Kai Havertz is set to become the 12th German player to represent Arsenal. According to Fabrizio Romano, everything has been agreed for the 24-year-old attacker to depart Stamford Bridge and make the switch to North London.
Eleven players from Germany have represented Arsenal, all of whom did so in the modern Premier League era. But none remain at the club, with Havertz set to become the only German player in Mikel Arteta’s squad.
We’ve taken a look at the last 11 Germans to represent the Gunners and ranked them in order of worst to best.
11. Moritz Volz
Volz won two FA Youth Cups with the Gunners’ Under-18s, but his only first-team appearances were League Cup defeats to Ipswich and Sunderland.
The right-back later proved himself a decent enough player with over 100 appearances for Fulham, but he never made it at Arsenal.
10. Alberto Mendez
Scouted from German non-league, Mendez went on to make four Premier League appearances for the Gunners and spent five years on the club’s books.
He did score in a League Cup win over Birmingham City but made very little impact overall.
After leaving Highbury in 2002, Mendez enjoyed a journeyman career in the lower leagues of Europe – which shows he was probably never quite at Arsenal’s level.
9. Thomas Eisfeld
Arsene Wenger said Eisfeld possessed “the attitude and technical ability to be a valuable addition to our squad” after he arrived as a teenager from Borussia Dortmund for a small compensation fee.
Things didn’t quite turn out as planned, with Eisfeld only making a couple of senior appearances in cup competitions. But in one of those he scored and looked a genuinely exciting prospect, which is something.
8. Stefan Malz
Signed from 1860 Munich for a £650,000 fee in 1999, Malz scored on his debut against Preston North End and notched in the Premier League against Newcastle, but he could never break into a midfield that featured Ray Parlour, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Freddie Ljungberg.
He quietly moved onto FC Kaiserslautern after a couple of years on the fringes.
7. Serge Gnabry
Definitely a better footballer than most of the names above him on this list – as evidenced by his subsequent treble win and glory years with Bayern Munich – unfortunately Gnabry’s legacy in North London is a regretful sigh and a question of ‘what if?’.
Arsenal helped develop the winger, who showed flashes of his quality as a youngster but only fully realised his potential after departing the club in 2016. Who knows what might’ve happened had Arsenal not sent Gnabry out on loan to Tony Pulis’ Stoke City the year before.
6. Shkodran Mustafi
The much-maligned centre-back is a little unfairly remembered as an out-and-out bombscare at Arsenal. Mustafi certainly had his fair share of calamitous moments and his latter time at the club left a lot to be desired, but he wouldn’t have made 151 appearances had he not been a relatively reliable defender on his day.
The 2014 World Cup winner has suffered back-to-back relegations with Schalke and Levante since departing Arsenal in 2021, which speaks volumes about the trajectory his career has taken. But he lifted two FA Cups with Arsenal and at one point was genuinely pretty decent.
5. Bernd Leno
Last season Leno reminded us he’s a fine goalkeeper, having left Arsenal for Fulham. But his record at the Emirates wasn’t anything special – 37 clean sheets and 145 goals conceded in 125 appearances.
The signing from Bayer Leverkusen certainly wasn’t all bad over the course of his four years at Arsenal. He pulled off some outstanding saves and was capable of some match-winning displays. Yet there was always a sense that Arsenal could do better, and few will look back with any regret at how he was usurped by Aaron Ramsdale.
4. Lukas Podolski
Podolski could be immensely frustrating, yet he scored a relatively respectable 31 goals in 82 appearances – and we’d be shocked if you told us each and every one of them weren’t 30-yard bangers.
One of those players whose highlights reel paints a somewhat false impression of an absolute world-beater, it’s difficult not to love Podolski for what he was capable of unleashing with that left peg.
“For any reason it sometimes happens like that in football or sport and that’s why I decided to move,” the forward recalled in 2020.
“This is life, this is sport, I didn’t want to but I had to because I wanted to play football. I wanted to be on the pitch but I would have loved to stay at Arsenal for a couple more years because I felt really great there.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 16, 2020
3. Mesut Ozil
One of the most hyped signings in Arsenal’s entire history, Ozil’s arrival was hoped to signal a new dawn for the club. The mercurial playmaker had notched 81 assists in 159 appearances at Real Madrid and he looked a genuinely world-class, next-level addition to Arsene Wenger’s squad.
And his arrival did change things. Ozil’s debut season ended up with him lifting the FA Cup, the first of three in four years, ending a nine-year trophy drought. He blessed us with some truly captivating moments and enjoyed entire seasons where he well and truly lived up to his billing.
Here comes the ‘but’; he grew less effective as time went on, his classic No.10 style looking almost anachronistic (see: Isco, James Rodriguez) come the time of his low-key, sad departure in January 2021. Given the heights he reached at his peak, it’s a real shame that the club came to regret his big-money contract extension and that Mikel Arteta’s bold decision to phase him out and move him on was universally regarded as a major positive.
2. Per Mertesacker
The Big F*cking German. Enough said.
Happy birthday, Per! 🥳
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 29, 2022
1. Jens Lehmann
The only German to win a Premier League title with Arsenal, and what a way to do it.
Mad Jens’ featured in all 38 games as Arsenal went unbeaten in his debut season, ensuring that his legacy would remain intact forever.
He was far from perfect – that red card in the 2006 Champions League final will sting forever – but he was exceptional at his best and played a starring role in the greatest season in Arsenal’s history.