Santos – Arsène’s worst value signing?

Is Santos Mr Wenger’s worst ever signing? Some would say so; at £6.8 m he certainly appears to be  an enormous waste of resources. The Brazilian has started just 13 games.

But is he worse than the £4m spent on Squillaci, (take away the “m” and the Italian would still have been expensive!)

Looking back at the signing and selling costs, AW has done a superb job but occasionally gets it wrong. For example, I would say that Hleb was a poor signing but we paid £11.2m and sold him two seasons later for £11.8m, so despite a unrewarding time on the pitch, Alex did well for the club.

What of Richard Wright? Cost £6m and arrived as the long-term replacement for Seaman. Sold on for half that having played just 22 games. He did win a PL Winners medal at AFC.


One of Richard’s good days

And Gio Van Bronckhorst, Signing for £8.5m and started a meagre  42 appearances. A poor return for such a fine player who was well worth the £3m Barca paid for him – his 2 seasons cost Arsenal £5.5m.  He played 105 games for Barca and won the Champions League.

Franny Jeffers. Our fox in the box signed with huge expectations for a huge£ 8m. Big Ears was just  20 years old when he signed and still a lad of  22 when he was sold to Charlton for £2.6 after just 13 starts. However, he won 2 Cup Medals during his time at Highbury  A loss of £5.4m – well over half his purchase fee.

Reyes. A marmite player – to some the superb talent who was kicked out of the Premiership, to others he was a man who refused to adapt to the English game. Antonio came at a cost of £13m, and was sold for £8m which was a decent return in my opinion. Nonetheless, Arsenal lost another £5m on the deal

Edu. Lovely player. Bought for £6m and given a free transfer just 3 years later. Why a free? Another £6m thrown away. And before we dismiss £6m, remember this is a huge amount of money. It will buy you 40 Mini-Coopers or 3 Michu’s or a house in Hampstead.


Corinthians of Brazil’s Director of Football

Wiltord. A World Cup winner, a member of the Invincibles, scorer of the winning goal at OT in the Double season of 2001/2 and voted Arsenal’s 33rd Best Player of All Time in 2008 (there really are some deluded fans out there!); it may be churlish to say Wiltord was an expensive flop but we paid £13m for him and he left on a free when his contract expired. Was he worth the money? I leave you to decide. £13m will buy a wing of a hospital.

But, in my opinion, the worst bit of business done by Mr Wenger is still at the club and he is a diminutive Russian. Arshavin cost us a whopping £15m, a club record, and how much can we sell him for?  Zip. Thankfully, he has run down his contract and will be leaving in summer, but the cost to Arsenal has been immense. Not just the loss of the transfer fee but also a colossal wage to a man who has continually flattered to deceive. The loss on Arshavin’s transfer fee  equates to almost £250 for every person attending a home game and you can double that with his wages.

Would you rather have a Monkey (£500) or a Meerkat?


Какая пустая трата денег

What do you think?

Note: The above figures have come from different internet sources. They are not confirmed by AFC.

Written by Big Raddy

134 Responses to Santos – Arsène’s worst value signing?

  1. Manthan Davda says:

    Hi BR great post,
    I dont agree with you regarding Ashravin… When we bought him he was very good and wanted player in europe… He was asked to play out of position by AW and he became flop… I cannot forgot his 4 goals agaisnt pool…. He was very good prospect when we bought him….

  2. naked goon says:

    about all the others I don’t have too much feeling for but Wiltord was underused and out of position mostly, didn’t complain and put in a good shift when needed.
    Edu is the one I feel sorry for, a superb player, loved by everyone at the club, and seemed to hardly get a game. I would love to have an Edu on board these days.

  3. Morning all, Big Dandy thanks for the post however it’s inevitable a post pillorying the meerkat would pique my interest and as expected I don;t agree that he’s the worst value as the season he arrived he contributed massively to us getting a top 4 spot as we were in an even worse shape for Top 4 that season than this. After a bright start he did fade gradually however I can’t believe he would have been too impressed as bring played upfront as a target man as our main strikers were injured(one VanJudas being one of those) while battling 6′ 2″+ centre backs.
    so I’d change the caption to the last picture to “Дешевые по сравнению с нашим номером 2”

    For me an important part of the cost-value analysis has to look at weekly wages as well with games played per season also important…and you know who has, year in year out, played very few games and been unavailable for selection. Whereas Arshavin has a good injury record – and could be used – there is one player who has a shocking injury record over along period of time and is still at the club also.

    Step forward our resident political agitator and (nearly)full time inhabitant of the sick room: A Diaby.

  4. Manthan Davda says:

    I agree Daiby & Rocsky hardly play 15 games a season and earn thier wages… Rocksy signed new contract last year.. if Arsene can give decent contract to him being injury prone and 30+ then sagna too deserve a decent new atleast 2 years of contract…..

  5. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning to you all,

    A slow news day in the World of Arsenal so well done BR for producing an interesting post.

    I was going to say that Santos was probably the worst ever but then I read Chary’s contribution and find I have to agree with him about Monsieur Diaby.

    It’s a difficult subject and one that is made harder by hindsight.

  6. Manthan – I know logically I should feel Rosicky is as guilty as Diaby in this respect but I admit to being irrationally more biased against Diaby rather than Tomas. Perhaps his liking for metal and his six string skills give him a free pass.
    Agreed Sagna does deserve more than a one year contract, we’ll have to wait and see how that one pans out.
    A quick word on Celtic last night, I did grin as the 3rd goal went in as I have no special liking for them after the ludicrous witch hunt they instigated against Eduardo for his so called diving. I wonder if they will start a crusade against shirt pulling in the penalty area ?

  7. Rob Lucchi says:

    All of Wenger’s worst signing that you mention above is a back up player. with the resources that we have even having two Koscielny is impossible. It’s even harder now to have a top back up player on a low wages to sit on the bench. The only way to have two Koscelny or two Cazorla is to pay high wages like other top club do.

    and I think Clichy was worse than Santos.

    cheers.nice post by the way.

