Arsenal most expensive signings: How Gunners spent well over £700m on 15 incoming transfers

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Arsenal big spenders
The Gunners have not been afraid to spend big in the transfer market in recent years

There was a period of time following Arsenal’s move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium where money was tight and Arsene Wenger was forced to count the pennies.

That all changed, however, when Mesut Ozil sensationally arrived from Real Madrid in 2013 for a club-record £42.5 million ($51m).

Since then, the Gunners have not held back in the transfer market and have gone on to break the club’s transfer record on a further three occasions in an attempt to compete with Europe’s elite.

Here, GOAL takes a look at the top 15 most expensive signings in Arsenal history.

Arsenal top 15 most expensive transfers

  1. Fabio Vieira | £30m | Porto | 2022
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    Fabio Vieira | £30m | Porto | 2022

    A signing that came completely out of the blue.

    Few had even heard of Fabio Vieira when it suddenly emerged that Arsenal were bringing him in from Porto ahead of the 2022-23 season.

    The playmaker arrived with exciting pedigree, however, having established himself as a key player for the Portuguese giants as they won the 2021-22 title.

    And manager Mikel Arteta was quick to hail his new arrival: “I am very excited that we have identified and signed such a special talent.

    “Fabio is a very creative player that will bring high quality and versatility to our attacking play.”

  2. Martin Odegaard | £30m | Real Madrid | 2021

    Martin Odegaard | £30m | Real Madrid | 2021

    The Norway international had already enjoyed a fine loan spell with the Gunners before his move from Real Madrid was made permanent in the summer of 2021.

    As expected, Odegaard slotted in seamlessly after his return to north London and is often the heartbeat of Arsenal’s attack, pulling the strings behinds the forward line.

    A price tag of just £30m ($36m) always looked like a bargain and that’s how it’s proved, with the playmaker quickly becoming one of Arsenal’s most important players.

  3. Alexis Sanchez | £30m | Barcelona | 2014
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    Alexis Sanchez | £30m | Barcelona | 2014

    Things may not have ended well between Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal, but the Chile international was a sensation during his first couple of years in north London.

    Signed from Barcelona after the 2014 World Cup, Sanchez was an instant hit with the Gunners and at £30m he was worth every penny.

    When he left four years later to join Manchester United with just six months remaining on his contract, Arsenal landed Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return.

    It’s safe to say things didn’t really work out for either player at their new clubs.

  4. Granit Xhaka | £35m | Borussia Monchengladbach | 2016

    Granit Xhaka | £35m | Borussia Monchengladbach | 2016

    Love him or loathe him, Granit Xhaka has certainly given Arsenal longevity following his £35m ($42m) move from Germany in 2016.

    The Switzerland international has made more than 250 appearances for the Gunners and has won the FA Cup twice.

    He was even made club captain by Unai Emery in 2019, only for that honour to be cut short after his ugly spat on-field with Arsenal fans.

    Many will argue about how much value for money Xhaka has given the club over the years, but one thing that can’t be questioned is his ability to bounce back from seemingly irreversible situations.

  5. Shokdran Mustafi | £35m | Valencia | 2016

    Shokdran Mustafi | £35m | Valencia | 2016

    A shocking signing, it must be said. Mustafi arrived with a hefty price tag, but failed to live up to the expectations.

    A constant string of high-profile errors undermined any of the good performances he put in and led to the German being viewed as a bit of a calamity.

    He left for free in 2021 when Arsenal agreed to terminate his contract early, just under five years after signing for £35m.

  6. Jurrien Timber | £40 million | Ajax | 2023

    Jurrien Timber | £40 million | Ajax | 2023

    The Netherlands international briefly appeared to be on his way to Manchester United in 2022, but eventually opted to stay put at Ajax after then Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal told him Old Trafford would not be the right destination for him.

    Timber then put in some solid performances at the World Cup in Qatar, before enduring a bit of a difficult 2022-23 campaign at club level, with Ajax failing to lift any silverware and finishing third in the Eredivisie table.

    That didn't stop Arsenal from coming in for the centre-back, though, and the defender will be determined to reward manager Mikel Arteta for the faith shown in him.

  7. Mesut Ozil | £42.5m | Real Madrid | 2013
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    Mesut Ozil | £42.5m | Real Madrid | 2013

    One of the most exciting signings in Arsenal’s history.

    Few transfers have generated the sort of buzz that Ozil’s did when he arrived from Real Madrid on deadline day in 2013.

    Even though things ended badly for Ozil when he left for free in 2021, his time in North London was largely successful.

    He won three FA Cups and produced countless memories thanks to his exquisite touch and vision.

