Arsenal’s sensational transfer coups over the years have been crucial in them becoming one of English football's most successful clubs.
We all know about Arsene Wenger’s eye for talent and what the likes of Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira went on to achieve at the club. But every once in a while comes a complete howler which shows that no one can get it right every time.
Left-back Nuno Tavares will go down as one of those gambles which simply didn’t pay off, having been signed for £8million from Benfica and looked far too raw during his first season. The Gunners are now rushing to send the 22-year-old out on loan, but he is far from the only Arsenal player to not cut the mustard in his first season in north London.
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We’re throwing it back to the summer of 2000 when Arsenal secured Ivorian right-back Guy Demel from Nimes. It was a short and sweet tour of Highbury for the defender, having failed to make a single first team appearance with Sylvinho and Ashley Cole ahead of him in the pecking order.
Demel left the following summer for Borussia Dortmund, where he had more joy in the form of 33 appearances, before making his best career move to Hamburg in 2005.
Arsenal really struggled to find a replacement for the ageing David Seaman in the early-2000s. Richard Wright was brought in to do just that, signing a five-year deal after signing for £2m from Ipswich in July 2001.
But before long, he was punching the ball into his own net against Charlton and even made a howler in the north London derby. Manager Arsene Wenger was kind enough to start him in the final day win over Everton to earn him his 10 league appearances and subsequent Premier League winners’ medal, before being flogged to Everton for £3.5m.
The jack-of-all-trades midfielder left Chelsea for their cross-city rivals in 2007 after seeing out his contract. He initially looked a promising signing playing alongside captain Fabregas, but found his playing time lacking due to the emergence of Mathieu Flamini.
Diarra made the bold decision to sign for Harry Redknapp’s famous Portsmouth side, where he spent one-and-a-half seasons before a £18.9m move to Real Madrid. The Frenchman won a La Liga title during his time in Spain and later took a pop at the Gunners, saying: “I proved to everybody that I was right to leave Arsenal. Honestly, what is the better club between Arsenal and Real Madrid?”
Do you think Lucas Perez is the biggest flop on the list? Let us know in the comments section.
Lucas Perez was one of Arsene Wenger’s last ever signings and among one of the Frenchman’s more forgettable ones. Arsenal splashed out around £17m for the Deportivo forward after missing out on the Premier League title to Leicester the previous 2015/16 season.
Perez failed to leave a mark, scoring just once in 11 league appearances as the Gunners finished fifth for the first time in two decades. His Champions League hat-trick against Basel wasn’t enough to earn him a regular place in the side and he was sent out on loan to Deportivo the following season, before agreeing a permanent deal with West Ham.
Free transfer Stephan Lichtsteiner arrived in summer 2018 as the Gunners looked to rebuild under new head coach Unai Emery and head of football Raul Sanllehi. If there was one sign that Arsenal were firmly in the midst of another banter-era, it would be the fact they thought a 34-year-old Serie A full-back could hack it in the Premier League.
As one of many Sanllehi signings to end up flopping, the Swiss veteran made 14 sluggish league appearances before finishing as a Europa League runner-up. Lichtsteiner left at the end of his contract for Augsburg in 2019.
From the very moment news broke of the 32-year-old being signed on a three-year deal in 2020, fans knew the move was destined for failure. After all, ex-Chelsea stars Petr Cech and David Luiz had hardly set the Emirates alight following some highly suspect transfers in recent years.
Willian looked slow, unbothered and completely finished at Arsenal, scoring just one goal in 37 appearances before cutting his contract short and leaving after a season which he described as “the worst time”.
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