay them a weekly comp along the lines of Aguero, Rooney and Ibra of 250 per week and upwards. Arsenal don’t want to pay Sanchez more than 180 per week so he will leave. This means we will not be able to replace him on a like for like basis because no player willing to join for 180 a week will be world class.

      Until Usmanov buys this club we will not win another major trophy and we are about to embark on a dark age with Wenger still in charge for the next 4 years. Honestly, this club is pathetic and dishonest.

      1. Nebsy says:

        Should Wenger sign an extension than at least we’ll know how the seasons to come will unfold.
        Just please don’t have any hopes of achieving anything more than a top four as long as he’s at the helm.

  2. frank says:

    Arsenal yes. Wenger no.

    He has totally lost it in the transfer market with panic buys from the pressure of fans and media being his only solace. He has no insight anymore, no direction of where to strengthen. He plays players out of position all the time and has not change in his outdated structure to suit modern day football. Why would world class players come to Arsenal with Wenger in charge with a motivation to come forth? World class players want trophies and that’s why Sanchez will leave, just like Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri, Sagna etc. left in the past.

    I said at the start of the season that 3-5 transfers could possibly won Arsenal the Premier League this season. Realistically, and it wasn’t beyond our means to buy a world class centre back, Kante and Lukaku. I would of sold Ozil and bought Payet and possibly tried to get Reus too. Arsenal could have got this business done, it shows intent, it shows a desire to win but Wenger doesn’t have that. I would of loved to have seen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but he wants a move to Real therefore isn’t a realistic target but the 5 players I mentioned, we could have got at least 3 of them. But hey, at least we have the excitement of another battle for forth and trying to finish above the power house clubs like Tottenham and Everton.

  3. Midkemma says:

    In short, no we can’t get ready made WC players unless they feel that they have to move away from a big club like Ozil or Alexis.

    I fear we will not see a clear out that many of us like, some may blame Wenger for this but I do fear that it is equally an issue with the club, the board could hire better people and tell Wenger “NO! we’re getting this done quick, like pulling a plaster of a cut” but they don’t.

    If Arsenal do surprise us all and sells a lot of the driftwood then we would not only free up wages but earn a pretty £££ from the homegrown ruling, Wilshere should be sold with HG tax added 😛

    Just this act might encourage players to consider us, we have some quality players and not really in a bad position in the big picture, not far away from competing if the club acts swiftly.

    I think we could get Lacazette in to replace Giroud, Jose Gaya to replace Gibbs, and Rabiot in to replace Ramsey (Sell Wilshere as well but he on loan atm so no difference in losing him now).

    Another player I think we could look at would be MBappe, Wenger likes him and he has done very well so far… and IF he is the next Henry then playing on the left for a couple years while Alexis is 1st choice CF could be ideal 😛

    I also believe that part of the reason Ozil and Alexis hasn’t signed yet is to see if the club will match their desire to win the big trophies, we might not be able to buy Neymar but we can get the players who will be known as WC if given a chance in a tougher league… Show some fight in the transfer market now and buying WC players is something we can look at in a couple years time when the squad can only be improved by signing WC players.

    1. Jansen says:

      Alexis is gone and Wenger will wait too long to buy promising players. Lacazette will be north of 50 and just became 20 million more expensive this season we should have bought him last season. We also waited too long on Lukaku he is also out of our range now.

      When Man U bought Martial in 2015 they had to pay Monaco 36 million. Wenger thought that was crazy, Martial today is only 21 and seems a steal. Monaco would not sell Mbappe for less than 50 million our club won’t pay that and if he does not go to Real or an other big club than he will go for 75 or 80 million the following year.

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