Arsenal's well-documented adventures in the transfer market have seen the Gunners move through a variety of masterstrokes and blunders over the years. The North London giants have not been particularly lucky with their transfer decisions in the past decade and have been in dire need of a sound transfer policy in recent seasons.
The Gunners have a reputation of shying away from large transfer fees and adopted a youth-oriented approach to their squad-building under Arsene Wenger. Arsenal have often unearthed footballing gems with their excellent scouting networks but have been unable to keep their best talents at the club for a variety of sporting and financial reasons.
Arsenal need to make some changes to their transfer policy
Arsenal have not been at their best and have had to make do with a place in the Europa League in recent years. Arsene Wenger relied heavily on his scouting network to build his teams and experienced varying degrees of success over his storied career.
With their inability to bring in world-class players and a series of underwhelming league performances forming a vicious cycle, Arsenal have struggled to compete with their Premier League rivals over the past decade. Here is a list of Arsenal's ten most expensive transfers of all time.
#10 William Saliba (£27 million)
Arsenal have suffered from a series of defensive problems since the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny left the club. The Gunners have tried and failed to establish reliable centre-back partnerships in the Premier League on several occasions and the signing of William Saliba was meant to be a turning point for Arsenal's defence.
Saliba's first season at Arsenal was not a particularly fruitful one for the young defender, however, as Mikel Arteta relied on his more experienced players. William Saliba was often sidelined by the Arsenal management and had to ply his trade with the Gunners' youth teams on several occasions.
The youngster is now putting in impressive displays for Nice in Ligue 1 and will want to revive his fortunes at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta's defenders are not getting any younger and William Saliba may well play a pivotal role for Arsenal in the years to come.
#9 Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£30.6 million)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a part of Thomas Tuchel's impressive Borussia Dortmund side and was widely regarded as one of the most creative passers of the ball in Europe. The Armenian national started his Premier League career with Manchester United but failed to make an impact with the Red Devils.
The talented midfielder was involved in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez and made the switch to Arsenal in the 2018 winter transfer window. Mkhitaryan was brilliant in his first few games for the Gunners and bagged three assists in his first start for Arsenal.
Arsenal's Premier League fortunes began to diminish under Unai Emery, however, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's stint in the Premier League eventually turned sour. The Armenian midfielder secured a transfer to the Serie A and is now producing world-class performances for AS Roma.
#8 Shkodran Mustafi (£36.9 million)
Arsenal are known for their ill-advised endeavours in the transfer market but their decision to bring Shkodran Mustafi to London arguably takes the cake. The German World Cup winner was rated highly by several clubs in Europe a few years ago and Arsenal decided to pay a sizeable transfer fee to avail the defender's services.
Mustafi had an excellent start to life at Arsenal and was an important part of the squad after his arrival. The German centre-back's stint at the club gradually began to fall off the rails, however, with Arsenal's fortunes suffering as a result.
The former Valencia centre-back made several individual errors during his time at the club and was not particularly a fan favourite in his last season. Arsenal eventually decided to part ways with Mustafi and were unable to recover the defender's transfer fee.
#7 Alexis Sanchez (£38.25 million)
Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger was famous for his shrewd approach to the transfer window and the decision to shell out in excess of £38 million for Chilean star Alexis Sanchez was a departure from the norm for the French manager. Arsenal were in need of a talismanic forward at the moment and Alexis Sanchez seemed to be the ideal fit.
Alexis Sanchez was a force to reckon with under Arsene Wenger in his first season at the club and scored an impressive 72 goals in his first three seasons at the club. The former Barcelona winger endured a shocking slump in his fourth season, however, and fell out of favour with Arsenal's management.
Sanchez ended his Arsenal career on an unfortunate low and secured a switch to Premier League rivals Manchester United in 2018. The South American superstar currently plays for Inter Milan and has struggled to revive his fortunes in Europe.
#6 Granit Xhaka (£40.5 million)
Granit Xhaka's transfer was a result of Arsenal's spending spree towards the end of Arsene Wenger's reign and it is safe to say that the Swiss star is yet to justify his price tag. Xhaka does have the ability to become an excellent midfielder in the Premier League but has often been let down by his temperament in the past.
