Arsenal Debate: Which Wenger signings truly excited you (at the time)?

Flash a little leg, Arsene! by Dave

From a footballing perspective, the summer is a long, drawn out affair that saps your energy and leaves you desperate for the new season to start again. Fans of some clubs can often break up the mediocrity and dullness by getting overly excited about some shiny brand new signing. It’s a joyous occasion – waking up in the morning to the news that your club has just gone and splashed the cash on an exciting player you never expected to get. It’s like waking up beside that hot barmaid you’ve been desperately trying to flirt with for the past year; no idea how you got there but happy to bask in the glory….

Ahem. I digress. The point I’m making…badly…is that while it’s admirable to be a club renowned for developing stars, and I believe it’s something we must continue to do, our morning surprises have been far too infrequent. We’ve made plenty of astute signings, and we’ve made several wise investments, but I unapologetically crave some excitement. Over the last ten years, we’ve made three and a half signings that left me giddy with excitement. Some turned out better than others, but the potential and hope those signings give you are what summer transfer seasons are all about. There’s plenty of time to analyse, discuss and argue over the squad for 89 days of the summer. For that one day, all debates are off.

As I said, I believe we’ve had far too few of these signings in recent years. They differ from person to person, but my three and a half from the last ten years are:

1 – Jose Antonio Reyes
A big fee for a young European starlet in the making – Reyes was meant to be the future. He was going to help us make that next step. I saw glorious things in our futures the day we signed Reyes…and those dreams eventually crashed and burned. Such a disappointment. That same year, we signed two other young players – Messrs Fabregas and van Persie. Well played Wenger, well played.

2 – Samir Nasri
There had been plenty of speculation over whether we could pry Nasri away from Marseille. When he signed that contract extension in May, it was the equivalent of the aforementioned barmaid’s Biker boyfriend sauntering in the pub just as you get the courage to over and talk to her. Game over…or so I thought. Little did I know that the contract extension would serve just to make our eventual signing of him two months later all the sweeter. Hit the road, Biker Barry.

3 – Andrei Arshavin
Such joy – such disappointment. Arshavin’s arrival at Arsenal was a wonderful moment. He brought with him such promise and talent. His exploded on to the pitch in his first few months and he looked like an absolute world beater. And then he stopped. Arshavin will always have a fond place in my memory, but his signing was like taking home the prom queen only to find out she’s actually a he. It just looked so good.

3.5 – Santi Cazorla
I can only give Santi half a mark here because although his signing was tremendous news, my excitement was somewhat muted out of fear. I foolishly and secretly feared that Cazorla just might not establish himself in the Premier League. Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong, but my excitement was tempered, so he only gets a half.

There have been some other potential candidates along the years – Theo Walcott was a genuinely exciting prospect, but these days have been few and far between. While my head desperately wants us to make sensible and quality signings this summer, my heart is craving something adventurous. Come on Arsene; show us a bit of leg.

Tell us, what signings have really gotten your pulses racing?

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100 thoughts on “Arsenal Debate: Which Wenger signings truly excited you (at the time)?

  1. PatLloyd

    Always get excited seeing new players in the starting lineup on the opening day of the season however i would love to know how it feels to be waiting to see a £30million player in red and white

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 80 Thumb down 2

  2. Liam-Jenko

    Cazorla, Podolski, Chamberlain, Walcott, Arshavin, Reyes, Eduardo, Rosicky, Vermalaen

    I didn’t know to much about Nasri, Koscielny, Chamakh, Park and didn’t really know what to expect from Giroud as he scored alot of goals for Montpellier but i wondered if he weould have adapted to the premier league

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 69 Thumb down 0

  3. Pranay

    Arshavin
    Especially considering how the transfer took place

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 2

  4. 16

    @ Admin I just read Gabrielle Marcotti a London has stated Arsenal have a number of backroom staff off on holiday until June 30th so any deals will not be rushed and will be concluded and finalized officially in July. Could be an interesting piece to write up and assure the many Arsenal fans on this site that things are happening in terms of negotiations but as the season is most of our important staff are unavailable.

