Arsene Wenger's most expensive XI at Arsenal in 20 years
1 October 2016 is a landmark day for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. It marks the 20th anniversary of the day he arrived at the north London club as a virtually unknown foreign manager in the Premier League and took over the reins of one of England’s finest clubs that was struggling to make its mark.
20 years on, Arsenal has become a model club for teams around Europe as Wenger first won titles, then rebuilt the club after the move to the Emirates and started yet another era of winning trophies – all the while without dropping out of the top four and Champions League football.
Along the way, he has signed a number of world class players and young talent with an eye on the future. In an era of inflated transfer markets, Wenger has managed to ensure the club never lost their head when chasing a player’s signature.
We formed a XI of his most expensive signings in the past two decades.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech – £10m
At the start of the 2015/16 season, Arsenal were the only club in Europe’s top tiers to not sign an outfield player. Indeed, their only signing was Petr Cech with the business conducted as early as June. Two months later, no other player was signed.
While most fans were outraged when the window slammed shut, they welcomed the signing of an experienced goalkeeper. Not since Wenger signed Jens Lehmann had the Gunners had a world class goalkeeper between the sticks, commanding the defensive line.
In reality, Cech was an opportunistic signing. Discarded by Chelsea in favour of a younger Thibaut Courtois, Cech was looking for another club in London as he did not want to displace his family. And club owner Roman Abramovich gave him his blessings after a decade of service at Stamford Bridge, much to the angst of then Blues boss Jose Mourinho.