  8. Thomas Partey | £45m | Atletico Madrid | 2020

    Thomas Partey | £45m | Atletico Madrid | 2020

    It was a transfer saga that ran throughout the summer of 2020

    As the clock ticked down, however, it looked like Arsenal had decided against triggering Partey’s £45m ($54m) release clause and that the midfielder would remain at Atletico Madrid.

    But then on deadline day they pulled the trigger and did the deal with a few hours to spare.

    Injuries have hampered Partey’s time at the club, but when he is fully fit he’s shown, there are very few midfielders in the Premier League that can match him.

  9. Gabriel Jesus | £45m | Manchester City | 2022

    Gabriel Jesus | £45m | Manchester City | 2022

    Arsenal’s big new summer arrival of 2022.

    Jesus only had one year left on his contract at Manchester City, but Arsenal still wanted him enough to splash out £45m to bring him in.

    Whether he proves to be value for money remains to be seen, but given his time at the Etihad, it looks a pretty safe bet.

  10. Alexandre Lacazette | £46.5m | Lyon | 2017

    Alexandre Lacazette | £46.5m | Lyon | 2017

    Lacazette was Arsenal's record signing when he arrived from Lyon in 2017, but that tag was short-lived as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was signed just six months later.

    Whilst the France striker was a popular figure at the Emirates and had some good moments, including in 2019 when he was named player of the season, Lacazette never really lived up to the hype in north London.

    He was billed a prolific goalscorer when he joined, but was unable to replicate the form he showed for Lyon with Arsenal.

    Lacazette left on a free transfer in the summer of 2022 when his contract came to an end.

  11. Ben White | £50m | Brighton | 2021
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    Ben White | £50m | Brighton | 2021

    Many were surprised when Arsenal forked out £50m ($60m) for White in the summer of 2021.

    The defender only had one season’s worth of Premier League experience behind him when the Gunners spent big to lure him away from Brighton.

    But White’s debut season in North London was full of promise and given his young age, it would be no surprise to see him go on to prove to be a bargain in the long-term.

  12. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | £56m | Borussia Dortmund | 2018

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | £56m | Borussia Dortmund | 2018

    Arsenal pushed the boat out to land Aubameyang in January, 2018, smashing their transfer record for the second time in just six months following the addition of Alexandre Lacazette.

    But Arsene Wenger felt like he needed more goals and in Aubameyang he landed a striker whose record during his time with Borussia Dortmund stood up to the best Europe had to offer.

    And while he was at Arsenal, Aubameyang did exactly what he was brought to the club to do. He scored goals, lots of them.

    In all, he scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners, before he was released in January 2022 to join Barcelona following a breakdown in his relationship with manager Mikel Arteta.

  13. Kai Havertz | £65m | Chelsea | 2023
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    Kai Havertz | £65m | Chelsea | 2023

    It was genuinely surprising that Arsenal were willing to offer an initial £50 million ($64m) for a forward with a record of 19 goals in 91 Premier League games, so for Chelsea to have got an additional £10m ($13m) plus add-ons out of their London rivals after rejecting the first bid came as somewhat of a surprise to many.

    Havertz may have scored a couple of huge winners for the Blues, in the Champions League and Club World Cup finals, but it would be impossible to portray his three seasons at Stamford Bridge as anything other than desperately disappointing.

    So his transfer was a gamble that appeared to come out of nowhere and unless Havertz suddenly rediscovers the form that made him one of Europe's hottest prospects at Bayer Leverkusen, he could prove a colossal waste of cash.

  14. Nicolas Pepe | £72m | Lille | 2019

    Nicolas Pepe | £72m | Lille | 2019

    A club-record signing that just hasn’t worked out.

    Arsenal obliterated their transfer record when they bought Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019 for £72m ($87m), with fans hoping they had signed one of the world’s top wingers.

    But while there have been flashes of brilliance along the way, Pepe’s time with Arsenal has been plagued by inconsistency.

    The emergence of Bukayo Saka has also been an issue, with the Ivory Coast International unable to ever really cement himself a place in the team.

  15. Declan Rice | £105m | West Ham | 2023
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    Declan Rice | £105m | West Ham | 2023

    Arsenal went up against the financial might of Manchester City and it was the Premier League champions who blinked first in the bidding war for Rice's services.

    In that sense, this is a hugely significant transfer for the Gunners. Having re-established themselves as a major force on the field last season, they have now sent a message to their rivals off it.

    Whatever one may think about Rice's fee, or his limitations as a player, he is undeniably one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and represents a serious upgrade on Thomas Partey.

    Rice was Arsenal's primary transfer target for a reason - and despite competition from Pep Guardiola's treble-winners, they got their man.