    These was regarding news on Arsenal and Fellani, the medical staff etc are off on holiday so that’s the delay for all these signings. Chelsea are close to completing a 25m deal for Jovetic as Firontina prefer to sell him to a PL club.

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  5. h-gooner

    I know all of us want world class players but the best signing we can possably make is david dein…because once we get him back the rest will follow.

    Coyg

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 2

  6. vyash

    u know the answer

    its obvious cazorlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  7. Elgy

    was most excited about Rosicky or Arshavin at the time tbh

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0

  8. WhenRamiresDiesThereWillBeMassiveParty

    Podolski, Arshavin and Eduardo!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  9. avb sucks

    I am hoping the next couple of signings will be the ones to blow me away. There is no reason for it not to happen anymore, I just hope the powers that be at our glorious club don’t find a way to disappoint me.

    I am hoping for Higuain and Fellaini, setting my standards high, we can dream can’t we.

    Bring on the rumours, I love them. I know thats exactly what they are unlike some of the muppets on here. If this site only wrote an article when they had a concrete story we would get one a fortnight to read, so stop moaning!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  10. h-gooner

    Sol cambell in 2002 from the spuds was a great one!!!!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 57 Thumb down 2

  11. mr lean

    park,santos and squid, I was very drunk each time I heard we were signing them and have soberd up since mmmmm just wondering was wenger p#ssed too lol !!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  12. captain

    These are all rumors. Let’s wait till july when the back room staffs will be back. Its a 50-50 situation.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. ABK

    the true fact is wenger has never signed a mega star player so its been very hard to get excited. he made a few though :)..but always sold them for mega money ;(

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 12

  14. chun

    I was stupidly excited about Park :/
    Oh and Chamberlain as well!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. Hardy

    I was up at spurs and decided to get a cup of tea from the burger van

    i asked if he could rustle me cup or a mug
    he replied

    SORRY mate no cups
    they are all at arsenal
    and the mugs are on the pitch

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 55 Thumb down 3

  16. mr lean

    if all the backroom staff are holiday its no wonder we lose out on signings(hazard/mata) wtf is going on !!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  17. pial

    Gazidis said arsenal target top class talent not world class player.
    Now question remains who is really top class talent for him.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  18. Ian Hawthorne

    The answer is too easy

    Doesn’t matter who we do or don’t sign.
    I will still be at every home match next season
    Jack is only going to get better and better
    The Ox will force his way into the starting line up
    And nobody but NOBODY in the premier league has got a player with the talent of our little two footed maestro

    Ooooooooh Santi Cazorla

    COYG

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  19. Gooner96

    Thiago from barca available for 18 million euros (buy out clause). That’s an absoloute bargain if you ask me this guy could be as good iniesta especially with rosicky and arteta getting on a bit. Imagine wilshere thiago and cazorla as an attacking midfield force. Deadly!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  20. The man

    @pial
    that’s a very good point you make.. I caught up on that too..he said “world class talent”. does that mean more kids???

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  21. Hardy

    Why do tottenham fans plant potatoes round the edge of their gardens???

    So they have something to lift at the end of season

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  22. mr lean

    @Hardy very funny

    @Admin why not run a spud joke of the day competition as we need a laugh to keep us sane until we sign some players(warning could run for weeks/months this competition)

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  23. Shem

    I was really exicted when I heard we got podolski, boosted by that dutch guy leaving. I do still love podolski but was disapointed with him las season (not all his fault I guess) but yh….in recent days I was pretty truly exited about podolski I jus hope he can show his true talent next season :)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  24. Haxxxan

    sol campbell!
    that put salts in tott wounds and the very next year he won the league with us and did the double!!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  25. ABK

    it always amazes me when you get thumbed down for saying the truth…if anyone can name me the mega star player wenger has signed in his whole time at arsenal please do say?

