The Top 5 Worst Signings in Arsenal’s History

Top 5 Worst Signings in Club History

Arsenal is a club filled with history and legendary players. However, not all players look back at their time in London with a smile on their faces.

 In 2018, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came to Arsenal in one of the most expensive transfers in club history. Now, the Gabonese has been suspended from matches and lost his captaincy. Aubameyang’s contract extension can’t yet be named among the club’s worst signings ever. To make his way into that list, he faces quite some competition.

 Arsenal’s Worst Signings Ever

Through the years, we’ve learnt that signing players often can be a game of chance. Just like in online casino games, which can be found at Videoslots, there is a possibility of winning, but no way to ensure it. However, with good analysis before heading into a game or signing a player, you have a better chance of achieving a successful result. But sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.


Gervinho is the perfect example. The Ivorian joined Arsenal in 2011 after two successful seasons in Lille. Arsène Wenger had high hopes for the promising forward who cost around €10.8 million. However, he turned out to be the wrong man for the job to replace Samir Nasri.

 In 46 Premier League appearances, Gervinho scored 9 goals. This was, of course, way below expectations. Gervinho left Arsenal for Roma in 2013.

 Francis Jeffers

In 2001, Francis Jeffers came to London after leaving the blue side of Liverpool. The striker did not live up to expectations, and his nickname “Fox in the box” was not heard too frequently at Highbury.

 Jeffers only scored eight goals in his Arsenal career. These stats became even less flattering when Wenger revealed they chose between Jeffers and Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Dutchman won the Premier League with Manchester United, and Jeffers was sold to Charlton.

Alberto Mendez

In 1997, Nicolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars and Alberto Mendez joined Arsenal. Three of the names made huge impacts for the Gunners and earned the love of the fans. Mendez, on the other hand, went in another direction. Eleven appearances and one goal later, the German midfielder was shipped off.

Lucas Pérez

In his last season for Deportivo La Coruña, Lucas Pérez scored 17 goals in the league, helping the team escape relegation. The performances attracted the interest of Arsenal, who had little success upfront in the pitch.

However, Pérez was not able to solve the problems. After only one goal in eleven performances, the Spanish forward was loaned back to Deportivo, and then sold to West Ham.

Mesut Özil

To finish this list, we must mention Mesut Özil. After three years in Real Madrid, Özil made a record-breaking move to Gunners with less than an hour left of the summer transfer window in 2013.

 Özil was not an instant flop when he came to London. The German stood for some stunning performances, which led to a contract extension. This is where things went completely wrong.

In the season of 2020/21, Özil was dropped from the Premier League squad. This despite him being the best paid player in the team, with a weekly salary of €350,000.

Which Name Should be Added to the List?

The players above are just a few of the worst signings in club history. Here are some more players getting nightmares when looking back at their time with the Gunners:

  • Andre Santos
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan
  • Park Chu-Young
  • Sébastien Squillaci
  • Shkodran Mustafi
Tags Worst Signings


    1. What constitutes a bad signing?
      Money spent on them?
      Or all the above?

      1. Also, the club’s history goes back all the way to 1886. Were there no worse signings through these 130+ years?

      2. Goonster, Great ask! It means different things to different fans and is therefore a subjective question.
        My own view is that our worst signing in my 63 years since first attending is certainly Ozil and by a considerable distance, given the harm he did to us.

        But if you include all humans, including Kroenke, who is, technically speaking a “human”, then that would dwarf the damage OZIL did by many times over.
        Owners always do more good or harm than any single player ever can!

        1. I feel so sorry for you Mr. Fox, how you could hate Ozil this way.
          You come hear preaching realism but end up not being one. Look deep into the mirror and ask yourself, in your supposed 63 years of being a fun of The Arsenal, is Ozil really the worst player in football sense

          1. Scarlet,
            I did NOT say he was the worst player in that time. Clearly he was not. What I actually DID say was that he was the worst signing in that time.
            I, perhaps foolishly, overestimated the intelligence of some fans to understand that the worst sighing was not also the worst player. Had he been the worst player he would not have been signed at all when he first came.
            He was the worst SIGNING, as he was expensive, accepted far too much in wages and gave practically no effort back in return for all that he received ,including the adulation from less bright fans who were not able to see the harm he did to us.

            Hopefully NOW, you might, just MIGHT be able to see further than your nose and learn a little bit about how selfish, even though inately talented players can cost a club, when their desire and effort is so much smaller than their talent.

  1. For the overall funds spent I would say that Ozil was the worst waste of money signing.
    So much hype and worship from a very loyal cult-like following. We spent more than £100 million on the whole thing while we got nothing but excuses, disrespect, laziness, PR STUNTS 24/7 instead of improving his performances. Caused so much disruption and division like I have never seen before.

