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Ranking the 5 worst Arsenal signings in Premier League history

Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League
Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League

Arsenal are one of the most successful clubs in Premier League history.

The club has enjoyed its fair share of laurels over the years. With several league records to their name, Arsenal's time in the Premier League is most fondly remembered for the 'Invincibles' campaign of 2003-04.

Since then, the club has seen a great deal of ups and downs. The post-Highbury era saw the club go trophyless for a long period before finally winning the FA Cup to break the trophy drought.

The club has seen both ends of the spectrum with regards to players as well. Arsenal fans have enjoyed watching the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp during their halcyon days.

On the other end of the spectrum, there have been several signings that just didn't work out for the club. Let's take a look at the five worst Arsenal signings in Premier League history.


#5. Park Chu-Young

Arsenal v Shrewsbury Town - Carling Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Shrewsbury Town - Carling Cup Third Round

Park Chu-Young is one of the least-remembered players to have featured for Arsenal.

The South Korean signed in 2011 from Monaco for a reported £5.5 million. The fee, considered high at the time for a relatively unknown player, set lofty expectations that the forward could never achieve at Arsenal.

Chu-Young is known for one particular incident during his time in Lille - he was reported in Lille, set to sign, but walked out of the medical after hearing about the interest from Arsenal.

Remember Park Chu-young at Arsenal? 🇰🇷He was given the No. 9 shirt when he signed 🔴Yet he made just one Premier League appearance in three years 😕✍️ @emmasmithjourno

The forward started strongly, even scoring on debut against Bolton Wanderers. The next two years were a mixed bag: Chu-Young went out on loan twice and made only seven appearances for the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger: Park Chu-Young signing ‘still haunts me’ | via @beINSPORTS_EN goo.gl/oemPiU https://t.co/TG6NhZDN5L

Considering the fee that was paid for him and the wages over about three years, the South Korean contributed exactly one goal for the club. Certainly one name fans will forget in a hurry.


#4. Andre Santos

Arsenal FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League
Arsenal FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League

Andre Santos is one player who certainly will not make the Arsenal Hall of Fame.

The Brazilian was signed in 2011 to start at left-back and never looked up to the mark. He spent two years with Arsenal and was quite unimpressive during his stint in England.

I've made a decision: I refuse to watch Arsenal any more when Andre Santos is on the pitch. He shames the shirt.

Santos was signed from Fenerbahce for a reported €7 million. A fee that high was unheard of at the time for a left-back and gave the impression that the fans had finally got the player who would fix their defensive woes.

André Santos: from Arsenal misfit to being beaten up by his own fans gu.com/p/4va56/tw (Photo: Action) http://t.co/GoEDEfXuXF

Santos made 33 appearances in total for the club. He did put in a couple of good performances, but never really adapted to the English game. His positional awareness was underwhelming and he also lacked pace on the wings.


#3. Gervinho

Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League
Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League

Gervinho is widely regarded by Arsenal fans as one of the club's worst-ever signings in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international joined Arsenal in 2011 for a reported £10.8 million. The fee was always on the high side and had Arsenal fans thinking that they had found themselves a lynchpin in attack.

ON THIS DAY: In 2011, Gervinho joined Arsenal from Lille for £10m.He attempted 170 take-ons in the Premier League, but completed just 61. https://t.co/ptDWALhy76

Sadly, Gervinho did not resolve the club's issues. His Premier League career started off poorly as Gervinho was sent off on debut for a slapping incident involving Joey Barton.

Gervinho did have some good games during his three years with Arsenal. Ultimately, he only managed 11 goals in his 63 appearances for the club and was sold to Roma in 2013.


#2. Willian

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

Willian united the Arsenal fanbase like no one else. Unfortunately, the fans were against him playing for their club.

The Brazilian has enjoyed quite a successful career on the whole. The former Chelsea man had won two Premier League titles with the Blues before signing for Arsenal in 2020.

Signed on a free transfer, Willian was expected to bring a wealth of experience and creativity into the Arsenal attack. It is common to argue that it could have been the system that didn't enable Willian to play at his best, but most fans agree that he was a shadow of his former self after he joined the Gunners.

Willian has produced just two shots on target in his 20 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this season. https://t.co/xHJcA1qQaf

Willian made 37 appearances for Arsenal before terminating his contract in August 2021. His free transfer was not a saving grace either, as it was reported that Willian earned over £200,000 a week, further adding to the misery of Arsenal fans.

Willian’s parting message after leaving Arsenal. https://t.co/s6gOcoo67b

He provided seven assists during his year at the club, but scored just one goal for during the same period. His output was considered too low to represent Arsenal. Willian rejoined his boyhood club Corinthians in August 2021.


#1. Shkodran Mustafi

Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup
Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup

Arsenal signed Shkodran Mustafi in August 2016 for a reported £35 million.

Mustafi came to England with an impressive reputation. He won the FIFA World Cup with Germany in 2014 and was also outstanding during his spells at Sampdoria and Valencia.

Signed to be Arsenal's defensive leader, Mustafi turned out to be anything but. The lofty price tag came with heightened expectations, but the German failed to perform anywhere near that.

My Arsenal worst signing of the decade - Plenty to choose from, but in terms of expense and performance there is only one choice really and that’s Mustafi. It simply hasn’t worked. It’s been a disaster of a signing. https://t.co/JJkmZeu7yH

Mustafi built an ominous reputation for himself at Arsenal. He always looked uncertain on the ball and committed far too many mistakes leading directly to goal. His aerial ability was decent, but his distribution and decision making were seriously lacking.

Mustafi's Arsenal record:👤 99 games⚽️ 122 goals conceded🤕 113 fouls⛔️ 27 clean sheets🚫 25 yellow cards🙈 6 errors https://t.co/ELm1bf2HcR

Mustafi did pick up two FA Cup winners' medals with the Gunners, but his inadaptability was clear to see. The German ultimately left on a free transfer to Levante this summer and represents the side.

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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