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Ranking Arsenal’s five most expensive signings

Arsene Wenger Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry might not have been the most expensive signing Wenger ever made, but he certainly was the best

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a man who is known to have an eye for a bargain. Over the years, the wily Frenchman has made a habit of working shrewdly in the transfer market to pick off promising youngsters at excellent prices.

It has, however, been something of a source of frustration that they have not matched many of their rivals in the spending stakes, although if rumours of a £100 million bid for Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappe prove accurate, that could be about to change as the manager enters what is surely the twilight of his career in the dugout.

Here are his five biggest purchases for the Gunners, as well as how they have worked out.

#5 Jose Antonio Reyes - £17.4m from Sevilla

Arsene Wenger Jose Antonio Reyes
Jose Antonio Reyes never quite lived up to his potential at Highbury

Reyes might not have reached the potential that he showed early in his career, but there is little doubt that the young Spaniard was a strong signing for the Gunners – at least when he wanted to be there.

Back when Cesc Fabregas was strutting his creative talents in the heart of the midfield, Reyes had 18 promising months on the wing, helping ‘the Invincibles’ to the title when he first arrived in 2004. The next campaign started spectacularly as he scored six goals in the first six games, but thereafter his form dipped amid claims of homesickness further derailed his stay in North London.

He was sent off in the 2005 FA Cup final and his performances grew increasingly inconsistent the following year, ultimately moving to Real Madrid on loan and then to Atletico permanently a season later.

Reyes could have achieved so much more in the game – and for Arsenal.

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#4 Granit Xhaka - £34m from Borussia Monchengladbach

Arsenal Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka was arguably Arsenal’s biggest signing last summer

Wenger has been faced with claims that his side is not tough enough in the midfield, so it was natural for him to bring in an enforcer like Granit Xhaka to the side last summer. Arsenal fans would have been heartened by some bullish performances at Euro 2016, but initially, the 24-year-old was overzealous in the Premier League and twice saw red cards before the end of January.

However, his performances typically improved as the season wore on, and there is a good deal of hope that will continue over the course of his deal, which expires in 2021. If it does, his current rating will surely improve – he is a young man of plenty of promise.

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#3 Shkodran Mustafi - £35m from Valencia

Arsenal Shkodran Mustafi
Shkodran Mustafi was brought in Arsenal last summer to reinforce the backline

Remarkably, this is Shkodran Mustafi’s second spell with a Premier League side, having played his academy football with Everton, where he made his senior debut in a Europa League match against BATE. Spells with Sampdoria and Valencia, however, have improved the Germany internationally immeasurably and Wenger saw fit to make him Arsenal’s most expensive defender ever in the summer of 2016 – splashing out twice as much as he had on Calum Chambers.

His first season at Arsenal was interrupted by a couple of spells of a month out through muscular injuries, while a long-term problem for Per Mertesacker meant that he was thrown in at the deep end and became a regular starter. The 25-year-old coped admirably well, suffering his first league defeat in January. Indeed, his unbeaten run of 18 league games since debuting is a new club record.

He would appear to be a player to build the defence around for years to come.

#2 Alexis Sanchez - £35m from Barcelona

Arsene Wenger Alexis Sanchez
Arsene Wenger had invested a lot of money as well as faith in bringing Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona

Ask any Arsenal fan what they want from this transfer window, and the chances are that they will reply Alexis Sanchez to sign a new deal. Wenger has made some outstanding signings in his time, but the Chile international star ranks up there towards the top.

Over the course of the last three seasons, he has established himself as the Gunners’ go-to player, improving his statistics each year he has spent at the Emirates Stadium. Last term was undoubtedly his best to date. Often utilised in a centre-forward role, he scored 24 goals and produced 11 further assists in the Premier League, and hit the 30-goal mark overall for the first time in his career.

His industry has also been vital in leading the defensive effort from the front.

It is little wonder that so many of Europe’s top clubs are clamouring to sign the 28-year-old, and the £35 million that the Frenchman spent on him is now starting to look a bargain.

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#1 Mesut Ozil - £42.5m from Real Madrid

 Mesut Ozil Arsenal
Mesut Ozil’s signing had the Gunner dreaming

Mesut Ozil is a player who greatly divides opinion. He is Arsenal’s record signing, having arrived at the end of the summer 2013 transfer window, yet there are those who believe he has never truly filled his potential, arguing that he has a habit of going missing at important moments and failing to score enough goals.

What he does get, however, is assists. His personal best in a season is 25, which was achieved with Real Madrid in 2010-11, but since moving to the Premier League no-one has been able to match his tally of 42.

Like Sanchez, his future has been called into question this summer, and there are few Gunners who would be willing to see their record signing leave – a measure of the success he has had.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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