    I feel like Pepe is going the same “Money wasted route”. The difference with him is the he does not have a cult following, PR stunts and an over inflated ego. But we should all be honest for the supposed £70 million we paid he has been a complete disappointment so far.

    Gervinho was not one of the worst signing in my opinion. His forehead might be the biggest place since the size of the universe but for the money we paid and performances, he did not do any worse than say Pepe has done so far. Gervinho and Pepe are similar level of talent but we paid £60 milliom more for Pepe. Go figure.

    Santos was very bad.

    But thinking about it, my goodness, we have signed some donkeys since 2010. What a joke.

    1. I much agree and – having posted myXhaka above reply before reading this post of yours – was delighted to see us as one on the immense harm Ozil did.
      It was even worse than mere financial disaster, as it set a long lasting and even now (still a little lingering) wrong tone, with one or two still here from his time(I ESP THINK OF KOLAS).
      MA has almost removed all the deadwood who lack balls and heart. Auba being the last one – as Kolas is effectively never likely to play again, barring injury or Covid calamities.

      I was baffled to see Gervinho included in the worst five and much disagree with him as anywhere near that level.

      Yes he ultimately failed but there have been countless signings who did FAR more damage than he ever did.

  2. The football clubs have made bad signings, if we view them from a performance or financial standpoint

    Despite the bad players’ notorieties, some of them have won some minor trophies or brought some profit into the club by selling merchandises/ their popularities. This is why a highly popular player could divide the fan base, depending on the fan’s football concept and culture

    In my opinion, a player’s achievement or failure at Arsenal isn’t worth to argue about if he hasn’t won EPL, UCL or EL for us

    1. Shhhh! Prof Wenger cannot be wrong for the AKBs. The only wrong doer is Mikel. His chargesheet – getting rid of Ozil, Mustafi and the rest of the dross.

      My pick would be
      Debushi, Mustafi, Sylvestre, Schilaci, Jenko, Andre, Kolasinac
      Xhaka (when Kante was avaliable for less), Elneny
      Gervino, Ozil, Perez, Young
      Assano, Sanogo, Welbeck, Perez

      The writer talks of the worst signings in our history, and all and more happen to be in his reign, and yet some dub him as the “greatest” manager.

  3. Kallstrom, Chamakh, Asano, Miyaichi, (Wilshere Diaby, kept too long when injured) Sanogo Debuchy, Djouro, Lord Bendtner, Carl Jenkinson. Danny Welbeck

  4. What a load of nonsense. How could you not add Diaby to this list? He used up a Place in the team, high wages and was injured almost consistently for 8 years.

    Willian should be much higher.
    I’d put Robin Van Persie on there with this logic; Wenger refused to buy another forward while we had him, And he Spent most of 7 out of 8 years injured. In those years we had to use bendtner up front. No player cost arsenal more silverware than RVP. No way

    1. He did well until when he was benched by Robin Van Persie because Wenger at that point was playing one striker.There are other names worthy of being on this list than him

  5. What kind of bad writing is This? How dare you pull out half truths just to prove a non existing point.
    Perez was shipped out because of 1 goal in What? Where did his champions league hattrick go to? Someone who never got a good chance to prove himself.

    Ozil worst signing? Emotions over logic. We were trophyless and it was becoming a cash cow for the media until we signed Ozil, during his time he won FA Cups and Community Shields. So from a trophy angle he gave us that and ended our drought.
    Secondly financially none of us can really say because we are not Arsenal’s accountants. But we can try to read it. Ozil had a large following, at a point the largest twitter following, plus a great brand and profile, a business man who surely knows how to market himself and his products. Ozil made millions for Arsenal in this regards. Always amongst the players who were used for adverts and merchandise sales. For a number of seasons he was always the highest shirt selling player and a lot of people on here used that to mock him. Even when he was not highest he was always in the top 3 to top 5.
    Adverts, shirt sales, all club merchandise, increasing club brand and all commercially related issues, I will say Ozil was a great business. That’s why even when he was ostracised the club would always use him in fronting commercial things, they knew the player was money for them. Do you all think the club didnt take into account how much Ozil was generating for them before they decided to offer him the 350k so as not to let the brand go especially after loosing Sanchez. I’ll say they had to pay him off when they knew his issue had gotten to a point where they would have made negative returns.
    So I’ll say Ozil generated way more for Arsenal in his stay than he was paid.

    To bring this to a close I’ll say Ozil is not amongst our worst signing but definitely up there when it comes to “most controversial signings”.

    1. The year we signed Yaya Sanogo, we ended our trophy drought. What a signing it turned out to be! Lifted the moral in the camp.

