Arsenal might not be as big a spending club as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United, but they’ve still made plenty of big signings over the years, bringing world-class performers like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the Premier League.
Unfortunately, the Gunners have also had a lot of transfer misses to go along with their hits, maybe not wasting as much money as some of their rivals but certainly bringing plenty of ridicule onto the club.
Here are the 5 worst signings in Arsenal’s history – with a handful of honourable mentions.
#1 Kim Kallstrom
Beginning his career in the late 1990s, Kim Kallstrom made a name for himself across Europe as a classy midfielder who could operate as both a deep-lying playmaker and in a more attacking style. He won France’s Ligue 1 with Lyon on two occasions and even became Sweden’s fourth-most capped player, but unfortunately, his move to Arsenal didn’t work out at all.
Why? Injuries, essentially. Kallstrom was signed by the Gunners in January 2014 to provide cover in midfield, but the then-31-year-old was already past his physical best and arrived while rehabbing a back injury. The Swede’s Arsenal career ended just five months later after making only 4 appearances, basically meaning his time at the Emirates was pointless.
#2 Park Chu-Young
South Korea’s Park Chu-Young was always a bizarre signing for Arsenal, summed up by the fact that he apparently walked out of a medical with French club Lille on late notice to head to North London in August 2011. He scored his first goal for the club a couple of months later in an EFL Cup tie with Bolton, but then largely vanished from view.
Park made just 6 appearances for the Gunners in his debut season – just one in the Premier League, as a late substitute – before moving to Celta Vigo on loan. One more appearance for Arsenal followed, in October 2013, and a loan move to Watford only allowed him two more games. Just a season later he was back in Korea with a reputation as one of Arsenal’s greatest flops.
#3 Yaya Sanogo
French youngster Yaya Sanogo joined Arsenal in the summer of 2013 following a breakthrough at Auxerre, where he’d scored 10 goals in 13 appearances during the previous season in Ligue 2. To say the move to North London didn’t work out however would be a huge understatement.
Used largely as a substitute at the Emirates, Sanogo made 14 appearances in all competitions in his debut season, but failed to score a goal. 6 appearances followed in 2014/15 and he even found the net in a Champions League match with Borussia Dortmund, but it was clear that he just wasn’t up to standard, and he was loaned to Crystal Palace that January – and never played for Arsenal again.