The Most Important Signing Wenger Will Make This Season


With the transfer window open wider than Rita Ora’s legs, the clamour for Wenger to make some well-needed additions to a painfully thin squad is as loud as ever. A proven goal scorer, brutal holding midfielder and centre back are just some of the positions on the wish list of many Arsenal fans. However it could another purchase this January that may prove to be the most important of the lot. For weeks now it has been painfully obvious Arsene Wenger has been struggling with what he currently has at his disposal. The problem Wenger faces was evident during the 7-3 win over Newcastle back at the end of 2012, when during the early passages of the game he found himself staring down the face of defeat to his ridiculously oversized coat. With a mammoth task in front of him, he managed to overcome the illustrious zip but expectations of a venture into the January market were high. had this quote: ‘Of course you are always looking out for top, top quality jackets. But you have to make sure it is better than what you currently have. To find a jacket of this quality in 3 weeks? I have to wish you good luck!’

Similar sentiments were echoed on caughtoffside: ‘I want to make additions, this is true. But before you buy you must sell, so to become active in the market I must first become active in the market. We are not Manchester City or Chelsea, we have money to spend but we must be wise, we can’t throw money at every bad situation. When the zipper works everyone will say I am a genius, but the moment there are problems you (the media) pile on the pressure. This is the problem with England’. Wenger will struggle to find a buyer for something so overpriced, which remains a sticking point. There is hope he will cut his losses and release it on a free, but being the economist he is, it’s unlikely he will adopt this measure. His refusal to enter the market has sections of the Arsenal support calling for his head, growing tired of his stubborn and riddled ways, but to find a manager of Wengers quality will be tough. Especially as they will be left with the same broken coat he currently has.


Exactly How Shrewd Is Wenger In The Transfer Market?

Since Arsene Wenger came to the helm of Arsenal Football Club in 1996, we have seen an influx of foreign players into the English Premier League. Wenger is renowned for bringing players like Vieira, Henry, Petit, Overmars, and Pires etc to the club, who were relative unknowns at the time and managed to turn them into Premier League and club legends. Of course they were the glory days for Arsenal, since then times have changed, new competition from Oil Tycoon backed Chelsea and Man City has tested Arsenal’s resolve in the Transfer Market.

In the last 7 seasons Wenger has signed a total of 36 players for a total of approximately £182.3m, compare that to Manchester United who have signed a total of 34 players in the same period for a total of £265.2m. When you think about it, 36 players in 7 years seems like an awful lot, but when you actually take a look, a lot of the signings are actually youth prospects signed from young for next to nothing.

The purpose of this article is to investigate how shrewd Arsene Wenger and Arsenal actually are in the transfer market, and how successful the last 36 signings have actually been. Compiled below is a list of all 36 signings within the last 7 seasons and I have worked out whether that signing has been a good one based on performances, appearances and value for money in terms of the fee and wages paid for the player. All ratings are done on a scale of 1-10 and are my own opinion, so therefore of course up for debate.


Player Fee Paid Apps Goals Rating
O’Ceaurill £0 0 0 4
Merida Undisc 16 2 5
Song £1m 215 10 8
Gallas Swap 140 16 8
Denilson £3.4m 153 11 6
Fabianski £2m 62 0 6
Barazite £0 3 0 5
Eduardo £7.5m 67 22 7
Nasri £15.8m 125 27 8
Ramsey £5m 127 10 6
Freeman £0.2m 0 0 4
Diarra £4m 13 0 6
Sagna £6m 218 4 9
Bischoff Undisc 4 0 4
Silvestre £0.75m 43 3 5
Arshavin £15m 142 31 6
Vermaelen £10m 115 15 7
Galindo £0 0 0 Reserved Judgement
S.Campbell £0 14 1 6
Chamakh £0 67 14 5
Ebecilio £0.5m 0 0 Reserved Judgement
Koscielny £10m 100 8 8
Squillaci £4m 40 2 4
Miyaichi Undisc 2 0 Reserved Judgement
Jenkinson £1m 29 0 7
Gervinho £10.6m 51 9 4
Chamberlain £12m 45 6 8
J.Campbell £0.95m 0 0 Reserved Judgement
Park Chu Young £3m 6 1 3
Santos £6.2m 26 3 4
Arteta £10m 63 10 8
Mertesacker £10m 49 1 8
Eisfeld £0.4m 1 0 Reserved Judgement
Podolski £11m 24 9 7
Giroud £13m 26 9 7
Cazorla £16m 25 7 8


As you can see there are 5 of those signings I have seen nothing of and are still at the club, but on loan elsewhere, so I have reserved Judgement on those players for the purpose of this study. As for this seasons signings I have given them a rating based on their first 6 months at the club, which of course may change over the course of their Arsenal careers, just like any other player on the list.