  8. Jimucl19 says:

    all of the mentioned signings pale in significance to Diaby. He will have cost us almost 50m by the end of his current contract and played for about 500 minutes.

  9. Okocha says:

    Worst Wenger signing…Gervinho by a country mile!! 11 million for a guy who does more clueless things in 1 game than most players do in an entire season!!

    Arshavin would have been world class if he had being given the Carzola role, but instead Wenger decided that Arshavin could only ever play on the left wing…his finish against Barca was world class…99% of players would have stuck that effort in row Z!!

    I think Hleb was the beginning of wengers fascination with tricky wingers who were very quick but couldn’t cross a ball & didn’t really like to shoot!! He was a luxury type of player though…if we were 3-0 up, he’d be unplayable, 1-0 down & he’d be complete garbage!!

    I guess a follow on from this topic would be, who was wenger’s greatest ever signing?

    For me it was Cesc.

  10. GoonerB says:

    Great post Raddy and can I say very satirical. I would agree with some of the prior comments that certain players have been played out of position.

    Arshavin is a classic case that I feel we will never really know about in terms of how good he could have been. For me he looked every bit the number 10 type player who could score and create in equal measure but with more limited defensive duties placed on him. Playing the attacking left role with us in the EPL did not suit him so much, as I think the attacking wide role in our system in this league demands more defensive duties. I don’t even think it was laziness on his part necessarily but more that he just wasn’t designed to be good at that aspect of his game.

    I feel that AW has maybe done to AA what Mourinho did to Joe Cole. AA’s ideal role in our system would have been as the most attacking of the CM’s but he has never really been given that opportunity. I was impressed with him in this role / number 10 role pre-season against Cologne, and still for the life of me can’t work out why we haven’t played him more in this position, especially as it would give Jack and Santi a potential breather.

    I feel a little similar with Santos. We bought him when he had been plying his trade as a wing back and played him as a FB which didn’t suit him. Maybe in another league it would have, but the pace of the EPL doesn’t suit him as a LFB, so I feel in both his and AA’s case maybe it is less the players fault and more AW’s fault in buying players to play a position which is not ideal for them. Having said that the positives of the players that he has bought that do work out far outweigh the negatives of the ones that don’t.

    Must go now as I am just looking at a house in Hampstead, before going to buy the whole fleet at the local mini dealership, and this afternoon I am cloning Michu. What’s that…No just keep your mouth shut Edu and let me do the talking….I am sure I can convince them you are still worth the house the 40 cars and 3 Spanish Boyo’s. Catch you all later.

  11. Red Arse says:

    Well done Randy Dandy for producing a good and interesting Post when most other subjects have been exhausted. 🙂

    This is a very subjective topic, with more than 50 shades of grey, and it is unlikely that anyone having already formed an opinion will be persuaded to change their minds.

    [I say that having just read Norfolk’s conversion by CharyB – the exception to the rule?] 🙂

    An observation or two might be in order though, so here goes.

    I am much taken by the fairly recent explanation, put forward when a player performs poorly, and that is “he is or he has been played out of position”.

    Aside from the obvious literal meaning of that phrase, where does this idea come from?
    Is it because there is a belief that AW sits down over a nice glass of red and, like a mad football professor, plots the best/worst position to play someone , regardless of the inevitable damaging effect on the team?
    Why has he not played Szceszney at CF? If he had done, then he could have really played Arshavin out of position, because at 5’4″ he would be imperfect in goal.

    Am I being flippant?

    Well, yes, perhaps I am, but I see this comment used so frequently about the current team team too, although, I suppose, it has the virtue that someone must be right — some of the time! 🙂
    I think I will stick with Arsene to select the right players in the team, in the positions that suit them best in the circumstances.
    Nevertheless, let’s see who disagrees;

    — Gerv at CF? Wenger must be bonkers. He is a mesmerizing winger!
    — Playing Walcott on the wing? Surely he is a goal scoring CF, or,
    — Playing Walcott in the centre? Surely not – he is a wing pace man.
    — Rambo must play in front of the CBs, surely, not out on the wing.
    — Santos at left full back? That’s crazy — he is a …………… (OK I will give you that one!!) 😀
    — Jack playing in the hole supporting the attack? Rubbish! He is a defensive midfielder — isn’t he?
    — No! Jack cannot tackle without fouling, and anyway he will injure himself. He is obviously an attacking midfielder- who cannot shoot or score goals.
    (Uh, that last one may need working on!!) 🙂

    Not that I agree or disagree with any of them — obviously!! 😀

  12. Big Raddy says:

    I was only writing about transfer fees and not wage packet etc etc. IMO AA is the worst signing and if you don’t agree, you are wrong 😀

    Does it matter whether – in your opinion, (yes you, the person who knows more than the man who works with the player every day and is one of the world’s greatest managers) that player is played out of position or whether he is a bit player?

    In this whimsical post what matters is how much he cost and what we sold him for.

    Diaby cost less than both Denilson, Park. and Philippe Senderos. A veritable bargain 😉

  13. Ah Redders, trust you to fire a worthy broadside across my bows. 🙂

    Of course it is physically possible for any player to play anywhere but the point is each player has an optimal position/role that utilises their skill set to the maximum, and continued playing in a different position will, in time, demotivate that player.

    Naturally a match situation may require a player to fill in, but to set up – in the medium term -in a way that doesn’t allow the maximum number of components in the team to exploit their abilities can’t be right, surely ?

  14. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB, 🙂

    I was actually complimenting you for your silver tongued conversion of Norfolk! 😀

    Your premise is difficult to argue against in absolute terms.

    However, I was saying, somewhat tongue in cheek, that there are so many variations on which position a player is best suited to play in [hence the apparent dichotomy in my examples] that it begs the question “what is any specific player’s best position in the team, in any particular circumstance?”, and given the multiplicity of answers from any given number of fans, I feel that the only ‘gold plated’ decision is to go with AW’s intimate knowledge and experience of the individuals concerned.

    That being said; I would be telling porkies if I did not have certain reservations about some of AW’s decision making.

