Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal Transfer History

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On the 30th of September 1996, Arsene Wenger was officially appointed as manager of Arsenal Football Club. Since that day, a grand total of thirty three transfer windows have come to pass.[quote_right]“Many Arsene Wenger transfers have gone down in history as masterstrokes…”[/quote_right]

Over the years, many Arsene Wenger’s transfers, both in and out of the club, have gone down in history as masterstrokes. Yet at the same time, many of his transfers have been  highly criticised by fans and media alike - usually for good reason.

However, regardless of the subsequent success of the players themselves, it is important to first analyse Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal transfer history via the amount of money he has spent & received over the course of his illustrious, seventeen year reign over The Gunners.

A Numbers Game

I hate maths. But for the sake of analysing Arsenal’s expenditure and income since 1996, I’ve had no choice but to dabble in it. By clicking the link below, you’ll reveal an extensive table of every purchase and sale ever made by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal Football club, as well as the fee for each transfer.

Arsene’s Balancing Act

Since taking charge of Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger has spent approximately £364,050,000 on player purchases, whilst accruing £350,704,000. This leaves us with a £13,346,000 deficit. A large enough number, but in the grand scheme of things, the figure is mere pennies.

“The numbers certainly seem to indicate that the club considers its past when taking gambles on the future.”

Has such a close balance been achieved on purpose? Each year Arsene will have been given a budget which reflected the clubs current finances, so it’s unclear whether his transfer budget in 2012 was impacted by his expenditure in 1997, but the numbers certainly seem to indicate that the club considers its past when taking gambles on the future.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the table above is impressive. Despite the economic world changing drastically between 1996 and 2013, not forgetting to mention the fact that Arsenal built and moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, Arsene Wenger has kept his transfer budgets in tight check. This many not be every fans dream transfer policy, but from a purely business point of view - you have to admire him.

Additionally, reading through the names listed above brings back floods of memories. It’s difficult to believe that Arsenal’s current Assistant Manager, Steve Bould, was sold by the club in the year 2000 for £500,000.

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From Genius Crafting To Simply Grafting

Impressive figures are all well and good, except when the positive balance is not reflected in the most important area of the club - on the pitch.

Scanning through the Arsenal transfer history list above quickly tells you about the financial aspect of Arsene Wenger’s policies. But a deeper review will reveal that, over the years, his transfer policy has changed in terms of who the money gets spent on. And the change is a negative one.

“Arsene had a knack for finding players with raw talent, and crafting them into superstars.”

Some of Arsene’s first signings include the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit & Nicolas Anelka. Names who, at the time, were not known for being world beaters. But Arsene had a knack for finding players with raw talent, and crafting them into superstars. This was continued with purchases such as Thierry Henry, Fredrik Ljungberg and Francis Jeffers Robert Pires.

Today, we see that the funds get spent on players who can’t be crafted into much at all. Names such as Andre Santos, Sebatien Squillaci & Gervinho all boast pricetags far above & beyond their true worth. The worst part is, there are few names to point out who have have been crafted to have the same impact as players like Patick Vieira & Thierry Henry. It seems that Arsene Wenger’s knack has abandoned him.

What do you think of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal Transfer History? Is the money less of an issue in comparison to the lack of quality being brought into the club? Share your views in the comments section below.

  • GoonerSam

    I disagree that his ‘knack’ has left him. All managers have made bad buys (including Fergie, Mourinho, Pep etc).

    Recent buys for AW include Jack, Chamberlain and Cazorla. These players prove his knack has NOT abandoned him !!!

    • Paddy O’Furniture


    • theclockend

      Jack Wilshere was not an AW buy, he came through the youth ranks.

      Chamberlain and Cazorla are very good buys, but they are extremely average buys when compared to Vieira, Henry, Pires, etc.

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