Arsenal’s 10 Most Expensive Signings

For many years either side of Arsenal’s move to the Emirates Stadium there was a degree of caution in the transfer market. However, whilst it is still true that the Gunners have spent nothing like as much as Man United, Chelsea or Man City, it would be a little disingenuous to suggest they have been shy in spending money more recently.

The Gunners have paid some very big fees for players, with their record outlay stretching to nine figures – or £100m+. In fact, right now, with the winter 2024 transfer window behind us, no English club has ever paid more for an English player than Arsenal have. Moreover, only one footballer has been brought into the PL for a bigger fee than the club splashed on… let’s take a look!

1) Declan Rice, £105m

Declan Rice action shot
Canno73 |

The fees for players are not always disclosed, whilst further confusion can be created by fluctuating exchange rates (where players are signed from overseas) and whether or not add-ons are included. However, it is generally accepted that Arsenal paid neighbours around £105m for the services of Declan Rice. That is believed to be made up of a £100m fee and £5m in add-ons and makes the England star the most expensive English player of all time, the second most expensive player ever signed by a Premier League outfit and Arsenal’s record transfer.

It is still relatively early days for Rice, the defensive midfielder having only joined the Gunners in July 2023. However, the early signs are that the nine-figure transfer fee may just prove to be a bargain. He has settled instantly and has all the attributes to help Arsenal and England to silverware. A leader on and off the pitch, Rice will hopefully be at the Emirates for a decade!

2) Nicolas Pepe, £72m

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe
Cosmin Iftode | Bigstockphoto

Many Arsenal fans were very excited when the club beat off competition from a number of other top European sides to land Pepe from Lille in 2019. However, proof that splashing the cash does not always work, this was a rather disastrous acquisition by Arsenal.

Pepe played just 112 times for the club and managed only 27 goals. He just never settled and didn’t look like he had the ability or temperament to make it somewhere like Arsenal. He left the Gunners in September 2023 on a free transfer, despite still having a year left on his contract, which shows just how far his star had fallen.

3) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, £56m

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Dirk Vorderstraße | Wikipedia

It is easy to classify the money spent on Pepe as wasted but the case with Auba is less clear-cut. The former Borussia Dortmund striker was signed in 2018 and settled instantly, bagging 10 goals in 14 games in his first season with the club. He made it to 20+ league goals in each of the next two Premier League campaigns, winning the PL Golden Boot in the first of those (2018/19).

However, his form dipped and his career trailed away, before off-pitch indiscipline spelt the end of his relationship with Mikel Arteta. The end was strange, with both parties seemingly wanting out but a deal not being done. Eventually the Gabon international went to Barca, then Chelsea but, now at Marseille, he has been unable to get back to his best.

4) Ben White, £50m

Ben White
James Boyes | Wikipedia

Ben White was signed by the club from Brighton in 20212 after a fine spell with Leeds United in the Championship on loan. The West Yorkshire side were desperate to sign White but couldn’t quite afford him and many Arsenal fans raised an eyebrow when the club paid £50m for a player unproven at top flight level. However, White has settled well and has the football intelligence and flexibility to be a perfect Arteta player.

5) Alexandre Lacazette, £48m

Alexandre Lacazette
Ronnie Macdonald | Flickr

Laca was brought in by Arsene Wenger in July 2017 and the fee they paid Lyon made him the club’s record signing at the time. Like some other players on this list, his transfer was not disastrous but, at the same time, did not deliver the bang-for-buck one expects from such a pricey forward. He had five full seasons at Arsenal, bagging 71 goals in 206 games and helping them win the FA Cup.

6) Gabriel Jesus, £45m

Gabriel Jesus
Roberto Sabino | Flickr

Jesus joined from Man City, along with Oleksandr Zinchenko, in the summer of 2022 and when Arsenal were soaring above City in the PL table many questioned how Pep Guardiola had allowed a rival to strengthen themselves at City’s expense. City had the last laugh but Jesus has been a solid signing and, still only 26, can improve. He has spent too much time injured to really judge him but hopefully he can prove himself a worthy leader of the Arsenal line.

6) Thomas Partey, £45m

Thomas Partey
Антон Зайцев | Wikipedia

Partey became the costliest Ghanian footballer ever when he joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in October 2020. The athletic, energetic midfielder is another who falls into the so-so category and aged 30 now, we are unlikely to see all that much more from him. He could prove a useful squad player but we remain at least a little unconvinced.

8) Mesut Ozil, £42.4m

Mesut Ozil
Ronnie Macdonald | Wikipedia

Ozil became the Gunners’ record signing when he made the switch from Real Madrid in 2013 but for many he epitomises everything that was wrong with the end of the Wenger regime. On his day he was sublime, with skill and vision to spare but like Arsenal in general at that time, his days came too infrequently and he lacked fight and heart. That may be a harsh assessment but Ozil’s career never hit the heights many expected, despite his 92 Germany caps.

9) Granit Xhaka, £40.5m

Granit Xhaka
@cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London | Wikipedia

Xhaka was brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and has often been a controversial figure. Love him or hate him, his Arsenal career developed and improved over time and Arteta was a fan. He played almost 300 times for the Gunners and is now with surprise Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, helping Xabi Alonso’s underdogs upset the odds in Germany.

10) Jurrien Timber, £40m

Jurrien Timber
Carlo Bruil | Flickr

The jury is still out on Timber, which sounds negative but is simply a reflection of the fact that the former Ajax man has only played two games for Arsenal. He won two league titles with the Dutch giants but has found game time hard to come by at the Emirates. Aged just 22 though, his time will surely come, and we fancy the confident defender will prove far better value than many others on this list.