    For example, I would not have the Gerv playing at CF —– but then I would not have Gerv playing on the wing either. In fact, I would not have Gerv playing in the team. Period! 🙂

  15. Great post Raddy
    Bischoff and Park spring to mind. we paid Bischoff to et fit then decided he was pants and Signed Park to sell shirts and alienated the whole of South Korea

  16. LB says:

    If this was written with the intent to fill in a quiet Wednesday then I compliment the post and the author whole heartedly but if it was written with full belief then I am shocked and disagree with most of it.

    Can people really not understand the importance of buying players as cover? Isn’t it obvious that it is like taking out an insurance policy in the sense you pay for it but hope you never have to use it.

    Why can’t people understand that that was so obviously the sole reason that Wenger brought Squillaci. An experienced French international with CL experience who would be very pleased to come and play for Arsenal…..there’s the bench, go sit on it.

    Why Edu is in this list is beyond me. Brought for 6m, put in some superb performances, played out his contract and chose to leave……….and this is a waste of money how?

    I don’t even think Arshavin has been a waste of money; he has been worth his signing on fee and his wages just for the 4 goals he scored against Liverpool at Anfield.

    OK, Jeffers, well yes, he was absolute rubbish but we all have since acknowledged that one.

  17. Sir Alex Ferguson is disappointed Manchester United and Real Madrid cannot meet in the Champions League final.

    Only because he’s shit scared of meeting Barca again.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    chary. No offense meant.

    But …….. IF Arshavin was the player we all expected then he would have made whatever position he was best suited to his own. The possibility of AA playing behind the main striker must have been tried countless times in training.

    The sad fact is that AA has not been able to convince his manager that he deserves such a position. When one considers that we had no player to fill the DB10 role, it is a damning indictment of the Russian.

    RA. You raise some interesting points. I agree with you about Gerv but once again the team must have practiced with him in the centre

  19. LB says:

    Watching Barça rubbing manu’s nose in it is the only time nowadays that I can stand watching the Catalan’s.

  20. Ha ha Redders, if I throw enough darts I’m bound to hit the board eventually. 🙂

    Good point GM, I’d almost forgotten about Bitchslappp.

    I really hope Ronaldo tears Fungusscum’s team of front bottoms a new one tonight. 4 nil to The Specious one’s team, a torn hamstring for VanJudas and a straight red for Shrek and Vidic would be nice.

    Not asking for much am I ?

  21. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Sorry the post shocked you.

    How you can say Edu was good value is also beyond me. If he was, why didn’t we re-negotiate his contract with a year to go?

    Arshavin? See above.

    As to signing cover. Yes of course we need squad members and of course not all signings are for the first team. Did I suggest otherwise? All the above players were signed for the first team with the possible exception of Wright.

  22. Red Arse says:

    No, you are not asking for too much CharyB, and to your list I would add — Shrek being arrested for being in possession of a hideously ugly mug! 🙂

  23. Big & Randy, I always thought if he was in a position where he has little responsibility, ie a creative player in the middle, he may thrive as he would not be expected to help on the defensive side because by their nature creative midfielders have to make high risk passes to set up chances.

    Agreed, he didn’t help himself with some half-arsed performances but used differently(i.e. where he was just given licence to create) and with some appropriate motivation I feel he could have been good for us longer than he was. The man was/is a great talent and on the ball, even earlier this season, he shows a great deal more composure and talent than others who Wenger has persisted with.

    Redders – you can add “being in possession of a dodgy syrup” to Shrek’s charge sheet. 🙂

  24. Simon says:

    Whilst I agree with the players listed, you also have to consider what they gained the club when they played, ie how much money did we earn as a result of that last minute goal or last ditch tackle?

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Young Chary. We disagree. IMO Arshavin has been a complete waste of money.

    AW doesn’t trust him to perform for more than 15 mins. Can you recall the last time Arshavin played 90 mins? No? Neither can I.

    It is up to the player to persuade his manager to play him and AA has not done so.

    Where we agree is that AA has wonderful talent and in retrospect coming to Arsenal was a mistake both for the club and himself.

  26. No worries Big Daddy, although to answer your question he played the full 90 ( plus 30 minutes+ of extra time)against Reading in the Capital One cup this season, where he provided either 2 or 3 assists.

  27. arshavin probably saved our CL qualification the year he came. He’s been disappointing though

  28. Manthan Davda says:

    You told AW tried him playing AA as SS position in training he might have not met the expection..
    Sorry I dont agree with you…..Wenger always play players according to his wish if your training thing is true then do you think Gerv has impressed him by playing as striker in training or ramsey in the wing… Wenger played ramsey and gerv in wide and center respectivly at the start of season.. If ramsey continue to play there for 2 more season its obvious he wont be good and when he leaves we cannot say he is a waste position made him waste…

  29. Red Arse says:

    There are any number of “if, ands, and buts” when trying to gauge or evaluate a player’s worth, some of which do not become apparent until after he has been bought.

    Where a player is eventually seen as a financial ‘net loss’ to the club, there is an intrinsic criticism of the manager and his scouting staff, but taking a couple of examples, it can be seen that the ‘evaluation’ and therefore the criticism is unfair.

    Diaby is often held up as an example of a poor buy, and a waste of money, but the facts do not support that opinion. Every pundit or professional player who remarks on Diaby’s ability is full of praise, with the proviso ‘when he is fit’. Was Wenger supposed to know when he bought him (for about £3m) that he would suffer a career threatening injury.

    I suppose someone must be blamed — so if it isn’t Wenger’s fault it must be …… well, it’s Diaby’s fault ………. obviously!
    How dare he allow himself to be smashed by a no hope Sunderland defender, who has been long forgotten! Tssk!

    And then there is Arshavin. A player who most would admit had, and still has, great technical skill, and who has represented his country at the highest level. A waste of time and money? Wenger’s fault … again?

    Most decidedly NO. The problem is not unique to Arshavin, and it relates to the supercharged, physical pell mell of the EPL, which cares little for the finesse and technical ability of smaller players, and instead relies more on the stamina and strength of a player.