    2. @Chapo
      The fallacious “Ozil ended our trophy drought” claim.
      Or may be it was because of us signing Flamini or Yaya Sanogo? How did you rule that out?

      Or may be because of Ramsey, Santi, wilshere, Giroud in the final? Have you ever considered this possibility too?

      The old “Shirt Selling Genius”.
      And if he was making so much money for the club then how come Arsenal were desperate to get rid of him the moment they realised they had made a massive mistake in renewing his contract in 2018/19?

      And do you think Ozil sold Arsenal merchandise worth anywhere near the more than £100 million that was invested in him?

      1. “Or may be because of Ramsey, Santi, wilshere, Giroud in the final” and how many droughts did they end before Mesut arrival?

        I am disappointed that a rational person would use a Sanogo signing as counter argument. It’s so sad it makes me cry. How many minutes did Sanogo play? How many assists, how many goals?

        By that ridiculous logic are we going to discredit the great Thierry success because he played with Francis Jeffers?

  6. That some fans think the ozil signing was one of our worst beggars belief as his record shows even surrounded by some utterly hapless players … boosting his contract to 300 grand a week is another question … some of the low cost French and Swiss players were really poor of course but dollar for dollar Pepe has to be up there along with xhaka and mustafi

    1. Pound for pound it is the whole Arsenal squad and their manager for the past two seasons. Champions League winners salaries for 8th palace finish.

  7. So our “history” goes back well over 100 years yet all the worst players we have signed in our “history” were in the last 20 years or so?

    1. To be fair many articles and headlines are over simplified for the 30 second attention span folk of which there are many. Any more than two options challenges many casual readers. As for history many fans find it hard to recall the result of games two weeks ago. The Everton game is in the stone age. Arsene Wenger for many fans is 200 light years ago. History for the current generation has been consigned to history 🙂

  8. This is an agenda against Ozil
    He contributed to 4 FA Cups and a team who finished 2nd
    Can name you plenty of players in his position who didn’t do that

  9. Ozil has the 3rd highest assists in the club history, he contributed immensely to ending our trophy drought and created so many chances in the final third of the pitch. He was surrounded by controversies but definitely not one of our worst signing or else you will have to define what you mean by ‘worst signings’.

      1. Even though you have written the article but do you really believe Mesut is one of our worst signings? He is not even a bad signing let alone worst. He should be named in the list our best signings. That is where he belongs.

        1. Like Dan Kit said, the word ‘Ozil’ is a bait, whenever Ozil name is appear on article, everybody paid attention.

          Except for two or three persons in this JA, we all know he is one of the good signing.

      2. If u have something against Ozil that’s ur problem. He was a great player even though not a legend. I know Chelsea and Tottenham fans who loved Ozil. If u hate him don’t disregard his contriburiond.

  10. How Ozil made the list of bad signings the guy had the best season when he was playing under Wenger with Sanches up front some of the goals and assists were unreal from him.Do not juge Ozil on the pay cut that he did not want to take when Covid hit.
    He was offering to pay the wages for the mascot what happend is clearly he was frozen by Arteta and the board.he was a magician you can not compare him with the rest of the useless players that are on that list.
    World cup winer as well.

  11. Although I would agree that Ozil’s career faded in his last two seasons at Arsenal. He is not,in my opinion, one of the worst signings in recent times.
    I just wonder how many of the current Arsenal players will ever achieve that which Ozil has in football.

  12. Safe to say that this will be my last time at your blog. Mesut Ozil had the most assists and created the most chances in the premier league from 2013-14 to 2017-18. That’s another way of saying that he dominated the prem for about 5 seasons in terms of playmaking. He’s been mostly underwhelming since he signed the new deal, but at the end of the day he’s done way more good than harm to the club.
    My apologies if you were trying to be sarcastic by mentioning Ö.

    1. Unfortunately for us, you will not be here to read his reply as this will be your last time on this blog. Good luck in your future endeavours, feel free to take the rest of the Ozil fanbase with you.

  13. Stepanovs by a mile.
    Diaby’s career was literally ended by a knob called Dan Smith in a sick tackle at the end of a game in Sunderland when we were 3-0 up (at least). He would have been better than Vieira. Cannot be a bad signing. Maybe we held on too long but that was out of compassion.

  14. Every Club has its list of “howlers” but if it were possible to produce a League based on them, I suspect we would make the top four. During the past 5 years, Barcelona would top the League and Liverpool would be around the bottom.

  15. Lucas Perez looked class whenever I saw him play – decision-making was brilliant, looked capable from the wing or through the centre and I thought he could have scored/set up a lot of goals if given the chance. Got the impression Wenger just didn’t like him.
    Anyway, you use different criteria for each person, which doesn’t make sense. You need to define your criteria for a “bad” signing and go based on that.

