Arsene Wenger will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most pioneering managers the Premier League has seen, spending more than two decades in charge at Arsenal and winning a host of major honours with the north London side.
The Frenchman’s greatest successes would come in his earlier years before financial restrictions in the latter part of his Gunners dynasty, though he would still make some high profile additions despite the club’s often frugal spending.
We’ve decided to look back at the priciest purchases of his long lasting reign, here are our ratings of the Arsene Wenger’s most expensive Arsenal signings…
Alexis Sanchez – £35m
After some difficult seasons during a transitional phase as the club moved into their new Emirates Stadium home, Arsenal would make back-to-back statement of intent signings from Spanish football, landing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid in 2013 before signing Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez the following summer.
The Chile international would enjoy an impressive three-year stay at the Camp Nou before being squeezed out following the arrivals of Neymar and Luis Suarez, joining Arsenal in a deal worth a reported £35m.
Sanchez would enjoy a brilliant debut season in the Premier League and would score 25 goals in all competitions for Wenger’s side, being named in the PFA Team of the Year and as the Gunners’ Player of the Season.
The FA Cup would be lifted at the end of that season, Sanchez scoring in the final, before the forward would repeat the feat against Chelsea as Arsenal once again lifted the trophy two years later.
He would leave under a cloud for rivals Manchester United having scored 80 goals in 166 appearances, though he would enjoy arguably the peak years of his career at the club and played an influential role in their most recent triumphs.
Shkodran Mustafi – £35m
Arsenal’s defensive fragility seems to have been an ongoing problem for much of the past decade, a succession of stop gaps having failed to solve their woes at the heart of the defence.
Wenger’s record in signing centre-backs had been mixed over the course of his reign in north London, excelling in signing free transfer Sol Campbell and £150,000 bargain buy Kolo Toure, but missing the mark with the likes of Pascal Cygan and Igors Stepanovs.
Mustafi would arrive in a big-money move from Valencia with a reputation as a World Cup winner with Germany, though he would struggle to adapt to the demands of English football and remains one of Wenger’s poorest purchases.
The 27-year-old remains an Arsenal player but has often proven to be a much-maligned figure at the club, fans having often turned on the centre-back following a collection of calamitous displays.
Mustafi has failed to hit the heights expected of him since moving to the Emirates, the error-prone defender often looking a disaster waiting to happen in an Arsenal shirt.
Mesut Ozil – £42.5m
The marquee signing to announce Arsenal’s intentions to return to the top, Mesut Ozil would arrive at the Emirates in a club record deal from Real Madrid, the German becoming the third most expensive player in British football history.
Ozil had starred at the Bernabeu and his arrival was a real statement of intent from Wenger, the playmaker beginning brightly and scored seven goals in all competitions during his first season, though in truth there have only been fleeting moments of his quality in nearly seven seasons as an Arsenal player.
His finest season would come five years ago, Ozil being named as the club’s Player of the Season after coming within just one assist of breaking former Gunners’ great Thierry Henry’s all-time record for most goals provided in a single Premier League campaign.
Moments of genius have been mixed with inconsistencies, however, his languid style alienating some of the club’s fanbase and seeing Ozil become a peripheral figure in recent times despite his ability to create.
Ozil has scored 33 goals and provided 53 assists in 182 Premier League appearances since swapping Madrid for London, winning three FA Cups in the process, though his time at the club appears to be nearing its conclusion.
Alexandre Lacazette – £46.5m
Wenger would have a long and storied history of raiding his homeland for talent, and would once again return to France to secure the signing of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon in a club record deal in 2017.
The forward had come through the academy ranks at the Ligue 1 side before enjoying a prolific spell in the first-team, scoring 100 goals in French football’s top division before making the move to the Premier League.
Lacazette would spend just one season under Wenger’s management, impressing in scoring 17 goals in all competitions as his blend of power and finishing ability seemed perfectly suited to the English game.
He would improve once more under the guidance of Unai Emery last season, being named as Arsenal’s Player of the Season after a campaign which delivered 19 goals, including several crucial strikes as the north London side reached the Europa League final.
Lacazette’s form has dipped this season as the Gunners have struggled, though he remains a fine player when at his very best and has proven a solid acquisition since his arrival at the club.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £56m
Arsenal would break their transfer-record in search of additional firepower in January of 2018, signing Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund, the Gabon international having enjoyed a prolific spell in the Bundesliga.
The forward would make an immediate impact in English football, scoring on his debut against Everton before notching ten goals in his first 13 league appearances.
His first full season at the club would see him continue in similar fashion and score 31 goals in all competitions, winning a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot award alongside Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Blessed with electric pace and a calmness inside the penalty area, Aubameyang’s current record stands at 61 goals in just 100 appearances, whilst his importance to the side was emphasised by his appointment as club captain earlier this season.