Arsenal’s Best Ever Transfer

Two of the best…

Following on from Fred’s howl of pain about the transfer window in a Post on Monday, I thought it would be good to think about the best transfer signing Arsenal has ever made.

I suggest we use two categories, otherwise it will simply come down to a question of “which Invincible was our best acquisition?”

Category 1: Our best signing of all time.

Category 2: Our best NON-INVINCIBLE signing of all time.

In both cases we’re looking at players signed as pros, not players we acquired during their youth development phases.

Please give your answers and your reasons.

I’ll get the ball rolling:

Best signing of all time: SOL CAMPBELL

I know big Sol is not as glamorous as the attacking options we could choose from (Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Cazorla, Van Persie etc) but he was the rock on which our Invincibles season was built.

More than that, when news broke that we had pinched him from the noisy neighbours it was the most sensational Arsenal transfer moment of my lifetime.

In one fell swoop we secured one of the best central defenders in the world; massively diminished our traditional rivals; and established that North London really was red.

Yes, those aforementioned attackers – plus players like Vieira, Gilberto and Cole – were all crucial components of the team that made history, but without Campbell I wonder whether there would ever have been an “Invincibles.” A title-winning team? For sure. But an UNBEATEN title winning team? Unlikely.

Best NON-INVINCIBLE signing of all time: IAN WRIGHT.

It was a close call for me between Wrighty and Aaron “Mr FA Cup” Ramsey. They have both given me huge pleasure as an Arsenal fan. I know we have had many players with better all round skill than Ramsey, but his cup final heroics make him really special for me.

As for Wrighty, it was impossible not to love his exuberance, his passion and his love of the game. If you are too young to have experienced his skills first hand, look at some YouTube compilations of his Arsenal goals: you will see one of the greatest natural finishers ever to have played for us.

Those are my choices – what about yours?



22 Responses to Arsenal’s Best Ever Transfer

  1. LBG says:

    Thanks Rocky
    Best Transfer of all time :- DB10
    The genius who started the success of the modern era. The battery in the digital clock that made everything tick. The professional that “turned” the Tuesday Club. THE Inspiration of players and fans throughout the football world.

    Best Non Invincible of all time :- FRANK MCCLINTOCK
    A slight midfielder converted into a centre back beginning a trend of ball players in that position that may reach its zenith with Saliba ( No I’m not kidding!). A leader, a motivator of men, the ultimate man of the trenches who captained a team that ended 17 years of oblivion and won the greatest Double, IMO, in Arsenal history.

  2. LBG says:

    First time I havent been able to select LB in an Arsenal best choice.

  3. Tom Møller says:

    Our choises are often driven by our memory. I would like to put forward Cliff Bastin, a player we bought from Exeter, a player who held the club scoring record for more than 50 years.

  4. Pete the Thirst says:

    Your memory is good Tom!

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    Great piece Rocky.

    Best Signing of All Time: I would go with Bergkamp. As LBG says he was the start of things happening post George Graham. An outrageously gifted player that could do it all. I watched him in the World Cup in ’94 and thought he was way above Arsenal’s level. 2 years later he was playing for Us.

    Best Non-Invinsible: David Seaman. A world class keeper that made the difference for many seasons. Lukic was a good keeper, but Seaman was so much better. I remember being at a game at Loftus Road when he was playing for QPR. He literally saved everything we threw at him. I think when he came to Arsenal he got even better. He had a few howlers in his career, but every keeper does.

  6. pbarany says:

    Please forgive me for including quite a few additional categories and runner-ups (one player could be mentioned at only one category):

    Best pre-Wenger signing: Dennis Bergkamp (Ian Wright)

    Best invincible signing: Patrick Vieira (Kolo Touré)

    Best high-profile signing: Thierry Henry (Alexis Sanchez)

    Best free transfer: Sol Campbell (Matthieu Flamini)

    Best youth signing: Cesc Fàbregas (Wojciech Szczesny)

    Best low profile signing: Gaël Clichy (Rob Holding)

    Best signing currently with the club: Kieran Tierney (Gabriel Magalhães)

    Best post-Wenger signing: Gabriel Martinelli (Bernd Leno)

  7. Las says:

    Thanks Rocky,
    You are damn right. taking Campbell to Highbury was as sweet as anything.
    But I think we need to mention Cazorla. I know his carrier with us was cut short by injury but he was everything what you could expect from an Arsenal player. A technical genius, a fighter… he/we were extremely unlucky with that horrible injury.
    Also Eduardo, he started with a bang, scoring goals for fun, his terrible injury (not even a yellow???) killed his carrier, not just as a Gooner but as a whole.
    For the best signing (ever) I would go for Bergkamp, it is very close though.

