Arsenal have signed a number of players that have gone on to become club legends in the Premier League era, you only have to look as far as the Invincibles team to see this.
Not all transfers have gone to plan though, and Arsenal have amassed an enviable list of wasted potential and unsettled stars in recent transfer windows. Here are 12 names that Gunners fans would prefer to forget.
12. Jehad Muntasser
One of the strangest signings in recent memory, Jehad Muntasser was the grandson of Libya’s first prime minister Mahmud Al-Muntasir.
Coming off the bench for his debut deep into injury time against Birmingham, the Libyan played a grand total of one minute for the Gunners.
Muntasser was sold to Bristol City in the following transfer window, where he also failed to make an appearance and was allowed to leave for free less than two years after signing his initial Arsenal contract.
11. Wellington Silva
Arsenal were so eager to get their hands on the Brazilian ‘prodigy’ that they wrapped up a £3.5m deal a year before he was legally allowed to complete the transfer from Fluminense. When Wellington Silva did arrive fans were eagerly anticipating his league debut after some early impressive showings.
Silva hit the ground running with a goal for the Under-23 side against Manchester United, followed up by a brace in a friendly with Dagenham and Redbridge, but that’s where the hype train stopped. Silva was denied a special work permit by the FA making him ineligible to play for the first team.
The player secured several lukewarm loan moves in the four years it took Arsenal to secure a work permit. Sadly the player had fallen out of the manager’s thinking by then, and Silva failed to make a single appearance in two more years at Arsenal before heading back to Fluminense.
10. Marouane Chamakh
In terms of first-team game time, Marouane Chamakh is superior to most of the other names on this list. A fairly regular starter in his three years at Arsenal, but fans were often left scratching their heads as to why.
The gangly forward rarely looked the quality of Premier League footballer, not least of all in a team that was supposed to be competing for silverware. To be fair, aside from Robin van Persie, who had a spotty injury record at the time, Chamakh only really had Nikolas Bendtner for competition.
The other recognised strikers on the books were Park Chu-Young and Joel Campbell who also made this list.
9. Park Chu-Young
Park Chu-Young was coming off the back of two impressive Ligue 1 campaigns with Monaco. The French side suffered relegation in 2011 and ensured they would not stand in the way of the impressive Korean starlet.
Chu-Young was reportedly on the verge of signing for OSC Lille when he heard of Arsenal’s interest and pulled out of a deal. A move that the player will surely look back on with regret as he made just one appearance in three years at Arsenal, effectively ending his promising career.
8. Andre Santos
2011 was a bad year for Arsenal in the transfer market.
Chu-Young wasn’t the only disappointing signing, as Andre Santos was also signed that year.
Arriving for £7m, the Brazilian was slow, clumsy and everything you don’t want from a left-back. A pale comparison to Clichy, Santos spent two disappointing years at Arsenal before being sold.
7. Joel Campbell
One of Wenger’s biggest failings in his time at Arsenal was holding onto squad members longer than he should have. You could fill a whole other list of Arsenal players who fit that billing, but no one sums it up more than Joel Campbell.
His career in north London played out like a soap opera with a will they, won’t they storyline. It seemed year after year Gunners fans were hearing how good Campbell was and how close he was to breaking into the first team, but it never really happened.
The rumours reached their heights following an impressive 2014 World Cup in which Campbell helped Costa Rica to the quarter-finals at the expense of England, amongst others. In the end, Campbell made just 23 appearances in seven years at Arsenal before finally been let go by the club.
6. Sebastien Squillaci
It’s fair to say that Sebastien Squillaci’s time at Arsenal was disastrous.
The Frenchman gifted a 92nd-minute winner to Bobby Zamora on his debut with a late wayward clearance against Fulham. He followed up with an own goal in another defeat to Sunderland that saw Arsenal crash out of the FA Cup, and quickly fell out of favour with Thomas Vermaelen returning to fitness.
Per Mertesacker was signed effectively as his replacement the following summer, with Squallici playing on the fringes for a further two seasons before securing a move away to Bastia.
5. Francis Jeffers
Probably the Gunners’ most infamous Premier League transfer blunder was the ‘Fox in the Box’ Francis Jeffers. One of the most exciting young English prospects following two impressive campaigns at Everton.
Arsenal forked out £8m with a further £2m in add-ons, which was a major deal back in 2001.
The Gunners have had some rotten luck with injuries over the years and Jeffers was one of their most famous cases. His fitness record blighted his career at Arsenal meaning Jeffers made just 22 appearances in three years scoring a meagre four goals.
Jeffers returned on loan to Everton before completing a switch to Charlton Athletic but never managed to recapture any of the early promise he had shown before his transfer to Arsenal.
4. Kim Kallstrom
Kim Kallstrom was an established playmaker in his six years at Lyon but that wasn’t the same player who Arsenal signed. The Swedish international was signed by Arsenal at the very tail end of his career.
The biggest problem for Kallstrom though was the situation which he arrived in and the expectation of the fans. After years of frustration, Arsenal were genuine title contenders in 2013/14 season. They were just a point behind league leaders Manchester City and looking for an inspired deadline day deal to get them over the line.
Major names like Luis Suarez were touted with the club having pursued the striker the previous summer. By comparison, Kallstrom was woeful signing and the fact that he almost immediately got injured and missed the remainder of the season didn’t help.
3. John Jensen
John Jensen seemed like a certain hit when he arrived in north London off the back of writing his name into Danish folklore. That summer Jensen starred for Denmark in their surprise Euro 92’ triumph including opening the scoring in the final against Germany.
Jensen delivered some particularly eye-catching goals at that tournament and Arsenal were rightly excited by their acquisition. The fans did get a glimpse of that brilliance with a famous goal against QPR that spawned t-shirts reading: ‘I was there when Jensen scored’.
That slogan took on ironic meaning in time though as it was the only goal the Dane scored in four years at Highbury. A huge disappointment for the fans that would have one final sting with the role he played in the dismissal of popular manager George Graham.
Graham was found to have accepted an illegal payment as part of the deal for Jensen which earned him a one year ban from football and ended his nine-year tenure at the club.
2. Glenn Helder
George Graham’s parting gift to Arsenal was Glenn Helder. Arriving for a then sizeable £2.5m considering Manchester United broke the British transfer record that same window with the £7m signing of Andy Cole.
Helder certainly exhibited the arrogance of world-class player and especially liked to boast about his impressive salary. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he never exhibited the talent to match his attitude.
The winger did have the blistering pace to impact the Premier League, but his distribution and finishing ability left a lot to be desired. His crossing ability was at times woeful and a return of just one goal in two years wasn’t enough to convince Wenger to hold onto his predecessor’s prized asset.
1. Kaba Diawara
When Kaba Diawara arrived in north London Wenger had hyped him up to be the next Nicolas Anelka who was the clubs’ top scorer that season. At £2.5m the Frenchman appeared to be good value for Arsenal as they looked to retain their titles following a league and cup double the season before.
Unfortunately for Arsenal it wasn’t to be, the striker failed to score a single goal that season with Manchester United pipping them to their own famous treble. Diawara did register a fairly impressive talent for hitting the woodwork though, most notably in an all-important penultimate league tie with Leeds.
Diawara squandered a golden opportunity in that game that could have seen Arsenal retain their title, with the Gunners finishing just one point behind United. He would in fact, not score another top-flight goal in his career despite spells at Marseille, PSG, Blackburn and West Ham.