    Yes, I know, there have been smaller players who have managed to adapt their abilities to the demands of the EPL, but in one essential area, Arshavin has never been able to do so. And that is his stamina.

    He can only last for 60 minutes in any game and this has undermined his confidence and from that his overall game has also suffered. Is it his fault? Is it Wenger’s fault?

    Unless you suck it and see, you will never know, and in Arshavin’s case it did not work out. It happens – live with it.

  30. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Since my “blinding light” moment, upon reading Chary’s comment, I have been considering a rethink. Was Arshavin perhaps an attempt at a “marquee” signing? Record transfer fee, high(ish) wages, Russian international and bought to provide an immediate impact and generate a bit of good publicity. If so what a fabulous start he had with four goals in the Anfield game.

    Sadly, it has been mostly downhill since then, even faster than an Olympic skier on the iced glazed Hahnenkamm ski run.

    I think in the circumstances I’m going to go for Abou Arshavin, the Franco/Russian midfield/striker, as Wenger’s worst ever signing.

    OK it’s a cop out but so what?

  31. Red Arse says:

    Norfolk, that seems eminently reasonable, and if someone disagrees with you …………. I would like to see them disprove your contention!! 🙂

  32. LB says:


    “How you can say Edu was good value is also beyond me. If he was, why didn’t we re-negotiate his contract with a year to go?”

    If the board had persuaded him to re-sign a year before his contract came to an end and later sold him to Valencia then that would have been good value but the fact that they were unable to persuade him to stay does not make him bad value.

    Not every player the club signs is done so with a view to making a profit from a resale

    So I repeat, Edu was signed for 6mil, he worked out his contract, he fulfilled the job he was contracted to do and then chose to leave, if you still think that he was bad value I would love to know why?

  33. Red Arse says:


    I once had beer and Schnitzel in Kitzbuhel, does that count as being an expert on the Hahnenkamm?

    I also stood at the top of a downhill ski slope, (in the summer) 🙂 and felt queasy at the very thought of going down it. No way!

  34. Norfolk Gooner says:


    I haven’t been to Kitzbuel, but I have just come back from a week in the Three Valleys, standing at the top of the mountain in a near white out at -18c and contemplating the black run down into Courcheval was a moment to savour….as it was I ckickened out and took the red run instead.

  35. Redders, I had chocolatt in Zermatt – does that make me Mr Cadburys ? 🙂

  36. Red Arse says:


    I had chocolat in Zermatt too, then had to fight my way onto the teeny weeny train back down the mountain, with skis being stuck into every crevice known to man ………….. or woman. 😀

  37. Ha ha Redders, that was your mistake trying to go local, I know never to even attempt to ski, I don’t have the aptitude for it.

  38. Red Arse says:


    I have to admit — no skier I.

    It suits me better to lounge around the apres ski scene in a nonchalant manner, trying to look suitably chic with a carefree, tho’ world weary expression, hoping no one would ask me which route did I like best.

    Embarrassing to have to admit that the ‘rail route’ would be my downhill of choice!!

    You are a braver man than me! 😀

  39. 26may1989 says:

    Nice provocative little number, Raddy, mange tak.

    Worst Arsene signing (none of which are a patch on the worst signings under previous managers since the 1970s): has to be Frannie Jeffers. Even the player almost admits as much. Ju-Yong Park is a strong second place (though I don’t believe Wenger has ever signed an East Asian player for anything other than his footballing ability), and Richard Wright also makes my podium. Amazingly, Julio Baptista and Marouane Chamakh miss out.

    On Santos, I don’t agree with those who slate everything he’s done since he joined. Don’t get me wrong, his ability to hand possession to the oppo and his wayward positioning are deeply annoying, but his qualities often get ignored: his tackling rate is fantastic, as is his ability to win aerial duels. I’m happy we’ve traded up to Nacho and that he and Gibbs will cover LB duties, and I hope Santos makes a permanent move elsewhere in the summer. But I do feel the slagging off has been over-done in Santos’s case.

    On Diaby, I agree with Chary (for all the talent, the signing has been a disaster), and on Arshavin I agree with GoonerB and Okocha (played out of position, and was great for the first 18 months).

    And on the idea of signing players as cover, I completely agree with LB. I hear loads of people go on about how wonderful the team of 1999-2005 was. And the first XI plus the next few were great, but look behind them and you very quickly get to more ordinary players (Cygan, Hoyte, Stack, Stepanovs etc). And that’s how it should be, back-up players should be more ordinary talents, old geezers or up and coming youngsters, else there will quickly be frustration and wasted resources.

    On Edu, I have a minority view: excellent player but one who ripped the club off. He arrived on a forged passport, got refused entry to the country, so we lost the first season of his services while that was being sorted out. Then he was instantly crocked on a long term injury. And when he finally started, the first thing he did was score an OG in a bizarre 3-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough. He then took a while to acclimatise and had little impact that season. The following year, he did well, finally producing for us. But then he refused to negotiate a new deal, preferring to cash in on his now increased value by going to Valencia on a Bosman. Sorry to say it, but I was quite pleased that he almost instantly got injured there and hardly played. I know that’s cruel, he was obviously popular in the squad, but if ever a player should have paid back the club and fans, it was Edu.

  40. Red Arse says:

    Very interesting viewpoint, 26, and hard to disagree with much of it.

    However, (and obviously I am not the author of this fine Post) I think Randy Dandy was really alluding to a [the worst] waste of [financial] resources, in which case a number of the players you mention were not in that category, as they were either youth players or cost peanuts.

    And you know what they say — pay peanuts and you get minkeys! 😀

  41. 26may1989 says:

    I think I have two spare tickets for Saturday’s game – lovely position, on the halfway line, behind the tunnel. Cover price, so £40 each.

    The only problem would be logistics in terms of getting them to you and getting them back in time for the Bayern game on Tuesday (which I am going to!).

    Anyone interested?

  42. 26may1989 says:

    Hi RA. I know Randilicious tried to constrain discussion, but I’m just not having that! The opening question is: “Is Santos Mr Wenger’s worst ever signing?” And that’s what I’m sticking to!

