7. Robert Pires(2000) – £6m
A graduate of the FC Metz youth academy, Robert Pires was a rising star in French football when Arsenal signed him for £6 million in 2000. The club had to battle the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus for the 1998 World Cup winner, but it was well worth it as Pires would go on to play a key role at Arsenal for six years. During his spell in north London, he contributed with 62 goals in 189 appearances. The Frenchman won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, but left the club for Villarreal when his contract ran out in 2006.
6. Marc Overmars(1997) – £5.5m
After a brilliant time with Ajax, where he won three league titles and a Champions League, Marc Overmars made the jump to England by signing with Arsenal. With his speed and quality on the ball, Overmars was seen as an exciting new addition to the club and he did not disappoint. In his debut season, the winger helped Arsenal win its first Premier League title in seven years. However, his next two seasons at the club were rather frustrating as Arsenal failed to win any trophies. Although Overmars put in some stand out performances when fit, his struggles with multiple injuries hurt the club in important moments. He eventually moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2000 for a £25m fee, becoming the most expensive Dutch player at the time.
5. Sol Campbell(2001) – Free
Signing Sol Campbell for free in 2001 could arguably be the best bit of business Arsene Wenger has done since his time at Arsenal. Campbell had spent nine years at the bitter city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but decided to leave the club in order to play Champions League football. However, the move to Arsenal came as a shocking news after the defender publicly stated he’d never play for them, and there were no rumors linking hm to the club. Campbell enjoyed a fantastic time at Arsenal, playing almost 200 games and winning four titles. He was one of the leaders of the invincible side in 2003/04, which won the Premier League going undefeated.
4. Dennis Bergkamp(1995) – £7.5m
After an unsuccessful stint at Inter Milan, Dennis Bergkamp was signed by Arsenal for £7.5m in 1995, becoming the first signing of then-manager Bruce Rioch. Although Bergkamp struggled in his debut season at the club, the arrival of Wenger a year later changed everything for the Dutchman. He became an important piece of the team and went on to win 10 titles, including three Premier League titles. After appearing in 423 games and scoring 120 goals for Arsenal, Bergkamp retired from football in 2006.
3. Patrick Vieira(1996) – £3.5m
Patrick Vieira became Arsene Wenger’s one of the earliest signings at the club in 1996, as Arsenal beat out Ajax for the Frenchman’s signature. He immediately turned into an undisputed starter at the club, making up to 38 appearances in his debut season. After becoming a veteran leader in the dressing room, Vieira was handed the captaincy in 2002 following Tony Adams’ retirement. Despite multiple interests from Real Madrid and Manchester United, he remained at Arsenal and captained the club to win the Premier League undefeated in the 2003/04 season. However, Vieira was sold to Juventus in 2005 in order to make way for the young Cesc Fabregas. In his nine year spell at the club, the midfielder made a total of 452 appearances, winning 10 titles in the process.
2. Thierry Henry(1999) – £10.5m
Arguably the best player to have worn the Arsenal shirt, Thierry Henry is the top scorer at the club after scoring 228 goals in 377 appearances. He arrived at Arsenal as a skinny winger back in 1999 after an unsuccessful stint with Juventus. But with the guidance of the fellow countryman Wenger, Henry was transitioned to a striker, where he absolutely flourished. He won the Premier League Golden Boot four times during his stay with Arsenal, as well as finishing runner-up in Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award. In December 2011, the club honored him with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium.
1. Ian Wright(1991) – £2.5m
A late bloomer by all accounts, Ian Wright signed his first ever professional contract by the time he was 22 with Crystal Palace. After scoring 90 goals with the London outfit, Wright moved across the city to sign for Arsenal in 1991 for a club record fee at the time of £2.5m. The transfer turned out pay dividends as the Englishman immediately became a prolific scorer for the club, scoring a hat trick in his league debut against Southampton. He eventually went on to become the top scorer at Arsenal after scoring 185 goals, a record which was later broken by Henry. In his seven year spell at north London, Wright managed to win five titles, which includes a Premier League title and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.