Arsenal's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

James Shearman
  • Updated: 2 Feb 2023 18:38 GMT
  • 5 min read
Ben White, Arsenal, Premier League

Arsenal have spent money like a top European team for years, without challenging for the major honours, until the 2022-23 season.

Under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have transformed into Premier League favourites, leading Manchester City at the halfway stage.

A huge factor in this improvement has been Arteta's shrewd business in the transfer market.

MORE: How Arsenal would have looked with a dream January

Towards the end of Arsene Wenger's era at the north London club, Arsenal effectively threw money away on inadequate signings. That is a thing of the past.

Here is a look at Arsenal's 10 most expensive signings of all time, featuring some of the league leaders current starting XI.

10. Shkodran Mustafi - £36.9m (from Valencia, 2016)

A ball-playing centre-back is craved for nowadays, so this World Cup-winning one shaped up to be an excellent piece of business.

Except, on many occasions, Shkodran Mustafi seemed to forget that his primary duty was to defend.

The mistake-heavy German embodied Arsenal's defensive woes in the second half of the last decade.

9. Alexis Sanchez - £38.3m (from Barcelona, 2015)

A big success story, Alexis Sanchez hit the heights of many an Arsenal legend, with longevity the only reason he doesn't see himself in that conversation.

He registered 24 goals and 10 assists in the 2016/17 season, earning comparisons to the likes of Eden Hazard.

It was a shame for Gunners' fans to see the Chilean end up in the red of Manchester United, even if he did end up flopping for the Red Devils.

8. Granit Xhaka - £40.5m (from Monchengladbach, 2016)

The answer to Arsenal's midfield troubles? Until recently, no.

Granit Xhaka, Arsenal, Premier League, 2020-21

But Granit Xhaka has been excellent in the 2022-23 season, alongside Thomas Partey, as the Gunners have stunned the Premier League.

His disciplinary issues are a thing of the past and he even has a chance of making the team of the season.

7. Mesut Ozil - £42.3m (from Real Madrid, 2013)

Mesut Ozil is on a short list of Arsenal players, post-2010, to warrant a world-class label. The gifted playmaker created chances with ease, with the Gunners' lack of attacking talent to blame for him not having higher assist tallies.

It is rare for a player to live up to such high expectations, but Ozil's class meant he was able to do that, and more.

Phased out towards the end, memories of the World Cup-winner are tainted at present but his excellence will be remembered more fondly in years to come.

6.Thomas Partey - £45m (from Atletico Madrid, 2020)

Thomas Partey's first two seasons at the Emirates were troubled with injuries.

And to a fan base that witnessed Patrick Vieira, Partey needed to offer an awful lot more to get them to sing his praises. He has done just that.

Partnering Xhaka in a midfield pivot, the Ghanaian has earned comparisons to the likes of Casemiro and Rodri with his impressive play.

5.Gabriel Jesus - £45m (from Manchester City, 2022)

Arsenal had been crying out for a new number 9 after losing both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in 2022.

Having failed to sign Dusan Vlahovic in the January 2022 transfer window, Arsenal went all out for Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian found himself surplus to requirements after Man City signed Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

He started the 2022-23 season excellently, scoring goals and linking up well with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, but he been out with an injury for months.

4. Alexandre Lacazette - £47.7m (from Lyon, 2017)

Alexandre Lacazette had a good five-year spell at the Emirates, but he failed to reach the elite level that Arsenal really needed.

Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal, 2021/22

Any forward that reaches double digits in four consecutive seasons - as he did in his first four campaigns for Arsenal - is an asset to their team but Lacazette failed to take Arsenal to the Champions League.

In total he scored 71 goals in 206 games for Arsenal before returning to Lyon on a free transfer when his contract ran out.

3. Ben White - £50m (from Brighton, 2021)

While the signing of Ben White was generally greeted as a positive move after he showed promise at Brighton, the astronomical fee that Arsenal paid for the centre-back was heavily criticised.

He fared decently in his debut season but has taken his game to another level in this campaign.

As a defensive-minded right-back, White has nailed down a place in Arteta's backline.

2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - £57.4m (from Dortmund, 2018)

The signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemed a no-brainer but, in fairness, many of those have turned out poorly in the past.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal

The club talisman seamlessly transferred his fine form at Dortmund to the Premier League stage midway through the 2017/18 season, and the two following campaigns.

Things started to go wrong after he was handed a new contract in the summer of 2020. His discipline and form declined and he fell out with manager Mikel Arteta before leaving for Barcelona on a free transfer in January 2022.

He still scored an impressive 92 goals in 163 games for Arsenal.

1. Nicolas Pepe - £72m (from Lille, 2019)

For £72m you'd expect a world-beater, which Nicolas Pepe wasn't.

The Ivorian scored just five Premier League goals in his first season, but doubled his tally second time around. However, in his third campaign he found the net just once in a truly dreadful campaign.

Arsenal are desperate to sell a player who has proven to be not only their most expensive player of all time, but their most expensive flop. He was loaned out to Nice for the 2022-23 season.