    Uh-oh, now I’m in trouble with our friend in Denmark………

  43. RockyLives says:

    Well done BR – your Post (No. 201?) has prompted some very interesting reflections on a lot of players.

    I have no problem with Edu, Wiltord, Gio VB, Reyes, Arsh and even Santos and Chamakh. You know that you’ll never have a situation where all new players become legends, but all of the above did a decent job for us at times.

    When it becomes clear that they are not going to be the success we hoped they would be, it’s best to move them on and perhaps this is where we have been less successful.

    For me the outright bad buys have been Jeffers (although only bad with hindsight – he was much sought after at the time and generally reckoned to be the next Michael Owen); and Park – a total mystery signing.

  44. RockyLives says:

    AW has tried Gerv as a striker a few times because (as I pointed out recently) in his last two seasons in France before joining us, he scored 36 goals.

    It may not have worked out that well for us (although he did knock a few in), but it was not, on the face of it, an unreasonably stupid move by AW.

  45. LB says:


    Do you believe that Arsenal paid Edu’s wages after he was denied entry into the UK, being forced to return to Brazil? I don’t. If he lied to the club about his passport the club would have had a choice: they could have cancelled his contract or they could have waited without paying him until he sorted these problems out. I go with the latter.
    He then arrived at the club, joining a quality midfield, put in some decent performances and then as is his right, chose not to re-sign. Isn’t it a given by now that this loyalty thing is an anachronism in football?

  46. LB says:

    Well said Rocky and there was a short time earlier in the season when played through the middle Gervinho was scoring goals.

  47. LB says:

    I should add, It didn’t last long and I am not advocating that he be played through the middle any time soon

  48. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rock-a-doodle, 🙂

    Your UMF league input — if you please!! 🙂

  49. tomstoned says:

    interesting post Big Raddy !
    here’s the explanation for Wenger’s panic was down to the financial situation,so my guess is he bought a bunch of players hoping some of them would come good,well it was a gamble..
    i think he was trying very hard to keep our best players,but couldnt offer them what they asked,..i think he tried to explain the situation and almost begged them to hang in there for better times(now)…
    if you look at this seasons buys you see a change..podolski,cazorla,giroud and last but not least nacho…if Wenger was right all along ,and what Gooners seems to grasp now what have slowed us down was the move to The Emirates,im getting very excited about our future…maybe not this season..but for the future…we’re slowly but surely building a superb team…
    i think we all could agree that we’re headed for a bright future…mistakes have been done and will be done but one can see a clear plan…something we havent seen in a while..
    sorry for the lack of posts recently and its not because we’re doing well..;)..
    over and out from the polar bear country !

  50. Hi TomS – always great to see you and just for a change I look out of my window in the south of England and can see blizzards of snow here.
    Not quite Svalbard but to those of us used to temperate climates it looks like the north pole.

  51. weedonald says:

    BR….you forgot to mention Silvestre. If the point of your article was to pillory Wenger and AFC for their excessive wastefulness as compared to any other Club in the EPL, then you’ve missed the boat completely! With a little effort you could have compared AFC’s record with Manchester United’s, or Chelsea’s or almost any other EPL Club….or better still Real Madrid’s and even Barcelona’s.
    My point is that your whine is unjustified as the last two Club’s mentioned have had and still have some very skilled and expensive purchases on their books and in the case of Barcelona, Henry cost them almost 800,000 Euro a game, while Real have a bench capable of beating most any CL team on any given day, yet they continue to hoard them like evil dwarves hoard gold. Speacking of wasting money, Arsenal’s expenditures pale in comparison to Manchester City’s profligacy. Almost a billion Euro spent on a team that cannot seem to perform up to expected standards. At least Arsenal’s outlays are producing results now….yet you moan about all that money ¨wasted¨ over 40 years or so when City wasted 5 times that amount over 5 years!!

  52. Weedonald “continue to hoard them like evil dwarves hoard gold…” Love it !

  53. Rasp says:

    Hi weedonald, It is amazing how different people can read the same article and yet receive opposing inferences.

    I don’t think for one moment that Raddy’s article was a covert way of exposing AW’s profilgacy in the transfer market (as you point out his record is quite good) – Raddy is a supporter of AW. Rather I think it may have been a reaction to the rather harsh condemnation of Santos from some quarters following his departure on loan. I remember Raddy being unhappy at the scapegoating of Santos in his last game for us.

  54. 26may1989 says:


    Do I think the club paid Edu’s wages when we went back to Brazil for a season? I don’t know, all loan deals have different terms on paying salaries. But the £6m we forked out for the transfer fee was a major investment at the time (the equivalent now would probably be about £12-15m), and that was money spent. We didn’t have someone else in for the season to fill the spot, we just had to make do while Edu applied for a work permit as a Brazilian, rather than the Italian he had been pretending to be.

    Yes, the club could probably have cancelled his contract but they would have had an enormous battle getting the transfer fee back. And my guess is Dein or someone else at the club knew that there was a dodgy passport, so I don’t put all the blame on the player (though it is primarily his responsibilty). You may recall the sudden and cheap exit of Silvinho, who went (I think) to Celta Vigo not as a Portuguese player (as he had been with us) but as a Brazilian, using a precious non-EU squad spot. And there was a Latvian guy we signed who had a Greek passport that I think was dodgy too.

    I absolutely agree it’s a player’s right to stick to his contract, and leave at the end on a free – that is a risk the club takes at the outset. But my gripe over Edu is a moral one – having effectively wasted the best part of two years on him before we got the player we originally bought, in large part because he lied to the authorities about his ancestry, he began engineering his departure as soon as he put some decent performances in, got his Brazil caps etc. It was his right but to me it was shoddy behaviour, I think he owed us.

  55. David Stewart says:

    What I find most interesting about this post is that recently I was considering who was Arsenal’s worst player of the last 30 years (very subjective, I know). Of course, this was limited to their on-field contribution and not the financial loss that BR has evaluated here. Furthermore, I restricted it to players who had played at least 100 games for Arsenal (it would be too simplistic to look at Paul Rodgers disatrous 45min cameo in the League Cup several seasons back). The interesting thing was I couldn’t seperate Arshavin & Diaby. So similar to many of the conclusions in this article!

