Arsene Wenger’s best (bargain) XI


With Arsene’s 1000th game coming up at the weekend, there are all kinds of Best XIs floating about. With a nod to the boss’s transfer market acumen, here’s our best bargain XI.

GK: Jens Lehmann £1.5m – He arrived from Borussia Dortmund and became an Invincible.

RB: Bacary Sagna £6m – The most expensive purchase but in terms of value for money he’s provided it.

CB: Sol Campbell £0.00p – Thanks Sp*rs!

CB: Kolo Toure £250,000 – He came as an eager jack of all trades, and became a top class centre-half. Sold for a profit of around £12m.

LB: Gael Clichy £400,000 – Arrived from Cannes a 17 year old rookie, played a key part in the unbeaten season, and was sold for a profit of close to £7m.

LM: Edu £600,000 – His fee was reported at £6m from Corinthians, it was much, much less than that. He really did have a cultured left foot.

CM: Patrick Vieira £3.5m – Rescued from AC Milan, he was Wenger’s second signing after Remi Garde and grew into one of the world’s best players at Highbury. Sold for a profit of £10.25m.

CM: Cesc Fabregas £0 – Snaffled from an out of contract situation at Barcelona, the Catalan ended up captaining the team before moving back to his second home for a profit of £36.5m – 1 lesser spotted van Bronckhorst.

RM: Freddie Ljungberg £3m – Arsene Wenger saw him playing for Sweden against England and immediately splashed out for the attacking midfielder who became a fans favourite and a crucial member of two title winning teams.

FW: Nicolas Anelka £500,000 – He was free but PSG took Arsenal to court and they had to pay a fee decided by arbitration. Anelka then did an Anelka and was sold to Real Madrid for £23m.

FW: Robin van Persie £2.5m – He is the Skunkiest of all Dutch Skunks, and a frustrating figure to look back on because of his injury problems, but is 8th in the all time scoring list. Profit of £21.5m after his sale to Man United where he was left by Alex Ferguson to be coached by Phil Neville.

Total cost – £18.25m

Total profit: £109.75m


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118 Comments on "Arsene Wenger’s best (bargain) XI"

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man’s a genius… please never leave!! your article earlier has got me scared!


In the end, its just Venga – what the fuck does he know?

We’d fare better with the likes of Moyes and Laudrup.


if he does leave, i’m more than confident he’d leave the club in capable hands. he’s gone through so much in terms of building the club that i can’t imagine he would suddenly cut the chord and quit without a plan in place.

but it may come down to league position and the fa cup. it’s not trophy or bust, but it might be the closest to it in his years at the club.


You can be sure of that. Bouldy hasn’t been sitting on his right hand side for nothing. #HeirApparent




Holy shit, what a fucking team that is. Would steam roller the league this year, not bad for £12.5M…

Dr Baptiste

Is that including young Anelka or Quenellka?


The rapscallion that we sold.

My Name Is Difficult To Pronounce
My Name Is Difficult To Pronounce

Young Anelka looks like a black young Wenger.

Injured Gooner South Africa
Injured Gooner South Africa

That did actually cross my mind as well. Thank goodness you cant say that today. Some one would probably have ended up wanting to turn that into a comedy, an English comedy. Not sure if Id want to see that.


Clichy would find a way to fuck it up

Dr Baptiste

When you write it all down, and I know lots of people complain about his transfer activity (which strangely coincided with us having very little money but people like to ignore this fact), he does know how to find a player and spin a profit.

Neil #2

nice. now sign da’ ting, Arsene.


Excellent, now please sign your own contract extension Arsene.

Master Bates

Thanks Google Translate


Sums up the mentality of our fans when a top blogger is selecting bargain teams instead of best teams. I am sure you enjoyed that profit.


I know, what an absolutely rubbish selection of players. And it’s all penny-pinching Wenger’s fault.


it is a best team, you jackass!! a best bargain team, yes. but a best none the less. at least read the title properly before commenting/lamenting.


