​Despite boasting a frighteningly impressive array of world class alumni, the Gunners have never been famed for their extravagant spending in the transfer market.

In the glory days of Arsene Wenger's regime, the visionary Frenchman had a knack for plucking out and nurturing world class talent without breaking the bank - a chairman's dream. 

If I were to tell you that the Gunner's managed to pick up Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Samir Nasri, and Santi Cazorla for roughly £7m less than Liverpool splurged on Andy Carrol and Christian Benteke - I think that would illustrate the above point quite nicely.

Arsenal's Spanish player Cesc Fabregas (

Of course, these figures are obviously somewhat misleading. For every Vieira there was a Denilson, for every Henry, a Chamakh; it's easy to make a team's transfer policy look impeccable when only listing the successes. Arsenal have had their fair share of flops as all football clubs do, but they could never be accused of being profligate; even the flops were rarely big money signings. 

However, with having to spend big almost a prerequisite for success in contemporary football - particularly in the Premier League - even Arsenal have had to succumb to increased spending in recent years, with five of their six most expensive signings having been in the last three seasons.

Here are how some of these big money transfers have fared.

Nicolas Pepe - £72m


Lille's Nicolas Pepe has become the Gunners record signing for a fee of £72m to be paid in instalments over the next five years

While the Ivory Coast international's Arsenal career clearly cannot yet be ranked, the early indicators are that the winger could be exactly what the Gunners have been missing, and has all the tools to live up to his £72m billing.

Pepe will be swaggering into the Emirates off of the back of a stellar season in Ligue 1, where his 22 goals were only bettered by Kylian Mbappe; a remarkable feat for a man plying his trade on the wing, where he also helped himself to 11 assists.

With the departure of Aaron Ramsey, the current crop of attacking midfielders are all built in the same mould of wanting the ball to feet, and looking for clever and intricate passes. Pepe will provide the Gunners with a much needed outlet, as a player who can run in behind defences and look to take players on.


While stats can often be misleading, and have been used to herald the arrival of many a flop in the past, Pepe's haul last year clearly outlines his finishing ability and desire to grab goals from midfield. The latter is something that Arsenal sorely lacked last season, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being responsible for almost 50% of the Gunners' league goals. 

At just 24 years of age and with frightening potential, Pepe seems to be well equipped to become one of Arsenal's great signings, but you never know, stranger things have occurred, bigger flops have happened.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - £56m

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

It may be less than two years into his Arsenal career but so far the man from Gabon is an irrefutable success. 

Aubameyang arrived at the Emirates as a proven goalscorer, yet there always appeared to be some question marks over his temperament, with previous moves to Liverpool and Real Madrid having fallen through despite his proven pedigree in front of goal.

However, these rumours appear to have been baseless, with the former Dortmund man immediately gelling with his new teammates - particularly Lacazette, with whom he has struck up a formidable partnership up front - as well as continuing to do what he does best: score goals. 

Aubameyang has found the net 41 times in his 65 appearances thus far, including 22 league goals last season that earned him the Golden Boot alongside Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal's latest number 14 has been worth every penny thus far, and while he may have recently turned 30, he remains lightening quick, and has clearly not lost his killer edge in front of goal.

Alexandre Lacazette - £52m


Aubameyang's partner in crime, the Frenchman may not have been able to match his fellow striker in the goals column this season, but has still had a great year, which saw him named Arsenal's player of the season. 

Lacazette arrived at the Emirates in 2017 to seemingly replace Olivier Giroud in a move that raised a few eyebrows considering Giroud was, at the time, above him in the French national team pecking order. 

However, while he may not have been the out-and-out goalscorer that Giroud was, it was clear to see why Wenger preferred the new man - for what he lacks in goals, he certainly makes up for in other departments.

Lacazette is a constant nuisance to play against, with his clever movement, great holdup play, and ability to bring other players into the game. He is the sort of player that improves those around him, with Aubameyang clearly feeling that effect since his arrival.