  56. Rasp says:

    For me, the purchase of Silvestre from manu was our worst ever signing simply because of what it represented – they sold us Silvestre (a manu reject) for 650k and we sold them our captain and best player (and with him the PL title) for £24m. I guess both were good business but they leave a very unpleasant taste.

  57. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Nice post BR I totally agree with the post all the players mentioned have been a waste of time.
    Edu though did a RVP and seen out his contract ,so I can’t include him in the list of worst signings.
    This guy would make it on that list I’m not sure what we paid for him but I’m sure one of u will inform me of the price .

    He did my head in when he wore the red shirt of Arsenal.

    Nicklas Bendtner
    If the Dane was half as good as his exaggerated ego would have you believe then he would be a world beater, unfortunately, he’s not.
    Giant forward has been at Arsenal for eight and a half years and has never been a first team regular, currently amazing on loan at Serie A title holders Juventus. A move that defies belief, however the Gunners bit-part player hasn’t impressed and has suffered with injuries.
    Quite how Bendtner has been allowed to amass 157 appearances for the North London club is hard to fathom. Unlikely to make it to 158 though.

    PS come on Real Madrid and a Ronaldo hatrick tonight.

  58. 26may1989 says:

    Silvestre really was a bad experience – we all knew he was a bad player from watching him at United. It was therefore like watching a car crash in slo-mo to see his performances for us. As I’ve already said, I fully appreciate the qualities of a back-up player (and I don’t really mind Squillaci for that reason) but Silvestre couldn’t be said to reach that standard. It’s a shame, he seems like a decent guy, but he wasn’t a good signing. And it wasn’t surprising to see that his time at Werder Bremen didn’t go well either.

  59. Rasp says:

    What is interesting is that every time a ‘star player’ leaves, other players in the squad step up to fill the void. Henry – Cesc, Cesc – RvP, RvP – Jack …. all we need to do now is keep hold of the emerging talent 🙄

  60. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (bought for £7m, sold for £25m)
    Unpopular player. Popular profit.

  61. tomstoned says:

    Chary mate :) advice the stay inside ;)we dont want to lose you..and have a great evening !.came back from the great white open yesterday and it was -42 degrees celsius..brrrr !!..

  62. tomstoned says:

    Spot on Rasp..
    one could only dream of the team we could have fielded if we ad been able to keep em all…
    lets hope the changes that we see now is just the beginning…if..then..i would say…barca who ?;)

  63. kelsey says:

    Afternoon all

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the strangest signing in the Wenger years

    Park Ju Young 🙂

    Did we actually pay anything for him ?

  64. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey, 🙂

    Actually, at least two people mentioned Park, @ 2:43 and 3:06, so no need to be surprised!

    Altho’ they might have meant Wembley Park, or Regents Park, or perhaps Car Park — who knows? 😀

  65. Red Arse says:


    Park also mentioned @ 11:58 and 12:50, and I think he cost between £5m and £6m. 😀

  66. Bayonne Jean says:

    Big Raddy, you’re being too harsh on Arsh. You’re looking mainly at the transfer outlay vs. return signing fee, and granted 15 million compared to nothing in return is eye-catching. But he was very instumental in keeping Arsenal in the CL on his arrival, so that saved revenue has to be factored into a player’s overall value return equation. Even last season, when every point counted in staying in the CL for this year, you could point to critical positive contributions (e.g., only goal vs. Swansea from that acute angle; put-it-on-a-plate assist in stoppage time to TH12 at Sunderland) as saving that revenue as well as the CL status that attracts the Podolski’s, Santi’s, Giroud’s. And to describe AA23’s efforts has “half-arsed” is very misleading; “ample-arsed” would be more descriptive….

    Even Santos has made positive contributions that factor into the above argument.

    No, for me the biggest failure has been with the player who has contributed the term “squillaciesque” to the lexicon. What exactly has been the positive return there?

    On another point: for those hoping to have RM tear apart ManU, try to be a bit more dispassionate. Rather have ManU advance to the CL semis, have them field a weakened side at the Emirates in a potential dead rubber PL match for them, and then get ripped apart in the semi second leg.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    weedonald “Looking back at the signing and selling costs, AW has done a superb job but occasionally gets it wrong.”

    The point of the post was not a comparison with other clubs. I don’t have the time nor inclination to undertake such a mammoth task.

    RA. & my 11.58. (Park)

    kelsey. We paid €3m

  68. kelsey says:

    Which shows I don’t always read the comments 🙂

    Jon Sammuels used to get so much stick in the sixties that the word around was that he was only in the team as he was related to a director. Actually he wasn’t that bad on his day (Fairs Cup Final second leg goal)

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Bayonne. I accept that AA has done some good things for the club.

    I can only assume that being an ex-pat my English has let me down. The post is a clumsy attempt to provoke a debate about transfer fees and returns. As such the £15m lost on Arshavin makes him the worst bit of business done through Wenger’s reign and probably in Arsenal history.

    From the comments it is clear I didn’t think it through 😀

    Rocky. This was 208! Another poor calculation…..

    RA. According to Transfer Tables (not Park cost £3m

  70. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. How strange you mention Jon Sammels. I was going to write a post about him last week.

    Sammels was my first fave player and he remains one of my heroes. I always thought he got a hard time from the crowd but as I was but a lad I probably couldn’t judge .

    I just liked his hair and the way he held his his shirt sleeves over his hands and his demeanor.

