After struggling for money following their move to the Emirates, Arsenal have really started to splash the cash in recent years.
The Gunners are showing their ambition and recently broke their own transfer record in an attempt to win their first Premier League title since 2003/04.
We’ve taken a look at the 10 most expensive signings in Arsenal’s history and how those players subsequently fared after completing the move.
Note: we’ve only used the initial transfer fees and haven’t taken into account any potential add-ons.
10. Shkodran Mustafi – £35m
A World Cup winner with Germany, Mustafi impressed at Valencia and joined Arsenal in a £35million deal in the summer of 2016.
He enjoyed a bright start to his Arsenal career, going on a 22-game unbeaten run during his first five months in north London.
But things then went downhill quickly for the centre-back, and a series of calamitous errors followed over the next four years.
After being deemed surplus to requirements by Mikel Arteta, his Arsenal contract was terminated by mutual consent in February 2021.
9. Mesut Ozil – £42.5m
Having starred for Real Madrid, expectations were high when Ozil completed a £42.5million move to Arsenal on transfer deadline day in 2013.
The former Germany international helped end Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought, winning three FA Cups during his first four years in England.
He provided plenty of moments of magic and also received Arsenal’s Player of the Season award in 2015/16 after registering 19 assists in the Premier League.
But the enigmatic playmaker fell out of favour under Unai Emery and Arteta and was shipped out on a free transfer to Fenerbahce in January 2021.
Mesut Ozil brought his magic from Real Madrid to Arsenal eight years ago today 🔮
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 2, 2021
8. Gabriel Jesus – £45m
After working with Jesus at Manchester City during his time as an assistant coach to Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta brought the striker to Arsenal in the summer of 2022.
His arrival helped transform Arsenal’s fortunes as they finished runners-up to Manchester City and secured Champions League qualification after a six-year absence from Europe’s top competition.
The Brazil international also ended his injury-hit debut season at the Emirates with a respectable return of 11 goals and eight assists in all competitions.
7. Thomas Partey – £45.3m
Following a long transfer saga, Arsenal eventually agreed to trigger the £45.3million release clause in Partey’s Atletico Madrid contract on transfer deadline day in 2020.
The Ghana international was plagued by injury problems during his first two years in north London and also produced some inconsistent displays.
He managed to stay fit and was one of Arsenal’s standout performers during the first half of the 2022/23 campaign but his form dropped off in the final stretch of the season.
According to reports, the Gunners have made a clear decision on Partey’s future amid links to Saudi Arabia.
6. Alexandre Lacazette – £46.5m
Lacazette scored 37 goals in 45 appearances during his final season at Lyon before joining Arsenal in 2017 for a then-club-record fee.
He failed to replicate that prolific form in an Arsenal shirt but had a respectable record of 71 goals in 206 appearances and also won their Player of the Season award in 2018/19.
The former France international left north London when his contract expired at the end of the 2021/22 season and returned to Lyon.
5. Ben White – £50m
Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal agreed to pay £50million for White, who had just one season of top-flight football under his belt.
The former Brighton centre-back had a disastrous debut against Brentford on the opening day of the 2021/22 season but bounced back and silenced his critics.
After William Saliba returned from his loan spell at Marseille, White switched to right-back in 2022/23 and has adapted to his new role superbly.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £56m
The last signing from the Arsene Wenger era, Aubameyang left Borussia Dortmund and joined Arsenal in a £56million deal in January 2018.
He established himself as one of the most clinical strikers in the world and won the Premier League Golden Boot award in 2018/19.
The Gabon international also led the Gunners to FA Cup success in 2019/20, scoring both goals in the semi-final and the final as they overcame Manchester City and Chelsea.
But his form took a swift nosedive after he signed a new £350,000-a-week deal in September 2020 and that contract was terminated by mutual consent in February 2022.
Pure skill from Aubameyang to put Arsenal up 😤 @brfootball
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 1, 2020
3. Kai Havertz – £62m
Despite failing to live up to expectations at Chelsea, Havertz did enough to impress Arteta and has joined Arsenal in a deal worth an initial £62million.
The Germany international was often deployed as a central striker at Stamford Bridge but looks set to replace Granit Xhaka in Arsenal’s starting XI.
“Talent comes at a price, and at Arsenal we are always interested in youngsters with experience,” Arteta told Marca. “Kai has already shown a lot, including a Champions League [win]. He is a talented player, versatile and only 24 years old.”
2. Nicolas Pepe – £72m
While Unai Emery wanted to sign Wilfried Zaha in the summer of 2019, the Arsenal hierarchy overruled his decision and ended up buying Pepe instead.
He displayed glimpses of his talent and played a key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup success in 2019/20, setting up the winning goal in the final.
But the Ivory Coast international failed to justify the £72million price tag and was ultimately usurped by academy graduate Bukayo Saka.
Pepe spent the 2022/23 season on loan at Nice and TEAMtalk understands that Arsenal are prepared to terminate his contract if no permanent transfer can be arranged.
1. Declan Rice – £100m
After leading West Ham United to victory in the 2023 Europa Conference League final, Rice decided to leave his boyhood club.
Arsenal then broke their transfer record and fought off competition from Manchester City and Bayern Munich to sign the England international.
“His leadership, his aura, obviously the experience he already has in this league,” Arteta said when asked about Rice’s qualities. “He’s going to bring the team to a different dimension.
“He’s got the physical qualities that we’ve been missing for a while, that’s why we had to do what we had to do to get him because he’s really important for us.
“A while ago we spoke about players that could complement each other, give us more flexibility, more depth and more quality, and take a winning hunger into the team with players who really want to push themselves to a different level.”