If THAT team showed you their medals it would blind you

only 2 of them failed to win anything with us


If THAT team showed you their medals it would blind you

only 2 of them failed to win anything with us

and one of those will rectify that by may

Fest Arse

Great save


You could easily put the majority of those players in a list of the best XI anyway the fact that they were cheap was merely a bonus.


Sure, it is not that hard to create Best XI. Given that Guardian had done that already and Telegraph had worst XI. It is only appropriate to have Bargain XI. That’s why ArseBlog is a Top Blogger.

Mark Hughes

I could have been his greatest achievement… Ah well, I’ll just have to wait until that sleeping bag coat needs a new owner


If you got Sagna in there for 6m, surely you could have included Henry.
As value for money goes, 10m* for what he did was bargain of the century.

*it was 10 wasn’t it?


Imagine how good arsenal would be if past players had stayed on


Dunno about that … Perry Groves is getting on a bit, and isn’t Eddie Hapgood dead?


cross him off, then.


Anelka really was an amazing bit of business wasn’t it. Shipped him for a huge chunk of cash and got the god-damn sexy Thierry Henry with the less than half the profits.

that’s a big WIN.

Arseblog News Hound

Anelka paid for the new training ground. We named the club’s naughty step after him in his honour. Bendtner’s on Anelka right now.


That’s not the only thing he’s on!

B’dum’tish, coat etc…


I really do wonder how good Anelka could have been for us had his head been screwed on properly and had his brothers/agents not been such dicks. Younger than Henry, similarly quick, good finisher… Fuck, imagine them both up front for us for the best part of 10 years.


What about overmars? Signed for 5, sold for 23, plus petit total 30m?


As much as I like “the best XI” things, who would people have as his worst XI?

And before any of you gits put Giroud in your line up, that’s not allowed, big nor clever 😉


Does TGSTEL count? Considering his latest behaviour, I’d include him just for the damage he does to the club’s name.


GK – Wright
RB – Hoyte (don’t think he was bought but struggling to think of one we bought)
CB – Silvestre
CB – Squillaci (Stepanovs, Cygan and Senderos get honorary mentions)
LB – Santos
RM – Bentley
CM – Denilson
CM – Inamoto
LM – Arshavin? (in here because he cost a lot, not that he was rubbish. In fact, fuck it let’s put Boa Morte instead)
FW – Jeffers
FW – Baptista (only because he cost more than Park)


If anyone dares to suggest Emmanuel Eboue I will destroy them*

* with my eyes



too late 🙂

Lenny The Pep

I think that’s very harsh on both Denilson and Arshavin. Yes, perhaps they both failed to reach the heights we’d hoped they could reach, but on the other hand you might suggest that their earlier showings might have actually been overachieving.

Denilson cost 3.4 mil and played very nearly 100 games for The Arsenal, including about 50 in a season if I remember rightly.
Arshavin, whilst expensive, is not expensive relative to the entire transfer market. On top of this, he made 106 appearances for us; not to be snorted at, for sure. He was also had a .25 goals per game rate; a goal every 4 game isn’t bad fare at all for a midfielder.

When you consider that Park didn’t make your list, you can’t really include these two…

Poldi's Thump

Oh c’mon. Senderos wasn’t that bad. Just think back at the run to Paris 06. Ten games without concedeing. Most of them with the bold Swiss at the heart of our defence.


Vivas, Squillaci, Cygan, Santos.
Eboue, Denilson, Grimandi, Gervinho
Bendtner, Jeffers.

Perry Groves

I would have put Petit above Edu, he was only about half a mil I believe, and more important than Edu for the time he was here…


Fair enough on the right back/Henry thing blogs.
Hopefully by Wenger’s 1100th game, we can include Carl Jenkinson on the list.

Stuart Steele

Who needs this infamous ‘war chest’ eh? 🙂


Arsene’s extracted the gold and minted the coin. Now it’s time to take it into town!


Arsene’s moving in the pic up top!!


