Arsene Wenger has made some great signings over the years, but he has bought some duds too.
Thomas Williamson casts his eye over the five worst:
This is the worst of the five because he had the biggest impact on the team, in a negative way. A team can be as good as you want going forward, as we were when Almunia was first-choice with players such as Samir Nasri, but if you have a headless chicken at the back your progress as a team will be halted. Similarly a decent keeper, e.g. Brad Friedel can carry a team with more limited players up front. Alarm bells should have started ringing after a mad rush out of his goal gave Cristiano Ronaldo an open goal to score at Highbury in 2005. A series of blunders against teams such as Birmingham, which ended our remaining hopes in the 2010 title race, and West Brom turned what should have been wins into draws and defeats. His presence in goal was one reason why the Nasri-Fabregas-Adebayor team failed to live up to its potential and ended up being broken up before winning anything. This is why he qualifies as one of Wenger’s five worst signings.
Santos shows the importance of doing your transfer window business early. Snapped up in a panic buying spree at the end of the 2011 transfer window, he has been an overweight clown and liability whenever he has played, including a horror show against Antonio Valencia. The possibility of him playing role in the teams bid for a Champions League place, and against Arjen Robben and co in the Champions League forced Wenger to bring in a new left-back in Nacho Monreal; a part of the pitch few had previously thought needed reinforcements. Santos is one of the Frenchman’s five worst signings due to how out of shape he has been in his time at the club, as well as numerous appalling performances. He sometimes did not even look like a football player as he leisurely strolled around the pitch.
Jeffers arrived in the summer of 2001, as part of Arsene Wenger’s summer spree, with big expectations as a “fox in the box” after impressing at Everton. His £8million pound fee only added to the pressure. He failed to live up it to it however, with his time at the club being dogged by injury and a failure to break into the team. He did not even play enough games in 2001/2002 to get a medal, and was moved on in 2003. Jeffers is one of Wenger’s worst signings due to his failure to deliver for the amount of money paid for him.
The Moroccan striker arrived from Bordeaux where he had scored for fun. He got some goals in his first few months, but after that the goals dried up. In numerous games the team was badly let down by his woeful performances when they needed him to be a super-sub. By the time he joined West Ham on loan, he had scored only 8 goals in forty games. What he shows is how many players cannot make the step up from French to English football, where the quality and intensity is higher. Like Arshavin, he has often appeared disinterested in helping the team, but instead has been content to sit on the bench pocketing a huge wage, which is why he is one of Wenger’s five worst signings.
The signing of Arshavin was the beginning of a move away from putting faith in youth. The Russian has played well at times, but his time at the club had been dominated by him sulking about his tax bill and pining to return to his native Russia. His frequent substitute appearances have seen him mostly dawdle around the side of the pitch looking uninterested in helping the team to win, which like Chamakh makes him one of Arsene Wenger’s five worst signings.
Who else should be on the list?
image: © wonker