    Hardly a day goes by without me singing “Aye yi yi yiii Sammels is better than Pele”

  71. It is plain to see that Arsenal, after the Invincible era, wanted to spend as little money on the team as they could. It is also clear that Arsene’s agenda was to seek recruits who were French speaking as much as possible. Silvestre was a dud who Ferguson sold us and must have laughed as he did so. There is a lot to be admired about Arsene Wenger, but his greed / need for trophies does not match that of this fan. Our situation in the premiership is almost unique. Need I say that we are the Arsenal? The neglect and surrender to relegation haunted Birmingham in the Silly Cup is still impossible for me to swallow. Me who has been a supporter/ fan for forty or so years! That was the pits especially after the Eduardo incident. No motivation to win then, or what. where did we go from there? Um,.Qualification for the Champions league being the limit of our ambition is dismal.
    It is a shame that Big Man U.and all the other clubs can now see the exposed ass of Arsenal, and I shudder if should we advance to the final of the Proper Cup, we find ourselves up against the ones our manager deign to be the ones we can no longer compete against.
    Oh for some “derring do”
    I love Arsenal!!!!!!!!!!! I want to resume liking them again.

  72. Good post Big Man. Sorry I digressed. Abou Diaby is the worst in my opinion due to the hopes pinned on his ability by some fans. Hopes which never ever will be fulfilled because he is not strong enough.

  73. goonerjake says:

    Rami Shaaban for worst signing? ….maybe a bit unfair

  74. kelsey says:

    Henry Winter ‏@henrywinter

    ZZ Top rocking the Bernabeu now, sadly not Zinedine Zidane. Bon Jovi’s Bad Medicine, Status Quo’s Whatever You Want. Golden Oldies Night

  75. Shard says:

    Till last season, Arshavin had 70 league appearances for Arsenal scoring 23 goals and 20 assists, and 15 appearances in the CL, scoring 5 goals I think if Arshavin had been signed by Chelsea and given that kind of an output, we’d view him as a decent enough buy.

    He’s not worked out as we would have hoped, and not lived up to his potential and early promise, but he’s not even close to being a terrible purchase, at least as far as I’m concerned.

    As for Edu, it took him a few years to get going, but he was an important player. In fact, losing Vieira would have been an easier transition if Edu hadn’t left the same year. On an interview with some Brazilian Arsenal fansite, he said Wenger made him 2 offers for renewing his contract (and making him co-captain), which weren’t good enough. The third offer was, but by then he had already committed to Valencia. I wouldn’t rate him as a poor purchase though. Regardless of the money.

    For me, the worst signing, in monetary terms (and maybe even apart from that) was Francis Jeffers. Arrived with all the talk of being an English fox in the box, got injured, and was not even as good as Jeremie Aliadiere. Richard Wright always annoyed me. I don’t know why. I never quite liked him. We paid 2m for Jermaine Pennant when he was a teenager. We probably recovered more from his sale, but I would rate that as a poor buy as well.

  76. I think silvestre was still being paid by the mancs after we bought him. i think he was sent to sabotage us. When we conceded 4 at camp nou 5 of them were tweety pie’s fault

  77. RockyLives says:

    Rasp, Peaches
    I’ve slipped a “quiet week quickie” into drafts…

  78. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Come on Madrid tonight do Man Poo just do it.
    Been watching Jose maurino I’d like him to take over from Wenger we may win something !.

  79. evonne says:

    GM – do you want Maureen to win tonight? I bet you do

  80. evonne says:

    feck, so close…..

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Only passing by to say thanks Raddy
    Just sped red through the comments and much chat about Santos and Arshavin.
    Both very talented but no-one has mentioned the main obstacle confronting this dynamic duo:
    Salad Dodgers

  82. Big Raddy says:

    This game is a question of pest or cholera. I don’t like either club,

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Micky ROFL

  84. evonne says:

    pest for me Raddy 🙂
    Sorry I had no time to read your post yet, rushed off my feet lately

  85. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    RVP booked first 5 mins
    Much love

  86. evonne says:

    Dear Sheep – unless He is dead, I don’t want to hear about him

  87. evonne says:

    Lively here tonight! If I didn’t know any better I’d think that you all went to church for the Ash Wednesday mass tonight

  88. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Dear Evonne ok got the message
    This may make u happier Ronaldo scored 1-1

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Very entertaining half. RM have some wonderful players

  90. 26may1989 says:

    Evonne, being a dyed in the wool heathen, there’ll be no mass going in the 1989 household. Even if my sister and one of my brothers have become Catholics……

    So no one wants the tickets for the Blackburn game? I’ll have to put them out to others but if anyone does want them, don’t be shy.

  91. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Good game BR Sheepy watching it

  92. Mallard says:

    Thanks for all of the brilliant posts since I last commented. I am reading but without the ability to search YouTube, I’m hamstrung for comments.
    Pictures are my medium. I’m at the gym bar hoping bsr gets a second yellow for shooting. Fat effin chance. 🙂

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Mallard. Get a dongle – we need your input

  94. Rasp says:

    Message from peaches ……. We need a post god tomorrow – or else! 😉

  95. Rasp says:

    Just seen that St Rocky has slipped a post into drafts – but we still need more so no hiding place from peaches 🙂

  96. evonne says:

    Rasp – why was my comment removed?

  97. Big Raddy says:

    Higuian is very average. RM need a decent CF.

  98. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. No idea why. There is nothing pending or in trash – must have been wordpressed

  99. 26may1989 says:

    Modric looked pretty good this eve, added some zip to Real’s passing. Interesting game, difficult to know who I was rooting for.

  100. evonne says:

    no worries Raddy, wasn’t important anyway 🙂

    United have done well with a point. RM were below par, imho

    Night all xx

  101. evonne says:

    26may – I replied to your earlier comment, but after a few mins it disappeared. If in doubt – hate anything United

  102. Gooner In Exile says:

    Well that was an interesting read Raddy, following what I thought was a pretty unedifying CL match. But I did do a big ROLF at BSRs pirouette and shank it volley, pricing what many of us have said he doesn’t score every goal. De Gea earning lots of plaudits but in the second half I watched I didn’t think he really had to make any exceptional saves.

    As for Raddys post I think it highlights why the clubs transfer budget also includes future wages.

    Each signing should be judged on cost + wages over length of contract.

    Arshavins transfer fee + wages has probably been covered by getting us in to the CL that season, and then helping us to very nearly win the PL the following season and achieve CL football again. So despite there being no transfer fee sell on it can be seen as good business.