Would love to see a few more of these in the next few days… Also Id like to see what your best XI really would be


Echo That
The man is an economic mastermind
Osbourne could learn from him
Arsene Wenger “good buys” and all that

If he leaves us I will cry
If he becomes ill I will cry
If he (perish the thought, don’t go there my girl) , passes I will weep like a child
I had an “odd turn” in my tummy reading your blog today Andrew
I want him to be my Granddad. and…..I know it’s not possible
He is not perfect and neither I’m I
Arsene Arsenal Forward

Stuart Steele


Alexander Partridge

Id love to see a worst 11. Wright or Almunia? Senderos or Squillaci. Francis Jeffers would be 1 of the 3 stars in that team (if we were playing championship manager 01/02).

Good old Wenger! Hes the best.


I suppose you’d also have to consider Adebayor. He was sold for a £20m + profit. Wikepedia says we bought him for around £3m, and sold him for around £25m. £22m profit? Fractionally more than the skunk?

Also Alex Song, £15m / £16m profit?

Maybe you should expand it to include subs?

Petit's Handbag

Doesn’t that add up to 18.25??
And Skunk….it’s still to soon


The fans at the emirates need to start singning “Sign the ting Venga” This guy has been immense for us and majority of the overseas fans are supporters of The Arsenal due his work on the pitch.


how much did kos the boss cost us?

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Hmm Interesting article, some notable omissions.

– Lauren I pointed above in one of the replies.

– Alex Song. I know there’s Vieera and Fabregas in there, but I think overall Alex was sold at greater % profit
than Vieira. Also would put him ahead of Edu. As much as I love Edu, he left for free while Song left for a
huge profit.

Don't boo Paul Davis

Edu was in a different league to Song. Song defined lackadaisical and never started playing until 15 minutes had passed.

Costa Gooner

In total over 18 years has a net spend of just over 48m in the same period Locomotive Hammersmith over 665m. Conclusion, no Abramovich no Chelsea

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

ALso what would his worst signings be –

GKs – Almunia, Wright
DR – Eboue, Luhzny
DC – Cygan, Stepanovs
DL – Silvestre, Santos
Mid – Denilson, Inamoto
Wingers – Arshavin, Gervinho, Boa Morte
Att – Jeffers, Park

Also some Wenger signings who weren’t world class, but we love anyway and would have liked to see more of –

Stuart Taylor (was he a signing or academy), Giovanni Van Bronkhorst, Hleb, Edu.

Lenny The Pep

So much Eboue hate. It’s no joke to make 130 appearances for this club, and on his day he was a real goer on attack.


Eboue’s 2005/06 season was unreal at RB. After that, it was just one comic scene after another.

Goonet JP

If you are looking fir a ‘worst’ right back then I’d say Nelson Vivas is your man.

Black Hei

He was a pretty crappy DM too. But was revived while playing for Inter.


unfair to Arshavin.
Many players on the Worst list have been genuine stinkers, but Arshavin had terrific talent.


yes, it adds up to 18.25, not 12.25

Fatboy Gooney

How about a….
Wengers all time fuck up’s XI
Some cunt bought, Some cunt sold.

Rad Carrot

Mmm, Wenger’s certainly the best manager in the League for picking out a bargain, no doubt.

It’s a shame he can’t really do this any more – not due to any fault with him, it’s just the way of the world. Other teams have clued up to the ‘diamond in the rough’ strategy and now actively pay over the odds for talent that hasn’t even proved themselves. It’s very rare for teams to spend very little on players now and have them turn into wonders. I’d probably say that the two most recent successes we’ve had have been Ramsey – what, £6m, was it? Or £8m? And Santi, who was £16m if I remember, and a massive, massive bargain considering what a talent he is. Still, it’s a significant outlay. I still remember being somewhat incredulous to Theo’s and the Ox’s price tag, considering they were young and raw when we bought them – but both have already shown they were worth the investment.

