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REVEALED : Arsene Wenger’s Top Five Signings At Arsenal

Arsene Wenger Thierry Henry

In terms of transfer activity, Arsene Wenger didn’t do much business this summer, but he has a history of top signings behind him.

Petr Cech represented Arsenal’s only purchase of the summer but there was a time when French tactician Wenger was considered the shrewdest of buyers in Europe, so lets take a look back at Le Professeur’s top five transfer market buys:


5. Freddie Ljungberg (purchased from Halmstads BK for £3m)

When Freddie Ljungberg debuted for Arsenal against Manchester United in a 3-0 victory in 1998, it was the first time Wenger had seen the Swedish firebrand play live.

Legend has it that Wenger saw Ljungberg play in a friendly against England on television, and was so impressed that he sanctioned a transfer that night.

Freddie scored on his debut and went on to score plenty more, including a pearler in the Gunners’ 2002 FA Cup final win over Chelsea. He will best be remembered for a scintillating run in the last few games of Arsenals title winning 2001/02 season, where he scored a series of vital goals to hand the Gunners the championship.

4. Nicolas Anelka (purchased from PSG for £500,000)

While Anelka’s Arsenal career turned out to be far shorter than any of the other names on this list, from a purely economic business, the French striker’s time in North London represents Wenger’s greatest piece of business.

Anelka arrived from the French capital as a 17-year-old in 1999, for the measly sum of £500,000.

Around 18 months later, he was sold to Real Madrid for £22.3 million, the proceeds of which helped fund a new training facility. Anelka lit up the Highbury pitch during his short time in London, scoring in the Gunners’ 1998 FA Cup final win, and scoring 28 goals from 90 matches.

3. Robert Pires (purchased from Metz for £6m)

Another French signing (and you can probably guess that there might be one more before this list is done), Robert Pires initially struggled somewhat in North London, finding it difficult to adapt to the physical English game in his first season.

Wenger had fought off the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus for Pires’ signature, and it soon became apparent why, with the Frenchman winning the FWA Player of the Year Award in an imperious second season.

The flamboyant #7 epitomised Wenger’s ‘win with style’ philosophy, scoring 84 goals in 284 appearances from the left side of midfield. Was voted Arsenal fans as the club’s 6th Greatest Player of All-Time in 2008.

2. Sol Campbell (signed on a free from Tottenham)

Only nine players have ever crossed from White Hart Lane to Arsenal, and Sol Campbell is without a doubt the most notable.

Wenger shocked the world when he unveiled Campbell as an Arsenal player in 2001, having captained Spurs to a League Cup victory two years prior. He went on to become an instrumental figure in his first season as the Gunners did the double, and was influential again when Arsenal went undefeated through the 2003/04 campaign, making 49 appearances in all competitions.

1. Thierry Henry (purchased from Juventus for £11m)

No prizes for guessing who is number one on this list.

When Wenger purchased a somewhat unproven Henry for a then lofty fee of £11m in 2001, there were more than a few eyebrows raised.

There were doubts over the Frenchman when he failed to score in his first eight games for the Gunners, before he finally netted one in a win over Southampton. From there, Henry went on to become the club’s greatest ever player, winning five Player of the Year awards, four Premier League Golden Boots, three FA Cups and two league titles.

That £11m turned out to be money well spent after all.

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