The best team signed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger signed well over 100 hundred players during his 22-years as manager of Arsenal.

The Frenchman celebrates his 70th birthday on October 22 and here, the PA news agency picks its best XI of players brought to Arsenal by Wenger.

Jens Lehmann

Jens Lehmann had two spells under Wenger.
Jens Lehmann had two spells under Wenger. (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Going unbeaten in the league in his first season, 2003-04, was a fine start to Lehmann’s Arsenal career.

He would go on to win the 2005 FA Cup but was sent off in the 2006 Champions League final as Arsenal lost to Barcelona – the closest Wenger has come to winning the European Cup.

Lauren

Cameroon international Lauren spent seven years at Arsenal.
Cameroon international Lauren spent seven years at Arsenal. (Nick Potts/PA)

Signed from Mallorca in 2000 for a fee in excess of £7million, the Cameroon international soon established himself as Wenger’s premier right-back.

He was one of the first names on the team-sheet for the 2001-02 double season and played a big part in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ campaign.

He left the club in 2007 after making almost 250 appearances in his seven-year spell in north London.

Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell made the short journey across north London to join Wenger on a free transfer from Tottenham.
Sol Campbell made the short journey across north London to join Wenger on a free transfer from Tottenham. (Tom Hevezi/PA)

The signing of Campbell on a free transfer from Tottenham remains one of the most controversial moves in the history of the Premier League.

The England international surprised the footballing fraternity with the move but his decision, and that of Wenger to poach a player from Arsenal’s fierce local rivals, would be vindicated as he was a pivotal part of the Invincibles’ unbeaten defence.

Laurent Koscielny

Laurent Koscielny captained Arsenal during Wenger's final years at the club.
Laurent Koscielny captained Arsenal during Wenger’s final years at the club. (Adam Davy/PA)

The Frenchman joined as a virtually unknown player in 2010 but he would soon establish himself as an important member of Wenger’s defence.

He scored the equaliser as Arsenal came from 2-0 down to beat Hull in the 2014 FA Cup final to end a run of 10 years without a trophy and was labelled as one of the world’s best defenders by Wenger as he developed at the Emirates Stadium. He departed for Bordeaux in the summer having refused to travel on the club’s pre-season tour.

Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole was a fans' favourite to Arsenal before a controversial switch to Chelsea.
Ashley Cole was a fans’ favourite to Arsenal before a controversial switch to Chelsea. (Phil Noble/PA)

Not strictly a Wenger signing but Cole deserves his place in this side having been given his chance to shine by the Frenchman.

He came through the ranks and was given his first-team debut at the age of 18, going on to become one of the best left-backs in the world.

Two Premier League titles, including the unbeaten season of 2003-04, and three FA Cups would be his reward before an acrimonious move to rivals Chelsea would tarnish his Arsenal legacy.

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas went on to captain Arsenal having made his debut aged 16.
Cesc Fabregas went on to captain Arsenal having made his debut aged 16. (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Signed as a 16-year-old from Barcelona’s fabled academy in 2003, Fabregas was soon playing first-team football with Arsenal and remains their youngest-ever player and youngest-ever goalscorer.

He became one of the main focal points of Wenger’s team and remains one of his biggest success stories but could never manage to help the club win the Premier League for a fourth time before his return to the Nou Camp in 2011 – Fabregas would eventually get his hands on a Premier League winners’ medal after joining Chelsea in 2014.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira was Arsenal captain as Wenger led the Gunners to an unbeaten Premier League season.
Patrick Vieira was Arsenal captain as Wenger led the Gunners to an unbeaten Premier League season. (PA Archive)

Vieira technically joined the club in the closing days of Bruce Rioch’s time in charge and before Wenger took the reins at Highbury.

But Vieira admitted it was Wenger’s impending arrival which saw him join a club he would go on to captain.

Another member of the 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ campaign, his tough-tackling, full-blooded approach won many admirers and earned more than the odd red card.

Freddie Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg is back at Arsenal, working as Unai Emery's assistant.
Freddie Ljungberg is back at Arsenal, working as Unai Emery’s assistant. (Nick Potts/PA)

Marking his debut with a goal against bitter rivals Manchester United endeared the Sweden international to the Arsenal fans instantly – and Ljungberg would go on to become a vital ingredient in Wenger’s side.

Signed after plenty of scouting, Ljungberg made his mark, scoring 71 goals in his 313 Arsenal appearances, earning him the 11th spot in arsenal.com’s ‘Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players’ list as he collected two Premier League titles and a hat-trick of FA Cups. He now works as assistant to current Arsenal head coach Unai Emery.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez developed into a key figure at Arsenal during his time in north London.
Alexis Sanchez developed into a key figure at Arsenal during his time in north London. (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Chile forward just pips Arsenal’s club-record signing Mesut Ozil to a spot in the front three of Wenger’s greatest signings. Brought in from Barcelona in 2014 his mixture of tenacity, skill and goalscoring ability saw him become a very popular figure among the home fans at the Emirates Stadium.

He scored 25 goals in his debut season including one in the 4-0 FA Cup final win over Aston Villa as Arsenal claimed a record 12th victory in the competition but left for Manchester United under a cloud in January 2018 where his form dipped alarmingly ahead of a loan move to Inter Milan last summer.

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry is Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals.
Thierry Henry is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer with 228 goals. (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The most obvious inclusion up front is Henry – the France forward who is Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer having notched 228 goals across two spells with the club.

After an underwhelming stint at Juventus, Henry joined compatriot Wenger and was converted into an out-and-out striker and would never look back.

Henry was the Premier League’s top goalscorer in four different seasons, winning seven honours with the Gunners.

Robert Pires

Robert Pires won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups at Arsenal.
Robert Pires won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups at Arsenal. (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Having played his part in France’s World Cup and European Championship successes of 1998 and 2000, Pires arrived at Arsenal with a winner’s pedigree.

And, despite an indifferent start, he would maintain that during a six-year spell at the club which saw him score 84 goals, some of them very memorable, as he played his part in one of the most successful periods in Arsenal’s history.

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