31
May
13

Top 10 Best Wenger Signings

Following on from my previous article “Wenger’s worst 10 signings” I have been asked to scribe an article profiling Arsene Wenger’s Top 10 Best signings. The choice was not really that hard as a lot of choices come from the Invincibles side, this seems like an absolute lifetime ago when for a short time Arsenal had set the benchmark for the style of football that was played. 

1. Thierry Henry

    Fussball

Hailed as nothing short as a god during his 8 years at the club, his performances were scintillating and inspirational. One specific memory was Henry’s amazing hat-trick in the Stadio Olympico against AS Roma from the 2002-03 season which will live long in the memory for me. Henry remains the top goalscorer with 228 goals from 377 games which is a sensational record. Not forgetting his 93 assists in his Arsenal career which I am sure many would agree would have to see him as Arsene Wenger’s best ever signing I am not sure the club will ever see the likes of another Thierry Henry. He proved all his doubters that were aplenty after his move from Juventus where it just did not work out for him bought as a winger and molded as a deadly Centre forward a lot of credit has to go to Wenger for this.

2. Robert Pires

    Fussball

Robert Pires will more than likely go down as one of the most creative players ever to grace the club. Definiteily one of the most gifted midfielders I have ever seen in my lifetime. An integral part of the invincibles side one of the few professionals that was equally as good with both feet much like Santi Cazorla. Pires was bought for what now seems an absolute snip at £6 million beating the likes of Real madrid and Juventus to his signature. He had a slow start to his Arsenal career but after he took a season to settle he started to put in some sensational displays and showed he was capable of the spectacular. One specific moment I recall was in the 2001-02 campaign where he latched onto a long range pass from Freddie Ljungberg chipped the ball over Villa midfielder Boateng then lobbed the on rushing Schmeichel. Pires much like henry scooped many awards in his time at the club he won 2 league titles and 3 FA Cups he would have to go down as one of the best ever Wenger signings.

3. Freddie Ljungberg

Signed for a cut price £3 million from Swedish side Halmstads BK back in 1998 he had 9 impressive seasons at the club scoring 46 goals in 216 appearances. He became known for his late runs from Midfield and scoring very vital goals especially when Pires picked up a serious injury that saw him missing for the last 2 months of the 2001-02 season. His performances late on that season helped clinched that title in a very impressive campaign.

4. Patrick Vieira

Vieira was Wenger’s first signing along with fellow Frenchman Remi Garde. Signed for £3.5 million from AC Milan where he never seemed to get much of an opportunity. Vieira was the complete midfielder screening the back four but was a typical old style box to box midfielder. He could definitely put his foot in but he offered so much more than that. He chipped in with some incredibly important goals and had scored some absolute gems. Vieira was captain material from day one. He was great at motivating his team and taking charge. He became renowned for taking the game by the scruff of the neck and making something happen. His passion also came with a bit of a temper though and found himself in several flash points with authority in his 9 years at the club. That a side he was and will always be an Arsenal stalwart 

5. Emmanuel Petit

Petit signed for £2.5 Million the season after Vieira arrived at Highbury and they formed a formiddable partnership in Midfield. At the time they were a million miles ahead of any other Midfield partnership in the Premier League. He won the League and Cup double within his first season and was an instant success. He provided stability to the Midfield and brought a lot more creativity. However his Arsenal career was quite short lived and was moved on to Barcelona in 2000 along with Arsenal favourite Marc Overmars.

6. Marc Overmars

Signed from Ajax in the summer of 1997 he became an instant hit linking up very impressively with fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp. He scored some very important goals for the club included one against Newcastle in the FA Cup and the only goal in a close fought game at Old Trafford. These goals helped Arsenal clinch the League and Cup double in his first season. Overmars played over 100 games in his 3 years at the club scoring 25 goals. He was moved on along with Petit to Barcelona for £25 million. 

7. Sol Campbell

Sol was signed on a free transfer from bitter and local rivals Tottenham, he was labelled as a “Judas” by their faithful. He always remained adamant that he did not leave for financial reasons and left to win trophies. This is a point that is hard to argue as he won a League and cup double in his first season. He sustained a serious injury the following season and Arsenal missed out on the League that season and had to make do with an FA Cup. Sol was partnered with Kolo Toure in 2003-04 and this proved to be a great fit and Sol won his second league and cup double with the club. He was to add a further FA cup to his name in 2004-05.

8. Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer (Lauren)

Lauren was signed in the summer of 2000 for a fee of around £7.2 million and proved to be a very versatile acquisition. In his 6 years at the club he had played Right back, Left back, Centre Back. on both wings too as well as deployed in a holding midfield role. It did not take long for Lauren to settle scoring his first goal in only his second competitive game for the club against Liverpool. He was far from prolific only scoring a further 6 goals for the club but they were all goals scored at very important times. he is probably the most underrated player in this list, like most of the list he won 2 League and cup doubles as well as a further FA cup in 2005.

9. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc was signed from Barcelona in 2003 and joined the Arsenal academy where he impressed almost straight away. He was used in the 2003-04 mainly in the League cup and as a sub in this campaign. It was not until the 2004-05 campaign where he figured a lot more in the first team on a regular basis. After the departure of Patrick Vieira he was handed his Number 4 shirt and featured heavily alongside Gilberto Silva. Throughout his Arsenal career there had always been speculation of his return to Spain but this did not happen for several seasons. Fabregas was made captain in the 2008-09 season and made it clear that he felt this to be a great honour and he took the responsibility on very well. However he sustained a knee injury against Liverpool which kept him out of action for 4 months in this time Arsenal dropped points and could only finish fourth and with no silverware. Fabregas only won the FA cup in 2005 I have to admit he should have won more with the club he had several near misses with the club as a runner up with the Champions league in 2006 and the Premier league in the previous year. The inevitable happened in 2011 when he departed for his boyhood team Barcelona in a fee to be reported at around £30 million included add-ons for trophies won and appearances.

10. Robin Van Persie

I did toy with whether to include Robin van Persie in this top ten but I thought to myself he had to be included. Putting aside whether you still hate him for “betraying” the club. You would have to agree in his time at Arsenal he had proved himself to be a world class striker and worthy of his place in the list. Signed from Feyenoord for a fee of £2.75 Million on a four year deal. He had some problems at Feyenoord and Wenger saw the opportunity to bring him to Arsenal and mold him into the player he is today. He had a very inconsistent start to his Arsenal career and seemed very injury prone indeed. Taking that into consideration he still had a very impressive goals record for the club scoring 132 goals in 277 appearances in all competitions. His final season was his most prolific with 37 goals in 48 games and seeing him pick up two footballer of the year awards and the golden boot. Every Arsenal fan does not need to be reminded what followed but i do believe he is worthy of this place in this list. lets not forget he single handed dragged Arsenal into the Champions league places last season.

• • •

There were a few that did not quite make it into this top ten the likes of Kolo Toure, Aleksander Hleb, matthieu Flamini, Gael Clichy, Samir nasri to name just a few. I truly believe this is Wenger’s top 10 signings it is no coincidence the majority of this list come from the two double winning sides this was a golden era for the club. 

 

Feel free to give feedback on your thoughts good or bad. 

 

Goonerscribe

 

you can also follow me on twitter.

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