So that leaves 31 signings who I have given an /10 rating to – The figures work out to be.

Rating of 7+    –           14        45%

Rating of 6      –           6          19%

Rating of 5      –           4          13%

Rating of 4-     –           7          23%


So in essence just under half of Wenger’s signings in the last 7 seasons have been a rating of at least 7/10 in my opinion. So the next question to ask is whether that is actually a good statistic. The only way to find out is to compare to another Club. I have chosen Manchester United and have done the same thing as I have done with Arsenal. Instead of doing a detailed list like I have done with Arsenal I will just list all the players I believe to be good signings (min 7+ rating) by Manchester United in the last 7 seasons.

Powell, Kagawa, Van Persie, Buttner, Jones, De Gea, Smalling, Hernandez, Lindegaard, Valencia, Berbatov, Tevez, Nani, Kuszczak, Anderson, Rafael and Carrick.

That is a total of 17 players from 31 eligible, meaning players I feel comfortable to place judgement on what I have seen of that player. So out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 31 signings 55% have been what I would call a good signing, compared to that of 45% from Arsene Wenger. 10% may not seem a lot, but in the grand scheme of things that works out to be about 3 players, 3 good players which the majority of Arsenal fans may say we’re missing from really mounting a challenge at the top of the table.

Not only has Ferguson signed players who have had a bigger impact than Wenger but Ferguson has also signed less players who have failed to make an impact, players now that Wenger is struggling to get rid of to free up some of the wage bill. Of course it is easy for me to sit here at a computer throwing up facts and figures and coming to the conclusion that I have done, however whatever way you twist it, the signings Wenger has made in the last 7 seasons have not been good enough, and the signings who have been good, we have not had enough of them, as opposed to teams like Manchester United who have done a far better job of signing players who’ve made a better impact.

Some may say Manchester United have spent more money on the signings so therefore they have a better chance of being successful signings. However in the last 7 years, the only signings Manchester United have made above the £20m mark (which seems to be Arsenal’s boundary at the moment, unless a player like Hazard comes available) have been of Van Persie and Berbatov, so apart from those two players Manchester United have spent similar amounts of money to that of Arsenal.

Now just for some observations on things that Arsene Wenger has done well. Whenever Wenger has spent a considerable amount of money, the player tends to be of good quality and has a good impact at the club. Wenger has spent £5m+ 15 times in the last 7 seasons and 11 of those signings have made a good impact at the club. Also Wenger’s record of spending over £10m on a player in the last 7 seasons is also particularly impressive. 9 out of the 11 signings Wenger has spent £10m+ on have also gone on to make a good impact at the club, the only downers have been Gervinho and Arshavin, the latter whom I have incredible respect for his talent but he just hasn’t shown me enough in his time here to warrant being called a good signing.

Wenger’s coups from France in the last 7 years have also been very notable; players such as Koscielny, Sagna, Song, Nasri and Giroud were all signed from France. Something we have seen more of within the last 7 seasons has been Wenger’s intent to sign from the Premier League. No less than 10 of the 36 signings in the last 7 years have been from signed from clubs in England, something we hadn’t seen that often from Wenger in the first half of his tenure.

The problem Arsenal now have is that some of the poorer players Wenger has signed in the past 7 years still remain at the club on wages of £50k a week plus. Whereas some of the better players we had signed have now moved on elsewhere. Players like Chamakh, Squillaci, Park, Santos and Gervinho were bought for about £24m altogether and probably are on wages of about £250k a week collectively. That is a lot of money to be spending on deadwood and is money Arsenal can’t afford to be throwing down the drain on below than adequate players.

Hopefully we will see a new outlook from Wenger into the Transfer Market, the three signings this season have looked good so far and it looks as though we are at least trying to get rid of the deadwood at the club, hopefully freeing up some cash for some better players to come in and improve Wenger’s record of bringing good players in the club to a level we’ll feel much more comfortable at.

Thanks for reading

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