  8. JM says:

    Best signing of all time: Dennis “Non-Flying Dutchman/Iceman/God” Bergkamp. Total Footballer and Space Interpreter. 3 league titles.

    Best Non-Invincible signing of all time: David “Safe Hands” Seaman. Greatest goalkeeper in Arsenal’s history. 3 league titles.

  9. allezkev says:

    Best signing for me is Dennis Bergkamp, he transformed our club and how we were perceived, I can’t think of another footballer who performed to such a high and consistent technical level than Bergkamp in 1997/98, witnessing a footballer at his absolute zenith was a privilege and that season still remains my favourite as an Arsenal fan.

    Non Invincible is Ian Wright, a complete nut case but what a will to win, what a desire to succeed and what a goal scorer, also he loves the club and that’ll do for me.

  10. RC78 says:

    Best pre-Wenger signing: Dennis Bergkamp (Ian Wright)

    Best invincible signing: Patrick Vieira (Lauren)

    Best high-profile signing: Thierry Henry (Lehmann)

    Best free transfer: Sol Campbell (Matthieu Flamini)

    Best youth signing: Cesc Fàbregas (Anelka)

    Best low profile signing: Giroud (Rob Holding)

    Best recent signing: Kieran Tierney

  11. RockyLives says:

    I think DB10 was our best ever player, but I went for Sol as our best ever signing… a subtle distinction but an important one: it was the all-round impact of the news of that signing that stands out for me.

    Now to pbarany’s list:

    Best pre-Wenger signing: Dennis Bergkamp

    Best invincible signing: Sol

    Best high-profile signing: Dennis Bergkamp

    Best free transfer: Sol

    Best youth signing: Liam Brady

    Best low profile signing: Lee Dixon

    Best signing currently with the club: Kieran Tierney

    Best post-Wenger signing: Kieran Tierney

  12. RockyLives says:

    Excellent shout-out for Bastin.

    Most of us are affected by recency bias.

  13. LBG says:

    Best Low profile signing :- Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer…….followed by Dixon and Bould.

  14. RC78 says:

    It is sad that AFC’s project with promising young British players did not work out…We had Holding, Chambers, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott and you could add Iwobi to the list…every line was covered.

    Chambers, Holding – Wilshere, Ramsey – Walcott, Iwobi

    BUT the good news is that we have some decent British talent with us at the moment with:

    Chambers, Holding, Tierney, – Saka, Willock (?), ESR – Balogun

    and some may add Nketiah, Nelsson, Azeez, John Jules to the list

  15. LBG says:

    Best high profile signing ( for nothing) “Sol’s a Gooner”!🤣

  16. jjgsol says:

    For me, the best signing was DB10. Had he not missed that penalty in the semi-final against Manure, I think he would have been even better. I think that miss blighted him for the rest of his career.

    The best pre-invincible was Liam Brady.

    The best post invincibles is Cazorla.

    Looking at videos on Youtube of the Wenger years, one should cry at the deterioration of our team.

    We are a shadow of the Wenger teams and almost disappearing out of sight.

  17. RC78 says:

    I think that AW overperformed with the budget at his disposal towards the second half of his tenure. That said, he did focus too much on creative midfielders after 2006 and we ended up with lots of players that could find the pass but not get the ball back…

    However, we should have won two more Leagues with him: 1. The year Eduardo got injured; 2. The year Leicester won.

  18. Pete the Thirst says:

    I got a call from a friend who hardly ever uses the phone to tell me Sol Campbell had signed. That was how big a coup it was at the time.

    Probably David Dein’s best bit of transfer business. By all accounts Wenger was not convinced.

  19. RockyLives says:

    I remember one ‘big name’ signing who didn’t end up doing an awful lot for us, but when I heard the news on Five Live while driving back to London from oop North I was punching the car ceiling with excitement…

    …Davor Suker.

  20. 1979Gunner says:

    Best transfer of all time:

    Patrick Vieira. He was the bedrock on whom everything was built by Wenger. £3.5M. He insatiable desire to win added extra years to the players around him. The fact Arsenal haven’t won the league since he left say all you need to know.

    Best non-invincible:

    Many candidates, but I’d probably go for Anelka for the simple reason the profit made paid for the training set up.

    On the subject of transfers (maybe worth a post of its own) – why are Arsenal selling Xhaka for £15m? Why do Arsenal sell their players so cheaply?? £34m for Buendia among the examples of money being paid for players kinda highlights my issue.

  21. LBG says:

    Thank God, VAR lines will be thicker next year!
    And the whole process will be overseen by the thickest men in black!

  22. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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