Arsene Wenger is known in the transfer market to find the diamonds in the rough. Wenger has found and brought in players from the depths of obscurity and moulded them into players of the highest quality in recent years.
However, Le Professeur, like everyone else, can’t always get it right, and would have probably wished he never signed some of the players that have modelled the Arsenal shirt in the past.
This article will list Wenger’s top 10 worst ever transfer signings since taking charge of the North London club 14 years ago.
So, here is that list in chronological order, starting from 1996…enjoy:
Luis Boa Morte
Boa Morte was one of Wenger’s first ever signings as Arsenal boss. The Portuguese attacking winger was brought to the club from Sporting CP for a fee of £1.75 million in 1996. The winger spent 3 years at Arsenal making a total of 37 appearances and scoring just the 4 times for the gunners.
He wasn’t a speedy winger, a super-sub and he was certainly not a good finisher…nothing special at all. With every passing year, Boa Morte saw less and less of the football pitch, and was eventually flogged off to Southampton for a fee of £500,000…a total flop for Arsenal football club.
Wenger knew of Wreh when he was manager of Monaco and brought the striker to Arsenal from the French side in 1997 for £300,000. Wreh was merely a back-up striker and was fourth in the pecking order behind Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka…So why Wenger drafted him in was beyond me. However, Wreh did manage to score some vital goals for the Gunners, but as the years went by, Wenger brought in a Frenchman by the name of Thierry Henry, which eventually saw Wreh leave Highbury in 2000.
The Liberian forward’s record for Arsenal stands at 46 appearances (mainly coming on as a substitute) and netting just the 5 times in 3 years…Not a good record at all.
The Ukrainian was dubbed by many as ‘the horse’ and boy did he live up to that name. Wenger recruited Luzhny from Dynamo Kiev in 1999 for £1.8 million and was supposed to be a long-term replacement for the legendary Arsenal right-back Lee Dixon. Unfortunately, his lack of pace proved to be disastrous in the English game and was never comfortable playing for the gunners in his 4 year stay.
His willingness and desire was admirable, but never hid the fact that he guy was simply not an Arsenal player.
Pennant was signed at the age of 15 by Wenger in 1999 for £2 million (a record fee for a trainee at the time) from Notts County.
He endured long spells on the bench at Highbury and unfortunately the Englishman never lived up to his potential. Instead, the winger suffered from major disciplinary problems which affected him from settling into the club. Pennant had a couple of loan spells at Watford and Leeds United before he was let go by Arsenal and was sent packing to Birmingham City in 2004.
Possibly the worst signing Wenger has ever made in his managerial career. Why Stepanovs was bought to the club is beyond me and possibly most of the Arsenal fans reading this.
The 6’ 4’’ centre-back was absolute garbage and the 6-1 battering at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford proved this testament.
Wenger paid £1 million to Skonto Riga (a Latvian club) in 2000 for Igor Stepanovs services. The defender made 17 appearances before moving to K.S.K. Beveren in 2003. Stepanovs was a complete and utter joke for Arsenal, and that’s me being nice!
Jeffers was playing his club football for Everton and impressed so much that Wenger opted to sign him from the Toffees in 2001 for a surprising £8 million. Everton must have been laughing all the way to the bank when they sold the striker for as much as they did.
Jeffers spent 3 years with Arsenal, making a total of 22 appearances and managing to only score a measly 4 goals for the North London club. The English striker was ultimately sold to Charlton for £2.6 million in 2004, as he was forced out by better forwards in Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord…a fox in the box? More like a frog in the bog.
Richard Wright Joined Arsenal in 2001 from Ipswich Town for an estimated £6 million, after a countless number of splendid performances for the Tractor Boys impressed the French manager.
Wenger brought in the English goalkeeper as a successor to David Seaman, but failed to make an impact for the Gunners.
His calamity against Charlton Athletic which led to a home 4-2 defeat for saw the fans question the goalkeeper’s ability. Wright also suffered a long-term injury which saw the keeper drop to third choice behind Stuart Taylor. Wright’s only year at Arsenal was below average, but the goal-stopper was also plagued with a number of injuries and only managed to make a total of 22 appearances for the club…he was later sold to Everton.
The Swiss defender was signed in 2003 for a reported £2.5 million by Wenger. Senderos was bought into the club at the age of 17, and looked a promising acquisition for the club, but then he met Didier Drogba and since then has never been the same.
He has been out of favour for Arsenal and as a result has been sent out on loan. Senderos was lent out to Milan last year and is now currently with Everton on loan.
It’s a real shame that Senderos inherited the famous no.6 shirt, because he simply does not deserve to where it, he is making an absolute mockery of it. Not a good defender and should be looking to leave the Emirates this summer without a doubt.
Wenger obtained the bald-headed centre-back from Lille in 2002 for £2 million and it turned out to be one of his worst ever transfers as the Arsenal boss.
Cygan was a clumsy defender who lacked positional sense and above all was slower than a tortoise…how he made it as a professional footballer is baffling.
The French defender managed to only rack up a total of 63 appearances (in all competitions) for the gunners, whilst netting 3 times in 4 years. Cygan was planets away from being the next Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould, the gut just couldn’t defend properly. Arsenal sent the Frenchman packing to Villarreal for £2 million in 2006… Wenger what on earth were you on when you bought this guy to England?
Jose Antonio Reyes
Arsenal splashed out approximately £17 million for the Spanish winger (a record signing for the club at the time) in 2003.
Reyes did have a promising start to his Arsenal career and was tipped to be a great player for the club, but unfortunately in 2005 he felt a sudden urge to head back to his native Spain. The winger was also tricked in telling a prankster (on the phone) that he was looking to leave the club due to the London lifestyle and claiming there were ‘bad people’ within the club.
Reyes spent three years with the gunners before making a year loan move to Real Madrid, after which he was sold to Atletico Madrid for an undisclosed fee by the Gunners.
Reyes would have been a great player for the North London club, but his crave for Spain let him down big time. Wenger did spend £17 million to obtain Reyes’s services, but because the player couldn’t settle in London he proved to be a complete and utter waste of money…a bad signing on Wenger’s part.
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