Arsene Wenger's best and worst Arsenal signings

Arsene Wenger has today announced he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season after almost 22 years in charge.

The Frenchman was one of the first Premier League bosses to truly tap into the global transfer market, having taken charge of the Gunners in 1996.

Here, Mark Mann-Bryans looks at the best of those signings, as well as some of the more forgettable recruits.

BEST SIGNINGS

PATRICK VIEIRA - SIGNED FROM AC MILAN, AUGUST 1996, £3.5m

Appearances: 406

Goals: 33

Vieira technically joined the club in the closing days of Bruce Rioch's time in charge and before Wenger took the reins at Highbury.

But the powerhouse midfielder admitted it was Wenger's impending arrival which prompted him to join a club he would go on to captain - most notably as the leader of Arsenal's 'Invincibles' campaign in 2003-04.

His tough-tackling, full-blooded approach won many admirers and earned more than the odd red card before he left for Juventus in 2005.

THIERRY HENRY - SIGNED FROM JUVENTUS, AUGUST 1999, £11m

Appearances: 377

Goals: 228

Unquestionably Wenger's finest moment in the transfer market, the France forward is Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer having notched 228 goals across two spells with the club.

After an unimpressive stint at Juventus, Henry linked up once again with compatriot Wenger having worked with him at Monaco, and was converted into an out-and-out striker and would never look back.

Henry was the Premier League's top goalscorer in four different seasons, winning seven honours with the Gunners.

He returned for a short spell on loan in 2012 and marked his final Premier League appearance for the club with a last-minute winner at Sunderland.

SOL CAMPBELL - SIGNED FROM TOTTENHAM, JULY 2001 - free transfer

Appearances: 211

Goals: 12

The signing of Campbell on a free transfer from Tottenham remains one of the most controversial moves in the history of the Premier League.

The England international surprised the footballing fraternity with the move but his decision, and that of Wenger to poach a player from Arsenal's fierce local rivals, would be vindicated as he was a pivotal part of the Invincibles' unbeaten defence.

The centre-back may have only scored 12 goals but one came in the Champions League final of 2006 - putting Arsenal ahead before their 10 men lost to Barcelona.

Like Henry, Campbell would return for a shorter second stint in 2010 after an ill-fated stay at Notts County.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Nicolas Anelka, Cesc Fabregas, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Alexis Sanchez.

WORST SIGNINGS

PARK CHU-YOUNG - SIGNED FROM MONACO, AUGUST 2011 - £4m

Appearances: 7

Goals: 1

South Korea international Park was undergoing a medical at Lille when he learned of Arsenal's interest in the summer of 2011, leaving the hotel he had been staying in to head to London and complete a dream move to the Premier League.

But he would never become a first-team regular at the Emirates and made only one appearance in the league - a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

His solitary goal came in a League Cup win over Bolton before loan spells with Celta Vigo and Watford pre-empted his departure.

FRANCIS JEFFERS - SIGNED FROM EVERTON, JUNE 2001 - £8m

Appearances: 39

Goals: 8

Dubbed the 'fox in the box' for the predatory goalscoring instincts he had shown coming through the ranks at Goodison Park, it seemed a shrewd piece of business by Wenger to snap him up - even at what was then such a high price.

Jeffers could never replicate the sort of form which had earned him such a moniker as he suffered with injuries and the form of Henry kept him largely in the shadows.

He won FA Cup winner's medals in 2002 and 2003 despite not playing in either final and rejoined the Toffees on loan after being sent off in his final Arsenal appearance - the 2003 Community Shield defeat to Manchester United.

GRANIT XHAKA - SIGNED FROM BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH, MAY 2016, £35m

Appearances: 87

Goals: 7

Arguably the most controversial name to make the list but Xhaka's inconsistent form and splitting of the Arsenal fanbase mirrors Wenger's final years at the club.

Signed from the Bundesliga after extensive scouting, the Switzerland international was expected to be the new, tough-tackling midfielder which Wenger's side had been crying out for.

Instead, within six months Wenger admitted Xhaka could not tackle, his disciplinary record speaking volumes, and his unwillingness to track back saw him singled out by supporters during bad spells.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Gervinho, Shkodran Mustafi, Andre Santos, Sebastien Squillaci, Igor Stepanovs.


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