Arsenal’s 10 most expensive signings of the 2010s – & how they fared

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Arsenal's Mesut Ozil with Granit Xhaka during the Premier League game against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, London. 24 September 2016.

During the 2010s, a constant collective angst permeated the Emirates, and Arsenal’s 10 most expensive signings of the decade go a long way to explaining why.

Despite not breaking the bank as often as, and to the extremes of, some of their top six rivals, Arsenal still managed to sign some pretty good players… and some stinkers too.

But they’re now on the way back, and the capture of Declan Rice from West Ham goes a long way in signalling that. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of their 10 most expensive signings of the last decade – it makes for intriguing reading.


10. Alexis Sanchez – £32m

It’s nice to remember Sanchez at Arsenal, the one-man swarm of wasps that terrorised opposition defences and p*ssed off his own team-mates.

Arsenal’s player of the decade?

9. Granit Xhaka – £34m

It was good.

Then it was bad. Very bad.

Now it all seems to be going well again.

A bizarre story, but ultimately Xhaka will be looked back on as a good signing we reckon.

8. Shkodran Mustafi – £35m

By the end, we just felt sorry for him. If Sanchez was Arsenal’s best player of the decade, then Mustafi was surely their most tragic.

7. Jurrien Timber – £38m

Having been snubbed by Lisandro Martinez in 2022 when he opted to sign for Manchester United instead, Arsenal returned to Ajax in the summer of 2023 and took Timber instead.

It’s hard to imagine him looking like anything other than a bargain for that price.

Jurrien Timber of Ajax disappointed after the loss during the Eredivisie match between Ajax and AZ

READ: Jurrien Timber and Arsenal are the perfect match: This lung-busting run from defence shows why

6. Mesut Ozil – £43m

Probably Arsenal’s most polarising player of the past 10 years, Ozil nevertheless provided the second most assists in Europe’s big five leagues, behind only Lionel Messi, in the 2010s.

Admittedly, three of those seasons were spent at Real Madrid, but the playmaker still provided plenty of moments of magic at Arsenal before his relationship with Mikel Arteta became irreparable.

5. Alexandre Lacazette – £47m

Seventy-one goals in 206 games isn’t a bad return, but it’s also not quite what Arsenal were hoping for when they signed Lacazette from Lyon.

He never got to be the main man owing to the presence of the next player on this list, but never hitting 15 goals in a Premier League season is a sign of where Arsenal were for much of Lacazette’s period at the club.

4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £56m

Thierry Henry is the only Arsenal player with a better minutes-per-goal ratio than Aubameyang, which gives you an idea of just how prolific the Gabonese striker was when he first arrived at the Emirates.

He also fired Arsenal to the FA Cup pretty much single-handedly in 2020, scoring twice in the semi against Manchester City and then twice more in the final to vanquish Chelsea.

It all went quite weird towards the end – the drop-off in form after his mega-money contract, the falling out with Arteta that ultimately caused his departure – but Arsenal would have been a worse team without him during the Emery and early-Arteta years.

3. Kai Havertz

The German endured an up and down time at Chelsea, scoring the winning goal in the 2020 Champions League final, but never really kicking on after that.

There’s a player in there, but nobody really knows what calibre, or what position. For £65million, that’s a costly problem that Arteta has to solve.

2. Nicolas Pepe – £72m

Pepe *should* have been a brilliant signing. At his best, he was one of the most fun players in Europe, full of flicks and creativity and nutmegs.

But Arsenal fans saw far too little of his best.

Ultimately, Pepe lacked the application and intensity to really thrive at a top Premier League club and Arteta’s decision to send him out on loan to Nice speaks to the cultural change he has slowly but surely implemented at the club.

1. Declan Rice – £105m

A lot of money, but one hell of a player. And a huge statement of intent from the Gunners. Declan Rice with the UEFA Conference League trophy at Fortuna Arena, Prague, Czech Republic, June 2023.

READ: Thank you Declan Rice for providing West Ham fans with memories to cherish forever

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