At 28 years of age, Lacazette is stepping into his prime. If he continues on his current trajectory, and perhaps manages to grab a couple more goals along the way, he will undoubtedly go down as a roaring transfer success

Mesut Ozil - £42m

Mesut Oezil

Ah Mesut Ozil, seldom has a player split opinion as much as the German who has become the personification of the football cliche: 'he's got all the talent in the world', 'he never shows up in the big games', 'he's happy counting his wages'. 

Amazingly, if this list had been compiled three seasons ago when Ozil went on an assist spree that almost guided Arsenal to the title, he would have been considered an undoubted success. However, attitudes towards the former Real Madrid man have soured in the last few seasons, with his mesmeric performances becoming less and less frequent. 

At present, the World Cup winner's Arsenal legacy is precariously positioned, with a shunt in either direction being enough to either tarnish it or resurrect it. While manager Unai Emery rotated the German for much of last season, he has been a consistent performer throughout pre-season, and is just the sort of player that could bring the best out of Pepe, and vice versa.

Judgement will have to withheld for the time being, but another lacklustre season and he'll be heading towards 'Didn't Fulfil his Potentialville', only five minutes up the road from 'Flop County'. 

Shkodran Mustafi - £35m

Shkodran Mustafi

If Ozil was hard to place, Shkodran Mustafi sadly is not. When he arrived at the Emirates with his £35m price-tag and his World Cup winner's medal in his suitcase, it seemed that he could finally be the top-class centre-half that the Arsenal faithful had been clamuoring for. 

Unfortunately, the former Valencia man proved to be anything but, and rather than joining the likes of Tony Adams and Sol Campbell in the pantheon of great Arsenal defenders, his name will instead be whispered alongside those of Pascal Cygan and Sebastien Squillaci when discussing dreadful Arsenal defenders of yesteryear.

In truth, the start to his Arsenal career wasn't all that bad and fans remained hopeful that he could become a solid performer, but his standards have dropped year on year, to the point where he is the butt of every joke and has got his own fans booing him.

While he still has what little confidence that remains, if the reports of Roma and Monaco interest lead to a transfer, a fresh start away from the Emirates is exactly what Mustafi needs. 

However, if he is to remain an Arsenal player, unless he manages to find the sort of form that has hitherto remained very very hidden, he will go down as a £35m flop.

Granit Xhaka - £34m

Granit Xhaka

On the one hand, Granit Xhaka is similar to Mesut Ozil in that it is hard to discern whether or not he has been a success or failure. On the other hand, he is very different to Ozil in that the Swiss international can never be accused of a lack of effort or commitment, he just isn't blessed with anywhere near the footballing talent of his German teammate. 

That's not to say that there isn't any talent or ability - when competing against Ozil, most footballers would come up second best in a talent contest - but there is also rashness, inconsistency, and downright idiocy at times.

Jonathan Moss,Granit Xhaka

The 26-year-old is just as likely to unleash an absolute rocket from 30 yards, as he is to make an unnecessary, clumsy foul and cost his side a goal or a sending off. 

Whilst there is still time for Xhaka to improve and make good on the potential he showed when he was one of the most sought after midfielders in Europe, gut instinct suggests that he is a decent player, not a top player. Fans will certainly be much happier and excited at the prospect of a seeing a Dani Ceballos - Lucas Torreira midfield pair, rather than one involving Xhaka.

Alexis Sanchez - £32m

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez arrived at the Emirates after a three-year stint at Barcelona that saw him score at rate of almost a goal every two games, and help the Catalan giants to a La Liga title. Not only was he a proven top-class player at the highest level, but he was also a proven winner, and the exact sort of player that Arsenal, or indeed any club, would want. 

To sweeten the deal even more for the Gunners' supporters, they were finally enjoying the fruits of the Arsenal-Barcelona transfer relationship that had seen them lose the likes of Marc Overmars, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, and Thierry Henry, to name a few.

Sanchez arrived under scrutiny and expectancy, and absolutely delivered. With his Luis Suarez-like tenacity, and goalscoring exploits, he quickly established himself as a fan favourite - helping Arsenal to two FA Cups during his four-year stay at the club.

Although his subsequent move to Manchester United has soured his legacy somewhat, whilst at Arsenal, he was one of the best players in the league, and for £32m he remains an absolute bargain, and an undeniable success.