    and thats means a mega star before they came to the club

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  26. Hardy

    Lol guys on goal.com on a topic fight broke out b/w
    ARSENAL AND TOTTENHAM fans

    ARSENAL fans were robbing TOTTENHAM fans

    to add salt some liverpool and man utd fans too started commenting in support of arsenal

    TOTTENHAM FANS LOSERS

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  27. Hardy

    @ pial

    yep but TOTTENHAM have never lifted anything

    except their fans lifting their dicks before the start of the season Claiming they are the best in london

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. Deano

    I think everyone needs to stop getting impatient and slagging wenger off for not having already made one or two signings, most of the players are on holiday and so are most of the staff, and some of the clubs havent even got management in place. We need to be patient. I for one, would be happy with a number of signings… rooney, fellaini, higuain, gundogan, bender. As long as he strengthens the squad i honestly couldnt care less about whether the players cost 10 million or 40 million, as long as they push us forward. Patience is the key fellow gooners, and if by the start of the season wenger has signed stewart downing, david villa and martin skrtel, then and only then should we be calling for his head. Red Army!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. James

    1. Arshavin.
    Signing him off the back of his international success which sparked all that interest was amazing. It was so refreshing to see one of those players end up at our club.
    2. Abou Diaby.
    I remember hearing on five live that we had signed the next Patrick Viera. As a boy reaching my teens I was overwhelmed by the possibility of my beloved Arsenal being able to replicate the squad which I had watched growing up. And what better to replicate than Viera Ohohohoh!
    3. That Dutchman that musn’t be named.
    Much like Diaby, I first heard about RVP when I was listening to Arsenal on the radio. If I remember rightly it was the last game of the season and the commentators were raving about te clubs new target, a young Bergkamp! And much like With Diaby I relished the thought of a replicated legend.
    3.5 Rosicky.
    A surprise I know, but his signing was quite exciting. Perhaps not his initial signing excited me as much as his initial performances and what he brought to the team. I remember beig so excited that we were getting a player that could shoot from outside the box! It’s what we needed and after that goal against Liverpool I think it was, I just couldn’t wait. Obviously his arsenal career didn’t exactly kick on from there but nevertheless he still has that technical brilliance.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. joel

    was very excited when arsenal signed Gervinho (shame it didnt turn out)

    but yeah the other obvious two: nasri and arshavin.

    Hopefully this can be a summer full of excitement!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. tony

    rosicky..because he was my favourite player on lma manager 2003. i was a kid at the time..lol

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  32. Sun

    @101 fergie 101

    Bergkamp got me excited too (and David Platt) but it says Wenger signings.

    Mine would be Campbell, Overmars, Reyes and I also got excited when we signed Christopher Wreh. (lol)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Lex

    For Arsenal fans, this transfer window is crunch-time. We’re told that we now have loads-a-money. So much, apparently, that we can afford to buy Wayne Rooney and pay him £200k/week. We’re told that Arsene has the funds and authorisation to “Break our transfer record”.

    That was some big talk from Ivan Gazidis, so now we want to see some action. If this window turns out to be another disappointment, and next season turns out to be like the last few, then it’s time for the fans to make a stand and protest.

    However, if we are finally “Shown some leg” (And maybe some tits…lol) then perhaps all the pre-stadium promises might start getting fulfilled. Either way, we will know for sure by the end of this transfer window.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  34. Gary o c

    Wake up will all you Wenger optimists. The man is a proven con and hopefully people with enough nous could read between gazidis’s rehearsed lines and see that too.

    Wenger clearly isn’t interested in changing tact and recruiting established footballers at going rate. If he was trust me gazidis would have given more room for optimism. To change tact now and buy a 25m player on £150k a week would go against everything his failed project stands for.

    Wenger rather spends £15m on French nobodies rather than the extra £5m for real proven quality.

    He is too old to change his ways. He is too arrogant and stubborn to change course

    He is a loser that’s happy to take 4th every year with the highest salary in the league for a club in financial transition.

    I hurt for the deluded fans who can’t see through the pitiful money making sharade that is AFC PLC.