    He also highlights why I have an issue with signing players around 28, they only have so many years left in the legs especially if previously those legs had extra red blood cells when they arrived at the club (as intimated by Arsene in a recent interview).

  103. 26may1989 says:

    Wenger suggested Arshavin was doped at Zenit? Really?

  104. Gooner in Exile says:

    No he suggested that many players had arrived at the club and had high red blood cell counts.

    It was an article GM linked to the other day, hang on i’ll find it.

  105. Gooner in Exile says:

    Here you go:

    “In 2004, he spoke about players arriving at Arsenal from overseas with abnormally high red blood cell counts. He said it was likely that some clubs dope their players without the players even knowing about it. “That kind of thing makes you wonder,” he said.”

  106. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers Exile, much appreciated.

  107. RedMJ says:

    Outside of the AW era but in terms of appearances, Clive Allen has to be the worst signing but we did at least get Kenny Sansom in return.

  108. 26may1989 says:

    That article in The Scotsman is excellent.

  109. Shard says:

    My comment’s disappeared.

    GIE, In the second link that you provided, there is a further (current) article about WADA urging the PL to do more for testing. They say that EPO, which the FA in 2004 said they would test for, is not being tested for enough. And once again, doping in football has only hit the news because Wenger brought it up (He was asked only about the match fixing/gambling story that broke earlier)

  110. Gooner In Exile says:

    It really is as I said to GM when he posted it it is ashame we don’t have writers in the English press prepared to incur the wrath of the Purple Conked one in the same way for fear of being banned from press conferences for the foreseeable future.

    Watching Madrid tonight further confirmed my view of Mourinho as a Psychologist more than a Football Coach. He appears to have a knack for pushing teams close to the top over the edge, by giving the players assembled by others belief to achieve what they are close to. But his methods appear to be short term, he doesn’t seem able to then improve them further by adding players or tweaking style of play, and the tricks he uses do not appear to continue to be effective.

  111. 26may1989 says:

    Outside the Wenger era? Where do we start? Lydersen, Carter, Kiwomya, Helder and McGoldrick would be a good place.

    Going back to Le Prof, Kaba Diawara may not have cost much but he was anything but a success. Likewise, Christopher Wreh wasn’t great.

    Incidentally, I saw Alex Manninger playing for Augsburg in the Bundesliga the other day. He isn’t the fresh faced kid anymore, but he still looked a very decent keeper.

  112. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shard some will say that Wenger shouldn’t be talking about these things and he should just concentrate on Arsenal, but the press ask questions and he gives honest and well thought out answers and that’s one of the main reasons I have so much respect for him.

  113. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed Exile, the way the journos and pundits are so craven with Ferguson is utterly pathetic. And then when they have a manager who answers their questions and treats them with respect, i.e. Wenger, they abuse him.

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    “Lydersen, Carter, Kiwomya, Helder and McGoldrick would be a good place.”

    Ouch, Jimmy Carter pulled on the red and white…..shocking!

  115. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lee Chapman……

  116. Shard says:

    Me too GIE. He just comes across as an intelligent, cultured, and principled man. The issue of doping in itself is very important. It shouldn’t be left to Wenger to initiate a discussion on it. But like other important issues in football, most journalists seem to avoid it at all costs. Instead we’ll get transfer rumours, and the x years without a trophy line.

  117. 26may1989 says:

    Signing Lee Chapman really pissed me off – he played against us for Stoke, scored the winner, and we then signed him the following summer, and he was complete pants.

  118. Shard says:


    Agree completely with your view on Mourinho. I think what he’s managed better than any football club, is his career.

  119. 26may1989 says:

    Sigi Jonsson and Colin Pates would be candidates for the list too.

  120. 26may1989 says:

    Have just seen Pat Rice being awarded the MBE by the Queen. Well done to him.

  121. Ray from Norfolk, Virginia says:

    Squillaci is not Italian, but French.
    In fact, he was once a French International.
    Worst signings ever: Santos, Squillaci, Silvestre
    Best signings ever: Thierry, Cesc, Vieira
    The good signings were fairly inexpensive, and we made money when they got transferred out; I am financially conservative, and I like the Wenger way; particularly, we sold Na$ri for a lot, and now he is a benchwarmer at $hitty. I am also waiting for the upcoming RvP career-ending injury, which was very likely (just waiting for the correct opposing Neanderthal / referee combination) while he was wearing our shirt. Of course, RvP in a Manure shirt is protected by the PGMOL mafia.

  122. Red Arse says:

    Where is the dongle-less Daffy Duck Mallard?

    Morning all, 🙂

  123. Red Arse says:

    Where is the Mallard-less Micky?

    Blimey? 🙂

  124. LB says:

    Wooo, that article in the Scotsman (GIE 11.01) is something very special.

  125. LB says:

    Well, I have learnt somethng this morning: Squillaci is French not Italian.

  126. evonne says:

    LB – so what ? 🙂 still a shite player

    morning all

  127. evonne says:

    Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead, strange and sad

  128. LB says:

    Shite player to some — experienced back up to others.

  129. LB says:

    That’s Squillaci not Oscar Pistorious BTW

  130. evonne says:

    2 sides to every story and truth ALWAYS in the middle

  131. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all.

    I always thought Squid could do a job for us, his performances were judged playing alongside unintended partners, I am sure Arsene thought he would be the quiet reader of the game to play alongside TV5, unfortunately Vermaelen missed most of the season. Leaving Squid to be judged alongside Koscielny (first season in EPL) and Djourou.

    Djourou became our best centre back that season until his injury.

  132. Morning all

    We have a New Post …………. hold onto your hats ……..

  133. Mr Arsenal Guy says:

    Santos is the worst sighning, by far, remember when we lost 2-1 to Man U, I`ve never seen a worse game than… Damian Martinez in goal vs reading. Santos thinks he is great and has loads of skills, HA dream on Santos, And hey, Atleast Martinez made up for it against Vs Coventry while Santos made it worse

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