Wenger's 10 most expensive Arsenal buys: £130+ million of hits, misses, and maybe's...

Cazorla Arsenal Debut

So what happens when Arsenal do splash the cash?

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis says Arsene Wenger is 'not afraid' to splash the cash. 

While his detractors moan about his eye for the bargain, he isn't quite the spendthrift he is made out to be. He has shown over the past 16 years that he certainly isn't worried about getting the chequebook out when he wants to.

Here is a look at his 10 most expensive buys for the club, with a look at whether they were hits or misses, or indeed still are a maybe...

1) Santi Cazorla  HIT

Santi Cazorla became Arsenal's record signing last summer, and already it is clear he is a success. The Spaniard is the team's most creative player, and when he is on form they invariably win. The £16 million fee was hailed as a bargain last summer and it has been proved just that. The most exciting aspect is that after a season of 'bedding in', he is likely to get even better.

2) Andrei Arshavin MISS

Andrei Arshavin should have been the star to propel the Gunners back to the big time after arriving in 2009. Brought in for £15 million he made an instant impact by scoring four goals away to Liverpool. He hit a memorable first leg winner over Barcelona two years later, but that was his last real highlight. He has just been released from his contract, after contributing very little at all over his past two seasons with the club.

3) Samir Nasri HIT

Samir Nasri will remain a divisive figure in recent Arsenal history, a very unpopular name among supporters after his petulant behaviour after leaving the Gunners. What can't be taken away from him are several impressive performances for the club during his three seasons there, scoring sensational goals against Fulham, Manchester United and Manchester City. The fact Arsenal sold him for a £10 million profit makes him a success.

4) Sylvain Wiltord HIT

The £13 million Arsenal spent on Sylvain Wiltord in 2000 was a record fee, in the wake of his goal for France in the European Championship Final. He did not turn out to be the striker they wanted him to be, mainly being utilised as a wide forward. He spent four seasons with the Gunners, leaving after the Invincibles campaign, but deserves a 'hit' purely for his title winning goal scored at Old Trafford in 2002.

5) Jose Reyes MISS

When Wenger bought Jose Reyes in 2004 it was a major statement of intent, showing the Gunners could spend amid the new threat of Roman Abramovich. Reyes bagged an early double against the Blues, but never really settled to achieve the add-on bonuses which would have taken his transfer fee above £13 million. He featured in the club's run to the Champions League final in 2006 but was left out of the match in Paris and was sold the following summer.

6) Olivier Giroud MAYBE

Olivier Giroud had an impressive debut season, although not quite 'better than Henry' like he would have us believe. The striker went in and out of form and needs to show greater consistency and deliver in the big games. If he had been a total success, then Arsenal would not be hunting a new forward this summer. His second season could define how he is judged.

7) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MAYBE

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be a hit, but it is so early on into his Arsenal career you never quite know what is around the corner. Arsenal paid £12 million for the Southampton starlet, and his versatility out wide and in the centre offers great potential. He is set to feature for England at next year's World Cup, and has all the attributes to go on and become an outstanding footballer.

8) Aleksandr Hleb MISS

Aleksandr Hleb is a classic case in point of a player who should not have left Arsenal when he did. After being signed for £11.2 million,  he never quite set the world alight, drifting in and out of games and failing to be entirely consistent. He leapt at the chance to join Barcelona but barely got off their bench and now plays for BATE Borisov.

9) Lukas Podolski MAYBE

Arsenal wasted no time in snapping up Lukas Podolski from Cologne last summer, and the German has had a steady start to his career. Despite this rumours have sprung up linking him with a move away, and like Giroud his second season at the club will be crucial. He has been played out wide but wants a move into the middle, which may depend on who Arsenal sign this summer.

10) Thierry Henry HIT

There is no question that the stunning signing of Thierry Henry is Arsene Wenger's biggest success. It seems crazy to consider that back in 1999, it was asked whether Wenger was making a gamble on signing him from Juventus. Henry went onto more more than 200 goals for the club, becoming their record scorer and now has his very own statue outside the Emirates.

Do you agree with the hits and misses? Are you confident Wenger will buy well this summer?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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