    Wenger treats the club like his private property and personal project.

    I have no respect for him as a competetitive manager.

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

  35. Vlad

    @ l0l fergie l0l: Bergkamp is my favorite player of all time, but Wenger didn’t sign him, Bruce Rioch did a year before Wenger became Arsenal manager. Wenger does get the credit though for realizing his true potential, and making him into one of the best all-around players in the world.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. goonerpaul97

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Out of tune?. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  37. Alan Frank

    @gary o c if things don’t change this summer then i might agree with you as for the first time we’ve been promised that there is money to spend. But I think your comments are completely wrong there are loads of other factors to take into consideration as to why we don’t sign some players other than flaking out an extra five million. Ie. getting taped up by agents to get more money from other clubs like in the Mata transfer situation. And if your referring to the Higuain situation no body knows whats going on there! Does Wenger even want him? It could be the media making up shit as usual.

    Your just getting angry over roumers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. jackie

    Marc Overmars – Already an established international, 3 league titles, a cup & Champions League with Ajax, plus the fact that him and Bergkamp were amzing to watch together for their country just got me excited beyond belief.

    Francis Jeffers – Although he didn’t live up to the hype & his fall from grace has been pretty (actually unbelievably) bad, the potential of this guy when we got him was what really got me excited. Shame it didn’t work uout that way.

    Davor Suker – Amazing striker with a prolific goalscoring record when we got him from Madrid. Like Overmars had done it all domestically and at international level was top draw for Croatia. Like Jeffers didn’t work out to well but he can be forgiven as he was 31 at the time.

    Gilberto Silva – After watching him single handedly control the middle of the park like a boss for Brazil en route to their World Cup victory I couldn’t believe it when we acquired his services. The thought of him and Vieira at the centre of our midfield gave me goosebumps.

    Sol Campbell – Sure, he was a spud when we signing him but despite that, his qualities as a defender were without question, and with Tony Adams, retiring, and Martin Keown finishing up a season a couple of seasons later we needed some fresh blood and he was perfect.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  39. AidanGooner

    A nice little trip down memory lane. For me, honestly it was:
    Junichi Inamoto – something likable about this chubby little guy. Naively I wasn’t aware this signing was more about commercial than on-field success- it seems like this was a sign of things to come.
    Tomas Rosicky – we announced a deal for him, then he looked awesome at the World Cup before he joined
    Sylvain Wiltord- record signing at the time, was hoping Wenger had found another Henry or at least Anelka
    Jose Reyes- was so sure this was going to be a great signing, Wenger spending so much to bring a young, pacy Spaniard over to the Prem.
    Abou Diaby- billed as the next Vieira! – gonna excite any Arsenal fan.
    Samir Nasri- had seen him a couple of times for Marseille, mainly in Europe, and he had looked the real deal.
    Andrei Arshavin- much hyped, had great skills, played a great international tournament as I think Russia got to the Semis
    Wellington Silva – I got pretty excited after hearing we had spent £3.5 million after scouting this young Brazilian. I remember searching through Youtube clips! To a lesser extent, Denilson (Brazil U18s captain) but there wasn’t much internet info on him.
    Sol Campbell- Hahahahaha!!!! What can you say? I couldn’t believe it!- pure gold just for winding up Spurs fans.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Gurkha Gunners

    If Man Shitty and all other clubs medical staff are working extra hours to get the deal sorted why on earth are our medical team slacking off…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. mr lean

    higuian,cesc and fellaini oh f#ck not signed them…….yet.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. leo

    @mr lean parkdjorou theyar etrying to sell him + chammakh & santos heard mannone will leave for serie a we are being linked with rui patricio/mingolet/begovic as his replacement + fabisnki could be replaced by ceaser/adler

    it’s difficult to move some like chammakh,djorou,santos & park they are on high wages johan dojorou already has refused to take a paycut once we move these guys based on our wage bill we can make big signings 2-3

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. leo

    Former Crystal Palace chairman says Arsenal turned down the chance to sign Zaha in January: “They weren’t interested”

    zaha wanted to come,he is a gooner but we turned him down poor decision but he also have attitude problems still he would have been better than gervinho

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  44. leo

    Bendtner says he would love to play for Barcelona: “If it’s a free choice, I choose Barcelona”. lol

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  45. crazy

    Arteta! He was someone I had admired for a longtime.