Still, nice to get nostalgic over this list. I’d love to see a list of those players who have actually had several successful seasons after leaving us – as far as I can tell, it’s fairly small. ca$hley, the chinless wonder, Cesc… that’s really about it. Maybe Toure too. On the flip side, the skunk is festering, unhappy, down in 7th, his performances terrible of late. Adepaywhore is still playing for a Gooner. Anelka is goosestepping his way around Europe. Players like Hleb and even TiTi didn’t have great personal success after leaving us either (although they did win trophies with their respective teams). Or is this too bitter a list to show?


This manager has been in charge of 1,000 arsenal games and there are fans out there who still think they know better than him.

the period in which our legendary manager was questioned, critisised and disrespected as harshly by his own fans is the most disgraceful period in Arsenal’s history and one of the most em,barassing momments for the fans

even those of us who never lost faith or trust we are guilty for not shutting up the cretins sooner and isolating them.

I feel sorry and embarassed that i did not smash that twat’s face when he was chanting aggresively “spend some fucking money” two rows below me at block 96

Rad Carrot

Heh, I’ve been one of his detractors, certainly. But I still recognise him as being the sole reason we are where we are – financially stable, with a strong team.

He has made mistakes – plenty – but there’s not a single manager who hasn’t who has been going for as long as Wenger has. I would say that each fan is entitled to their own opinion, too; just as Wenger can be praised for his tight budget and ability to find talent, so can he be judged by his stubborn nature and sometimes inability to seal the right deal. Swings and roundabouts. We all support the same club at the end of the day – shutting up the fans who speak out against Wenger are just showing their passion, same as those who support him. Me, I’m kinda in the middle.

One thing I do stress is that whatever happens, he’s (almost) certainly not going to be around by 2020. We need to accept that and be prepared for him to move on and/or retire. The club will always be bigger than the manager, no matter who the manager is.


Everyone Knows this But i repeat it “Arsene is not bigger than ARSENAL, But ARSENAL are Bigger because of Arsene”

Captn Morgan

Personally i do understand people wanting us to spend more money. Ranked 4th on forbes most valuable football club list, then it should not be a problem going in to debt to finance some players. All Clubs are doing it, because they have no problem managing their debt. And being one of the most valuable Clubs in the world, then we certainly would not have a problem with that either.

So i understand that it can be kind of frustrating when we primarily seem to concern ourselves with having Green numbers in the financial protocol and making a profit, while other Clubs do what it takes to fight for trophies.

Alot of Clubs much worse off than us financially are still spending alot more on the transfer market.

And when the players celebrate 4th place like its a trophy, and the club speaks of how proud we should be because of how well financially it is run, then i think they have lost track at why people are football supporters to begin with. While United and Chelsea celebrate trophies we celebrate 4th place because it means the club made another 30million pounds that we can be so proud of.

When you start cheering because Kroenke made some more money when we ourselves are left empty handed yet again, then i think people need to take a look in the Mirror and ask yourselves why.

Less Rambly Pete

What a manager. For a while I was worried watching the demise of post Ferguson Utd but I think that’s unfounded. I wonder if Blogs is right and he’ll be off at the end of the year leaving the next manager one of the best and most stable squads we’ve had in years. It would certainly prove him to be a class above Fergie who left Moyes with a total bag of shite to take over.
Alternate is he’ll give it another year or two and mentor Bouldie or this Jonker bloke into the role.


Oleg Luzhny was a hero. Dont ever bad mouth him. Loved that guy!

Sahil bansal

No Henry? Surely in terms of value for money he’s got to be right up there. RvP only gave us 1.5 great seasons. Henry was great season after season.


Wenger is a very overrated manager.


Who knows, it may be time for Wenger to part from Arsenal.. But look at his number. Embarrassing people are so quick to say “sack wenger” is numbers don’t lie. While the past few years have been a struggle, I honestly belive he has put a lot of thought over the past years about the day he will leave arsenal. We don’t want a situation like united yet we need trophies. Regardless of what happens I believe that if Wenger has a say on who is to follow him he will chose the right person to bring us back to lifting trophies while maintaining all that is the Arsenal Football Club. Will never give up, Gooner for life!!! Stay positive guys!! COYG


I suggest everybody checkout this:

Pure banter between Ox and Jenko. Hilarious.

