Arsenal is one of the most successful Premier League clubs in history. Over the years, the club has received its fair share of honors. Arsenal’s time in the Premier League is best remembered for the ‘Invincibles’ campaign of 2003-04, which set several league records.
The club has gone through many ups and downs since then. During the post-Highbury era, the club went trophyless for a long time before finally breaking the drought by winning the FA Cup.
The club has seen both ends of the spectrum in terms of players. Arsenal fans have fond memories of watching the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp in their prime.
On the other end of the spectrum, several signings have simply not worked out for the club. Let’s go over the five worst Arsenal signings in Premier League history.
Number 5: Park Chu-Young
The South Korean signed from Monaco in 2011 for a reported £5.5 million. The fee, which was considered high at the time for a relatively unknown player, set lofty expectations for the forward, which he was never able to meet at Arsenal.
Chu-Young is best known for one incident during his time in Lille: he was reported in Lille, ready to sign, but walked out of the medical after learning of Arsenal’s interest.
The forward made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Bolton Wanderers. The next two years were a mixed bag for Chu-Young, who was loaned out twice and only made seven appearances for the Gunners.
Considering the fee paid for him and the wages he received over a three-year period, the South Korean contributed exactly one goal to the club. Fans will undoubtedly forget this name in a hurry.
Number 4: Andre Santos
Andre Santos is one player who will almost certainly not be inducted into the Arsenal Hall of Fame.
The Brazilian was signed in 2011 to start at left-back, but he never lived up to expectations. He spent two years with Arsenal and was unimpressive during his time there.
Santos joined the club from Fenerbahce for a reported €7 million. A fee that high for a left-back was unheard of at the time, and it gave the fans the impression that they had finally found the player who would solve their defensive problems.
Santos appeared in 33 games for the club. He had a couple of good games, but he never really adapted to the English game. His positional awareness was lacking, and he lacked speed on the wings.
Number 3: Gervinho
Gervinho is widely regarded by Arsenal fans as one of the club’s worst-ever Premier League signings.
Arsenal signed the Ivory Coast international in 2011 for a reported fee of £10.8 million. The fee was always on the high side, leading Arsenal fans to believe that they had found a lynchpin in their attack.
Regrettably, Gervinho did not resolve the club’s problems. Gervinho’s Premier League career got off to a bad start when he was sent off on his debut for a slapping incident involving Joey Barton.
During his three years with Arsenal, Gervinho had some good games. In the end, he only scored 11 goals in 63 appearances for the club before being sold to Roma in 2013.
Number 2: Willian
Willian brought the Arsenal fanbase together like no other. Unfortunately, the club’s fans were opposed to him playing for them.
Overall, the Brazilian has had a very successful career. Before joining Arsenal in 2020, the former Chelsea player had won two Premier League titles with the Blues.
Willian, who joined Arsenal on a free transfer, was expected to bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the Arsenal attack. It is common to argue that it was the system that prevented Willian from performing at his best, but most fans agree that he was a shadow of his former self after joining the Gunners.
Willian made 37 appearances for Arsenal before his contract was terminated in August 2021. His free transfer was no consolation either, as it was reported that Willian earned more than £200,000 per week, adding to Arsenal fans’ anguish.
During his first year with the club, he had seven assists but only one goal. His output was deemed insufficient to represent Arsenal. Willian will return to his childhood club Corinthians in August 2021.
Number 1: Shkodran Mustafi
Shkodran Mustafi joined Arsenal in August 2016 for a reported fee of £35 million.
Mustafi arrived in England with a solid reputation. He won the FIFA World Cup with Germany in 2014 and was also impressive at Sampdoria and Valencia.
Mustafi was signed to be Arsenal’s defensive leader, but he proved to be anything but. The high price tag came with high expectations, but the German failed to live up to them.
At Arsenal, Mustafi established an ominous reputation for himself. He always appeared unsure of the ball and made far too many mistakes that led directly to goals. His aerial ability was adequate, but his distribution and decision-making were woefully inadequate.
Mustafi did win two FA Cups with the Gunners, but his inability to adapt was evident. The German eventually left on a free transfer to Levante this summer and now plays for the club.