During his 18 years in charge of Arsenal, Arsène Wenger signed a total of 126 players. With that in mind, Rush Football has decided to look at seven of his best signings…
At just 16-years-old, Spaniard Cesc Fabregas swapped Barcelona’s La Masia academy for London and over the course of the next eight years went on to become a key figure in the Gunners side. Despite just winning two trophies in his time at the club, Fabregas will be fondly remembered for his creativity, vision and workmanlike performances which won him the hearts of the supporters. He made over 300 appearances for Arsenal before returning to Barcelona in 2011 for a fee in excess of £30M.
Although he joined Arsenal prior to Arsène Wenger’s appointment, his decision to join the club was based on his fellow countryman’s imminent arrival. In an interview with the Daily Mirror in 1996 he said, “I am delighted to be joining Arsenal at the same time as Mr Wenger becomes their coach. Being able to speak French to him will make life a lot easier for me.” During his nine years at Arsenal, he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and three FA Community Shields. He was a vital member of the squad and will go down in history as one of the Invincibles.
Another Frenchman signed by Arsène Wenger was Thierry Henry, who joined the club from Juventus for an estimated fee of £11M. Arguably Arsène Wenger’s best signing as manager, the striker scored 174 goals in 254 Premier League appearances helping the club win six domestic trophies. It was his calm and clinical finishing that separated him from other strikers, seemingly unfazed when under pressure. He is currently listed as Arsenal’s greatest ever player on the club’s website.
Yet another Frenchman. Pires was signed by Arsenal for £6M in 2000, replacing the departing Marc Overmars who narrowly missed out on making this list. Over the next six seasons, he made over 200 appearances in all competitions, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. On the club’s website, he is sixth in the 50 greatest Gunners players in history.
Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg arrived in London from Swedish club Halmstad in 1998 for £3M. He played over 300 games for Arsenal, scoring 72 throughout his nine-year spell. He is currently head coach of the U23 side and listed as the 11th greatest Arsenal player in the club’s history.
Sol Campbell is the only defender to make our list. After making over 250 appearances for Tottenham, he joined fierce North London rivals Arsenal in 2001 in what can only be described as a highly controversial move. Following his move, he went on to make just under 200 appearances in all competitions helping the club win two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. Much to the anger of Tottenham supporters, he is currently the 15th greatest Gunner in the club’s history.
Brazilian Gilberto Silva joined Arsenal in 2003 from América Mineiro in his native homeland. Over the next five years, Silva played a vital role in the team in a defensive midfield position and was often referred to as the ‘invisible wall’. This was due to his style of play, which was to protect the defence by breaking up attacks before they gathered momentum. He made 244 appearances in all competitions for the club, winning five domestic trophies before leaving for Greek side Panathinaikos in 2008.
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