99problems but being a GOONER aint one
99problems but being a GOONER aint one

When its all laid out like that…..Maybe Wenger does know

There where some Donkeys (Jeffers, Wright, stepanovs) cant deny that BUT
Only expensive flop was Reyes…I think Arshavin paid Wenger back by getting top four that season.

Don't boo Paul Davis

Reyes didn’t flop


Whatva team that would be right now 🙂


Can we have David Bentley on the bench please? Just for the sell-on fee we made from Spurs.


Might aswell include park chu young. got him for £4.5M and will leave for free. making it a loss of £4.5M but considering how absolute whack he was we should be glad we didnt pay even a penny more making it a bargain. Hahahahaha

Im so sorry guys but this transfer business was silly.Hehe amazing.


If Utd get Bayern in the draw, they should
just give the ball to Fellaini in the corner for 180 minutes


This may be common knowledge to some, but I was listening to Ray Parlour yesterday talking about Kolo Toure’s trial. I guess it was supposed to be a no-tackling practise match, and by the end of the game Kolo had chopped down bergkamp and bruised his ankle, was warned by Wenger, he then chopped down Henry who was limping, and said sorry, he then chopped down Wenger at the end of the match and wenger got a bruised foot… Wenger’s response? He turned around and said “sign him up, I like his desire” haha. Legend.


amazing total cost for a wc XI!


I want the “I thought it was a bargain” eleven and the “worst transfer” eleven.


Good thing to remember that the worst 11 (a couple of names apart) does not cost that much either…thankfully.


GK: Wright £8m

LB: Santos £6m CB: Cygan £3,4m CB: Squid £5,7m RB: Luzhny £2,4m

LM: Boa Morte £2m CM: Diarra £2,5m CM:Bischoff £0,7m RM: Gervinho £10m

S: Diawara £2,6 S: Jeffers £13,5m

Dont know about the transfer fees (internet) but it is a lot of Money.


What about a fans/club favourite XI.


I would actually put Henry in there instead of RvP. Yes, he cost more and sold for less, but how much money did he generate during his stay due to shirt sales, trophies and what not? A whole lot more than RvP, certainly. Also, RvP ended up being a problem for us more often than not, as Wenger would rely on him as our main striker, only for him to end up injured, leaving us with Adebayor or something as the only available striker.

In short: RvP was just too injury prone to be considered a bargain. Thierry Henry and RvP spent about the same amount of time at the club, but Henry scored around 100 goals more than RvP. That’s a pretty crazy difference.

Injured Gooner South Africa
Injured Gooner South Africa

That really made sense, would be awesome if the same mentality is applied to what players bring to the team. Sagna is a massive player for the team and for the club, why do we not value him more. I was also happy to see a defensive player pic up a player of the match award. That does not happen often enough. The fact is that goals win games, but what about players who put in 120% game in and game out, at the other end of the spectrum?


Sagna should be good till 34 at very least ala Dixon who went on till 38.

There could be a compromise on the salary between 77K to 90K somewhere but maybe the 6m re-signing fee could be the sticky issue.

If we win the league, that won’t be quite as much of an issue.


nice to see Arseblog went to the irish school of economics where profit equals revenue…


Good choices there. As you said, Overmars was close. I loved it when we signed him and everyone was saying ”He’ll last ten minutes before he picks up an inj…oh my goodness…he’s scored again…he’s bloody quick isn’t he?”


Left Back.

I know we all hate him but Ashley Cole was free being one of the first Academy products to be promoted through by Wenger.

Also Silvinho @ 4m still represents a great bargain as with Nawanko Kanu @ 4.5m


Henry is worth his weight in goal and more. for the price we paid for him, an utter bargain.