Since the club’s formation in 1886 to its glory period under Arsene Wenger more than a century later, Arsenal has signed some of the most dynamic players in English football. Here’s our list of the top eleven signings for Arsenal football club.
Thierry Henry from Juventus for £10.5m in 1999
Signed as an exciting prospect for £10.5m from Juventus in 1999, Thierry Henry quickly became the King of Arsenal. Henry remains Arsenal’s all-time scorer with 228 goals in all competitions. Gaining the reputation as one of Europe’s most feared strikers, Henry became the Premier League’s top goal-scorer in 4 different seasons, notching a prolific 32 goals and 23 assists in the 2002-03 season. With the ability to score anywhere on the pitch, he elevated his game in the 2003-04 season, scoring 39 goals in the Gunners unbeaten top-flight league season. Considered the greatest Gunner of all-time, Henry won two league titles, three FA Cups, four Golden Boots, and five Player of the Year awards throughout his career.
Dennis Bergkamp from Internazionale for €7.5m in 1995
With creativity and vision, Dennis Bergkamp came to define class during his 11 seasons at Arsenal. He scored 120 goals with the club, most notably the one-touch and subtle flick past the Leicester City goalkeeper in 1997, where he also scored his first hat-trick. Bergkamp also recorded 94 assists during his time at Highbury, making him the Gunners top assist-provider to this day.
Ian Wright from Crystal Palace for £2.5m in 1991
A prolific goal-scorer, Ian Wright spent 7 years with the Gunners where he notched 185 goals and won five trophies. He remains second on Arsenal’s all-time scoring list behind the one and only, Thierry Henry. Wright’s antics both on and off the field also made him a cult favorite among fans.
Patrick Vieira from AC Milan for £3.5m in 1996
At 6ft 4in, the tough-tackling Frenchman Patrick Vieira transferred to Arsenal in 1996 for a fee of £3.5m. He was indispensable. He played a critical role in Wenger’s squad as a box-to-box midfielder. His all-around excellence on both sides of the field earned him many plaudits, making him the Arsenal captain from 2002 – 2005. While not a prolific goalscorer, he nonetheless secured the Invincibles 2003–04 season with a crucial goal against Leicester City.
Nwankwo Kanu from Internazionale for £4.5m in 1999
Signed in 1999 for £4.5m from Internazionale, the giant striker often came off the bench as a substitute for Henry and Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal, where he scored 12 goals during the 1990-2000 season. A winner of two Premiership titles, he also helped the Gunner snag two FA Cups.
Laurent Koscielny from Lorient for £10m in 2010
Many doubted the defender’s adaptability to the Premier League when he signed to the Gunners in 2010 from French club Lorient in 2010. He proved those doubters wrong, upping his game to become one of the supreme central defenders in world football. His honors include two FA Cups and two Community Shields.
Freddie Ljungberg from Halmstads BK for £3m in 1998
The Swedish footballer made a grand entrance into the Premiership with an opening goal against rivals Manchester United in 3-0 win in 1998. Most adept at the wing, Ljungberg also played comfortably in a central role behind strikers where he netted 17 goals in the 2001 – 2002 campaign. A regular starter for Arsene Wenger, the crafty winger won two titles and three FA Cups during his illustrious career.
Marc Overmars from Ajax for £5.5m in 1997
The speedy Dutch winger only played three seasons with Arsenal but racked up a total of 41 goals in 142 appearances. Overmars played for the side that helped Wenger win his first Double in 1998, scoring the vital goal against Manchester United to secure the Premier League title.
Emmanuel Petit from Monaco for £2.5m in 1997
Originally signed to Monaco by Arsene Wenger, Emmanuel Petit reunited with Wenger at Arsenal for a transfer fee of £2.5 million in 1997. The versatile midfielder won the Double in his first year, locking up both the FA Cup and the Premier League. The next summer, he scored the third goal in France’s World Cup victory over Brazil.
Sol Campbell from Tottenham for free in 2001
Sol Campbell moved to Arsenal from club rival Tottenham in 2001 for a free transfer. Despite the criticism received from Hotspur fans, the center back won two league titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners.
Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona for €1m in 2003
What turned out to be a bargain, Spanish midfielder signing for Arsenal at the age of 16 for €1m in 2003. Fabregas remains Arsenal’s youngest player and goal scorer to this day. Given the daunting task of filling in for an injured Patrick Vieira during the 2003-04 campaign, the starlet stepped up and molded into his own. The following year Fabregas adopted the #4 shirt and helped lead Arsenal to the 2006 Champions League Final with a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona, a team he went on to play for in 2011.