Worst Arsenal Signings: The Top 10 Biggest Arsenal Flops

Worst Arsenal Signings

Last Updated on September 22, 2021

Football transfers are always a gamble; it could be a case of make or break for clubs. Arsenal has signed some superstars in recent years; some have lived up to their hype. But that can’t be said for every major signing. The worst Arsenal signings make up our list of 10 Biggest Arsenal Flops.

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Arsenal has made a lot of quality signings over the years, but like any big club, Arsenal has had their fair share of flop arrivals as well.

Who are the top 10 flops in Arsenal history? Which Arsenal players have been in the ten worst Arsenal signings? Who are the top 10 worst Arsenal signings ever? Here, we will look at all the transfers that ended up not working out in North London.

The player’s price, their contribution to the team, and their overall play will contribute to their ranking on this list.


It’s fair to say that the Brazilian midfielder never lived up to the fans’ lofty expectations.

The former Brazil under-17 captain was physically weaker than many of his opponents, and his penchant to pass sides and backward irritated spectators.

Denilson spent his final two seasons at Emirates Stadium on loan before returning to the first team.

In a nutshell, Denilson’s performance for Arsenal was below par, hence making up the list of biggest Arsenal flops.

Marouane Chamakh

Chamakh joined Arsenal from Ligue 1 outfit, Bordeaux, in 2010. He cost Arsenal absolutely nothing and has still managed to end up on this list due to the expectations he carried along with him.

Chamakh had a promising start to his Gunners career, scoring 14 goals in 67 appearances before joining West Ham United on loan in January 2013.

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Robin van Persie was the starting number nine then, which forced the Frenchman to take a backseat.

However, Chamakh never looked capable enough to handle the Premier League. He had a dismal first touch, was very easily shoved off the ball, and was not decisive enough in front of the goal.

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Francis Jeffers

Now a firm part of the football lexicon, the “fox in the box” was a phrase that haunted Jeffers following his £8million switch from Everton to north London in 2001.

On paper, it seemed to make sense as Arsene Wenger had a pure goal-poacher to match. 

With all the craft and creativity in wide areas and around the penalty area – the then 20-year-old could turn into a 20-a-season man.

But Jeffers never settled in London and was consistently down the pecking order.

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Davor Suker

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It is one of the great tragedies of the Arsene Wenger era that crafty Croatian Davor Suker failed to impact the Gunners.

Signing a player of the pedigree and class of Suker represented a major transfer coup for Arsenal.

The club acquired the ex-Real Madrid man in the summer of 1999.

Suker had been far and away from the best striker at the 1998 World Cup. And his precise finishing, polished technique, and clever movement seemed certain to make him successful in North London.

But Suker failed to live up to his reputation. Suker joined an Arsenal side that had by now fully transitioned to a more direct style, based on quick counters, pace, and strength.

Suker scored the odd spectacular goal but never reached the heights many fans had hoped for.

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Oleg Luzhny

Luzhny has two FA Cups and one Premier League title to his name. Luzhny worldwide was highlighted at both centre-back and left-back for Arsenal.

Be that as it may, notwithstanding showing up in his first season at the club.

He was neglected as he couldn’t replace Lee Dixon from the first 11.

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Alexander Hleb

Alex Hleb has to be one of the worst Arsenal Signings. Hleb joined the club from Stuttgart in the Bundesliga in the summer of 2005 for about £6-8 million.

He had caught Arsenal’s eye the previous season after tearing Manchester United apart in a Champions League match.

But Hleb also had the annoying knack of retaining the ball for far too long and always taking extra touches. 

He drove Arsenal fans mad on countless occasions due to his penchant for continuing to twist and turn instead of releasing the ball.

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Giovanni Van Bronckhorst

The problem was that van Bronckhorst had no definite position at Arsenal.  The Dutchman failed to provide a cultured, left-footed complement to Patrick Vieira in central midfield.

Any modest success he achieved came in wide areas.  He operated briefly on the left wing, but his delivery was inconsistent, and his all-around game failed to match the rest of Gunner’s forward line.

The Dutchman ended his time in North London as a deputy to left-back Ashley Cole. 

Van Bronckhorst did eventually find success as an attacking fullback and featured for Spanish giants Barcelona. In the team that toppled Arsenal in the 2005/06 Champions League final.

Consider Reading: Best Midfielders of All time.

Joel Campbell

One of Biggest Arsenal Flops Joel Campbell

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There’s only so long you can push the angle that you’ll come good next season. Joel Campbell tested the limits of the idea during his seven years on Arsenal’s books.

That spell involved loans to no fewer than six clubs, plus a brief run in 2015. It looked like he was building to something at Arsenal but, as we know now, wasn’t.

The Costa Rican played roughly twice as many games for his country during those seven years than for Arsenal.

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Takuma Asano

A few Arsenal fans likely haven’t even thought about Asano since the day he signed for the club from Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2016.

Wenger tempered expectations by describing the Japan international as one for the future, but it turns out it wasn’t Arsenal’s future.

Asano never played a single competitive minute for the Gunners, spending three years on loan in Germany before making a permanent switch to Partizan in Serbia.

The 26-year-old has been on fire this season, scoring six times in the first four games.

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Park Chu-young

Park walked out of a medical with Lille after learning of the club’s interest, making it one of the weirdest acquisitions of Wenger’s time at Arsenal.

The South Korean was highly regarded in Ligue 1 and scored on his debut in a League Cup match against Bolton. Still, he left the club in 2014 after only making 10 appearances due to a lack of playing time and doubts about his ability.

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Final Thought on Arsenal Flops

Arsenal hasn’t always covered themselves in glory in the transfer market over the years, with arguably more flops than successes coming through the Emirates Stadium doors.

Even great manager Arsene Wenger wasn’t immune to signing the odd flop, although he often got it right as well, with Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, and several others going on to do great things for the Gunners.

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Unai Emery bought his fair share of flops during his short spell, too, and no doubt Mikel Arteta has made mistakes during his tenure, too.

Every Club makes mistakes, and Arsenal has certainly got more right than wrong. A transfer market is a wild place for clubs. Players with lower fees might turn out to be the real deal.

But those big-money names in some cases in recent years like Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette have become a burst.

Further Reading:

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