    Secondly, Per Martesacker..His height was enough for me to rejoice..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  46. mr lean

    @Leo diaby to go or loan him out last chance this season to prove he can stay fit

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. TRM

    His signing at the time didn’t excite me, but his performances did….PIRES

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  48. leo

    @mr lean then again how long will diaby last hmm

    “I spoke to David Dein as I did not want Zaha to go to Manchester United, I wanted him to stay in London.” Ron Noades former CP Chairman

    interesting that david dein is still influential at arsenal maybe he is going to come back

    ceaser signing maybe done to replace mannone

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  49. leo

    @mr lean yeah he was on trnasfer for first week now they are all on vaccations but expect some signing sto be announced soon hearing we may have signed 1-2 players could be announced maybe next week or by june end

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  50. SB

    could we announce major signings and puma deal at one big press conference/exhibition in july?

    maybe thats what the waiting is for?

    fingers crossed

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  51. Ks-Gunner

    Arshavin due of him being chased by many teams…and his great international performances with the Russien team…

    he came short at the end but in the beginning he was crucial for us…….i salute u Arshavin thx for serving us…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. captinweestain

    Only got to comment 4, so f*ck buying a new season ticket i’m on holiday till you buy SOMEBODY CLASS!
    I really want to eat my own words, but i believe Wenger will let his contract run, Ivan has promised him and us the world.

    TOO LATE, too late.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. captinweestain

    Wenger didn’t sign him But it has to be ‘The iceman’, he was the catalyst for all quality to follow, Overmars-Anelka List goes on.
    No bergkamp, no 2003

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. captinweestain

    Nacho was a brilliant buy as well, last minute, however that was more relief than excitment.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. Gary o c

    @ Alan Frank

    I respect your balanced views.

    However I don’t have faith in Wenger anymore. I think he is complicit in the whole sharade. His salary speaks volumes for me.

    But you are right, wait until aug 31st. Can’t help thinking their will be very little difference between last summer.

    Cheers

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  56. captinweestain

    John Jensen, i was in the garden plucking my bum hairs.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. sparky

    So apparently Wenger turned down Wilfried Zaha, I suggest that if Zaha is a massive hit at Utd Wenger should be sacked,

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  58. tamergooner

    i was really excited for helb and ros i use to buy them on fm before they came to arsenal, and when they came i was really happy just wish we kept helb

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  59. tobi

    Why sign Zaha? Have you guys ever watched crystal palace?this guy is not better than OX and yet they want 15M for him and also want us to loan then for 6 months… To me he’s not a better player than Serge gnabry… We should rather buy grenier…. And Santi is my biggest excitement. I watched evry arsenal game this season mostly because of him. According to Jamie Redknap, you can’t get the ball from him in a telephone box…oh oh oh Santi carzoooooooola

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  60. Gary o c

    Not been this excited since the signings of park & squilachi

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. bergkampsotherleg

    @sparky.
    by that logic if Zaha goes there and is a massive flop, Wenger should get a pay-rise and a contract extension?
    God almighty some people talk some absolute drivel on here.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  62. Swan ronson

    Great news guys I was just doing some maintenance work at the emirates and saw emile Heskey sneaking out the back door. First big signing made bring on next season!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. ferro

    Still, whenever Arsene buys an inexpensive unknown, i wonder if hes going to be another Anelka Vieira Petit or Ljungberg type deal.

    Couldnt believe when we signed Bergkamp. I seen a bit of him in Italian football but it were his spectacular goals/assists for Holland that really excited me.

    The most recent one would have to be Arshavin, expected big things.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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