With the football world in shock at the moment following the tragic news of Gary Speed's death it seemed a little weird thinking about something to write regarding Arsenal. I cannot get my head around it and I just wish his family and friends all the best in these very hard times and I hope the world let's them mourn and get over this situation in peace.
I thought I would do something a little different today as there wasn't much news so without further ado here is my Top 10 Arsene Wenger Buys. Of course everyone has their own opinion and I am sure this list has been done before but it is always nice to reflect. I welcome any thoughts you may have so feel free to leave any comments below.
Arsene Wenger has had a long and successful career at Arsenal and despite a barren spell when it comes to trophies in recent seasons has been well regarded by the media and fans alike. One of Arsene Wenger’s greatest talents has been to spot talent and get players with high potential and turn them into world class players. Here I will look at some of Le Boss’ most successful purchases from his tenure in charge of Arsenal and try to rank them. This is no easy task when you consider the number of world class players he has bought to the club. My list is based on ability first and foremost but I have factored transfer fees paid, selling on fees and commercial value to the club as other factors. So without further ado, here is my top 10 Arsene Wenger purchases…
10: Kolo Toure – In: 150k Out: 16m
Kolo Toure had a fantastic career as an Arsenal player, though on his debut he played as a right midfielder he was a utility player that didn’t seem to have any real position. This changed over time and he became a fantastic defender and forged a superb partnership with Sol Campbell. Was very successful and was at the heart of the defence in the Invincible’s season. Though he fell out with future partner William Gallas which eventually saw him leave the club, he was sold for a huge profit and at a time when he became surplus to requirements. This is a great example of how Wenger sold on a player when the time was right as his career after Arsenal has improved.
9: Emmanuel Petit – In: 2.5m Out: 5m
Emmanuel Petit was one of Wenger’s first signings and he immediately played an important part in securing Arsenal’s first league title for nearly 10 years. He was instrumental in the centre of the park and at the time I felt he was just as important for Arsenal as Patrick Vieria. He provided the platform to which Viera could surge forward and Arsenal’s new found pace could exploit teams with tremendous pace and incision. Without the solid foundation Petit along with the defence provided it would have been impossible for Arsenal to be successful in the league run of 1997/1998. He was also sold on for a profit of 100% despite being in his thirties when he left. Whilst it was seen as a major blow for Arsenal, his life after Arsenal proved that Arsene Wenger had in fact moved him on at the right time and for great profit. Another Wenger master class.
8: Sol Campbell – Free Transfer (First time)
Big Sol, perhaps the most controversial of all of Arsene Wenger’s buy’s, was at the time one of the top defenders in world football. He was bought from arch nemesis and neighbour, Tottenham for a free transfer and he had an immediate impact. He formed a fantastic partnership with Kolo Toure and was at the heart of the side that remained unbeaten for an entire season. He was able to fit into the team immediately and went on to win two league titles, three FA cups and two charity shields. He also won some individual honours during his time at Arsenal as he was in the PFA team of the year three times and both the FIFA and UEFA equivalent’s one time each. Include the fact that this was a free transfer and Arsenal managed to get their biggest rivals player for free this was a great bit of business for the manager.
7: Fredrik Ljunberg – In: £3m Out: £3m
Fredrik Ljunberg is a perfect example of Arsene Wenger’s brilliance in the transfer market. He was bought for a small fee, was relatively unknown by the entire country but was able to make an almost immediate impact. He was very quick out of the blocks and had a knack to be in the right place at the right time to score goals of which he scored 71 from just over 300 appearances. Not bad for a midfielder. Add that many of them were scored against Manchester Uniter at the height of the rivalry, then it is no wonder that he is held in such high regard from Arsenal fans. He helped Arsenal to 5 major trophies 2 of which were the Premier League titles all of which equal him being a fantastic signing.
6: Nicolas Anelka In: £500k Out: £22.5m
Though not at Arsenal for very long or even at his peak years, Arsene Wenger found his first young star in Nicolas Anelka. Bought for £500k and just a teen, it was widely expected that this would be one for the future and especially with the then all time record score and Arsenal legend that Anelka would not get anywhere near the team. This theory was thrown out of the window as Anelka took the Premier League by storm. He suited Arsenal’s new attacking style and was very successful in his short spell. He managed to score 23 goals in 50 league appearances which is quite staggering for anyone let alone a teenager new to the Premier League. What makes this transfer so great is the massive returns on the player. He was sold after winning his first Premier League winners medal for a mammoth £22.5m to Real Madrid. Although this was hard to take for many Arsenal fans it essentially funded the purchases of Henry, Sylvinho and Lauren which represented fantastic business again by Wenger.
Look out for the top 5 tomorrow!