  16. what an absolutely ridiculous article considering the conclusions drawn…how can anyone with even half a brain create a top 5 worst signings ever list and include the likes of Ozil, Gervinho and Perez…not exactly sure what the underlying agenda was for this article, but minus maybe Jeffers this was an nonsensical baiting expedition

  17. Ozil was probably one of our best signings than worst signings. He’s a generational talent. You go ask any fan about Ozil and they will say that. Arsenal fans unfortunately focus on the controversy and the fact he was on such a big wage.
    All our attacking mids in ESR/Odegaard etc don’t and won’t come close to the technical ability and skill he had. In the final third he was one of the best and that’s where we struggle at present still.

  18. Yes, Arsenal brought in some useless players over the years but we didn’t pay much for them. Wenger didn’t have any money and was always looking around for any leftovers. You are bound to have some bad cheap signings when picking from the bottom of the pile. Want to talk about bad and expensive signings look at Man U and Chelsea.

  19. This writer is drunk.Why would he put Ozil’s name there as one of Arsenal worse signing ever?Ozil did well for Arsenal.lets be grateful

  20. Gervinho was just not popular amongst Arsenal fans, I remember a couple of times he combined so well with VP. Considering what we paid he doesn’t come close to that lable of a worst signing.

  21. This article must be based on sentiment and not on facts or statistics.

    Example: Mesut Ozil’s assists per game percentage for AFC is better than both Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. It will be interesting to know if AW agrees with you.

  22. Why Ozil, three FA Cup wins and made Sanchez look great while playing for an unambitious manager. Why not Xhaka, boring to watch and represents everything that has gone bad at Arsenal over the past six years

  23. I wouldn’t put Ozil on this list. For one, he wasn’t a flop by any means and gave us some fun memories. He was world class for a few. For two, it isn’t his fault that our team desperately needed to invest in defense or CM yet chose to invest in another attacker, and we “stunk” because of that decision. For three, it also isn’t his fault we offered a goblet of gold a day for his services bc of fan intimidation after the Alexis debacle.

    However, I don’t respect Ozil. At all. He coasted and collected a paycheck, often fading in games that demanded any sort of physical exertion. I could say a lot more, but he really doesn’t deserve to be on this list. A quality player who produced much more than, say, Pepe.

  24. When it came to signings , aresenal have made terrible ones. Johan Djirou, squilaci, Sylvester, alliadiare, chamach, denilson, about diaby ( the worst of the lot )

  25. This is laughable…
    Worst signing in Arsenal

    Hell yeah…they are all worst .
    The author of this piece of writing is just sentimental sorry to say. Ozil was a talent and when he had the choice to leave even Sanchez the beloved left, he stayed. Your Nasri left, Song left, van left, Fab left refuses to sign contract extension. Now tell me, if someone is given a contract extension and a pay rise in the footballing world is it not because he is valuable. What happened to Ozil at arsenal was not caused by an onfield footballing issue but off field which was internal issue. So Ozil is not a worst signing, is just another player that benefited from Wenger style of play and Wenger understood his strength and value. Emery and Arteta don’t . Give Wenger a player like Pepe he will be world class. Nasri after leaving arsenal was garbage likewise Alex song. So wenger turns garbage to valuable products a feat I can’t say for Arteta . So please Ozil is not in anyway a worst signing.

  26. Ozil can never be in that bracket. Left out notable names like
    Yaya sanogo
    Kim kalstrum
    Park chu young
    Francis jeffers
    Those are my top 5 worst signings

  27. Ozil one of our worst signings?really??he’s still doing his stuffs in Turkey with 7 to 8 goals to his name this season.he had more assists than the great Dennis,how can he be a bad player?this is a click bait.

  28. For me Ozil was the most great player in Arsenal. And no one moral to call his name in such a bad lists. Rather Arsenal lost a greatest legendary ok!

  29. well, here is my choice……

    You seem to have all forgotten Abou Diaby.

    A great, great, player when on the pitch, but sadly the VAST majority of his time at Arsenal was spent on the DL.

    (DL: Disabled List)

  30. This disagreement cant bring any change for Arsenal. We rather debate on who will come in and who will leave. That one will at list give some food foe thought to the club hierarchy to do some thing in this transfer. No body joins a club to become a bad signing.

  31. Footballing-wise Ozil is not the 5 worst for us. He did help us win some trophies (even tho many others players outshone him on those runs). And nobody can deny he was talented and was part of some great moments with us. Everything else made this player totally not worth it though. The whole period was a never-ending nightmare drama, that many of us wanted ended much much sooner.

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