The Arsenal that we see now might be an object of ridicule among many. With disappointments after disappointments every season, Arsene Wenger has found it difficult to bring success to his beloved club.
Despite all that, Arsenal is still regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in the world – a club, which most upcoming players dream to play for.
As a result, a lot of world-class players have played for Arsenal over the years and have done well with the Gunners. However, there have been some cases when the North Londoners signed players who weren’t up to the mark and didn’t really deserve to play for the club – and here are 5 such cases:
#5 Emmanuel Frimpong
The only thing Arsenal fans will remember Frimpong for is his big claims. He was thought to be the next best thing to come out of Arsenal's youth academy, but he was far from what fans thought him to be.
It was not only the fans, however, as even Wenger rated him highly.
"I believe Frimpong has done really well as well. He is a bit less of a dribbler but he is a fighter and he is a winner," he once said about the Ghanaian.
Unfortunately, however, he wasn’t even half as good as people rated him to be. An ACL injury didn’t help the cause either as it kept him out for a period of 9 months, after which he could not come out the same again. He finally made his Arsenal debut in August 2011 but failed to make an impact – except for creating the word ‘dench’ for himself. He now plays for the club Ermis Aradippou in Cyprus.
#4 Igors Stepanovs
The Ogre-born Latvian defender was signed by Wenger as a backup to Tony Adams after the then Arsenal captain was out injured in 2000.
Igors cost Arsenal £1.35 million, which might not seem like much, but for someone who couldn’t add anything to the team, that was money wasted.
Wenger soon figured it out, however, that this wasn’t a player that could be a part of the backline and guard the goalkeeper. But, as is the case with the Frenchman, he persisted with him for four years before finally giving up.
In those four years, Stepanovs played in 31 games in all competitions for the Gunners before he was let go to Beveren – a club with which Arsenal had a co-operation agreement.
#3 Sebastian Squillaci
Whenever Squillaci came onto the field, Gooners lost their voices in trying to make sense of his play– such was the negative impact that Squillaci had at the club. He was signed along with Laurent Koscielny as a cover to the perennially injured Thomas Vermaelen in 2010.
However, unlike Koscielny, who made a great comeback after the initial tough months, Squilacci failed to show any glimpse of hope with his presence in the backline.
The Frenchman played a lot of games in his first season – 32 in all competitions to be exact – but was rarely used in the following two seasons, and ended his Arsenal career with 39 games in all competitions from his three years at the club. His contract wasn’t extended and he was let go on a free transfer.
#2 Alberto Mendez
Mendez played for a non-league side in Germany, which was named SC Feucht, when Wenger spotted him in 1997 and thought that he had found a gem for the Gunners.
However, after only a while, everyone from fans to the board realized that the German wasn’t of the level that Wenger thought he was. Indeed, he was perhaps better off in the non-league, because he looked closer to that level than the Premier League.
It is not that Wenger gave up on him too early. He played 11 official games for the Gunners and was also sent out on loan multiple times in his Arsenal career in order to revive himself, but he just wasn’t good enough.
In the end, he left Arsenal for Racing Ferrol and faded to the obscurity of the German lower-leagues later on.
#1 Park Chu Young
This player joining Arsenal was seen in a shocking light by many. Park Chu Young was apparently on his way to sign for Lille and allegedly left his hotel room prior to his medical there because he heard of Arsenal’s interest in him and wanted to play for them instead.
Perhaps even he knew that he would be too lucky to play for the North London club, and was waiting to pounce on the opportunity. He did get the chance he was waiting for, and Wenger handed him the number 9 shirt after getting him on board in 2011. However, the Frenchman soon realized that the man from Monaco could not solve Arsenal's attacking crisis then.
In his time at Arsenal – which lasted just a little over two seasons – he could only manage to play one league game and was consistently out of the club on loan spells. Right now, he plays for FC Seoul in South Korea.