The former FC Basel prodigy has had his moments at Arsenal and is capable of scoring the occasional wonder-goal. Granit Xhaka was given Arsenal's captaincy but an infamous incident with the Gunners' fans brought his reign to an end.
Granit Xhaka has remained a part of Mikel Arteta's plans this season and will have to work hard to keep his place in the side. The Arsenal midfielder has managed one goal and two assists this season and has a long way to go to redeem himself in the eyes of one of London's most passionate fanbases.
#5 Mesut Ozil (£42.3 million)
Mesut Ozil was one of the world's best midfielders when he joined Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side. The German World Cup winner had an excellent first season at the club and guided the Gunners to yet another top-four finish in 2014.
Ozil was an exceptional playmaker and produced sensational moments of brilliance at Arsenal. As is the case with most creative maestros in the beautiful game, however, the German midfielder's work-rate left much to be desired and drew some criticism from pundits and sections of the Arsenal fanbase.
The former Real Madrid midfielder's star began to fade after Arsene Wenger's departure and subsequent rifts with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta eventually led to his departure. Ozil continues to occupy a special place in Arsenal's footballing folklore, however, and is arguably one of the most talented players to have worn the club's shirt in the present era.
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#4 Thomas Partey (£45 million)
Arsenal are in a period of transition at the moment and are yet to hit their peak under Mikel Arteta. The Spanish manager was tasked with stabilising the squad after a turbulent period under Unai Emery and has done a fairly commendable job.
The Gunners will have to restore their former glory sooner rather than later, however, and Mikel Arteta has a gargantuan task ahead of him. The former midfielder signed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid earlier this season after a long-drawn transfer saga.
Partey is yet to replicate his exemplary La Liga performances in the Premier League, however, and has endured an injury-ridden first season at Arsenal. The Frenchman is capable of extraordinary things and can become the Gunners' first-choice box-to-box midfielder for years to come.
#3 Alexandre Lacazette (£47.7 million)
Arsenal had to win an intriguing bidding war with Atletico Madrid to sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon in 2017 and had to spend in excess of £47 million to avail the French striker's services. Lacazette was one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe at the time and his signing was meant to give the Gunners a distinct cutting edge in the final third.
Lacazette is yet to become a prolific goalscorer for Arsenal and his injuries over the years have prevented the Gunners from getting the best out of their powerful striker. The former Lyon man was often sidelined by Unai Emery at the beginning of his reign but found his shooting boots and went on to become Arsenal's player of the season in 2019.
Alexandre Lacazette has become an effective support striker under Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and often serves as the ideal foil for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe. The French forward does have a knack for scoring important goals and will play an important role for the Gunners this year.
#2 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£57.38 million)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been one of Arsenal's best signings over the past decade. The Gabonese striker joined the club in 2017 and made an immediate impression on Arsenal's management with his pace and composure in the final third.
The 2018-19 season saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at his lethal best for Arsenal. The former Borussia Dortmund striker won the Premier League Golden Boot with an impressive 22-goal tally and was Arsenal's best player by a country mile.
Aubameyang was also instrumental to Arsenal's FA Cup victory in 2020 and has been a positive influence as a captain. The striker has endured a difficult Premier League campaign so far but his resurgence is likely only a matter of time.
#1 Nicolas Pepe (£72 million)
Nicolas Pepe sent shockwaves through the Premier League when he joined Arsenal for a massive transfer fee in 2019. The former Lille superstar was expected to lead the Gunners' push for a top-four finish under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta in his first season at the club but has taken his time to adapt to the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta has used his star prodigy judiciously this season and has given Nicolas Pepe the space he needs to improve his skills. The Arsenal winger has electric pace and is a formidable dribbler but has plenty of work to do on his final product.
Pepe has occasionally produced spectacular goals for Arsenal and has the potential to become one of the Premier League's best forwards. The Ivorian starlet has three goals and three assists in the league so far and is capable of much more for the Gunners.
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