Arsenal flops: Andre Santos and five other terrible signings

Feb 11, 2013
Jonathan Harwood

From Franny Jeffers to Marouane Chamakh, where does Andre Santos fit in?

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ARSENAL have finally got rid of much-maligned defender Andre Santos, who is on the brink of a loan move to the Brazilian club Gremio.

The hapless 29-year-old arrived at the Emirates from Fenerbahce for a fee of £6.2m in August 2011 but failed miserably with the Gunners. He made just 13 league starts in one-and-a-half seasons, and still managed to turn in some shocking performances.

His lowest point came at Old Trafford earlier this season when he made the bizarre decision to swap shirts with former team-mate and Arsenal hate-figure Robin van Persie at half-time, incensing the fans.

He will not be fondly remembered by the Arsenal faithful and can take his place in the line-up of Arsene Wenger's worst ever signings.

Although the long-serving Arsenal boss has - or rather had - a reputation as a shrewd operator in the transfer market, he has made some howlers in his time. Worryingly they appear to be becoming more regular.

Here are five more of Wenger's least successful signings:

Sebastien Squillaci: The French defender arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2010 for a reported fee of £4.5m after an injury to Thomas Vermaelen. It was soon clear that his partnership with new signing Laurent Koscielny would not go down as one of Arsenal's greatest. Although he made 32 appearances in his first season he has managed just seven since then, and his only game this season was the infamous League Cup defeat to Bradford. Even Johann Djourou was regarded as a better bet before he left the club.

Marouane Chamakh: Arsenal's pursuit of the Moroccan striker was a protracted affair, but Wenger eventually got his man in the summer of 2010, when he joined on a free transfer from Bordeaux. Initially Chamakh appeared to live up to the hype but after 11 goals in his first 22 games he went off the boil in spectacular fashion. Since November 2010 he has managed four goals, including one in 21 games last season. He is currently displaying his bench-warming skills at West Ham, where he is on loan. He makes the list despite the presence of Andrei Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu Young on Arsenal's books.

Pascal Cygan: Is the Arsenal number 18 shirt cursed? Squillaci is the current owner, but before him it belonged to Mikael Silvestre, and prior to that it was worn by Pascal Cygan, another French defender who never looked the part at Arsenal. He signed from Lille for £2m in 2002 and made 98 appearances in four seasons, but his clumsy style and lack of pace meant he was regarded as a liability by most fans. Not even Igor Stepanovs can take his place on the list.

Richard Wright: Just like Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger has had plenty of problems with shot-stoppers down the years. Remember Alex Manninger, Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski? But pride of place in the hall of goalkeeping infamy must go to the £6 million man, Richard Wright. Seen as the long-term replacement for David Seaman when he arrived in 2001, he lasted one season before being sold to Everton.

Francis Jeffers:  No list of Arsenal flops is complete without a mention of Franny Jeffers, the famous 'fox in the box' who arrived from Everton for a fee of £8 million in 2001. He faced some serious competition in the form of Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord and he never managed to break into the side. He was also hampered by injury and made only four league starts for the Gunners. Wenger's greatest success with the player was getting Charlton to pay £2.6m for him in 2004.

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How about his best signings?? always negativity towards Arsenal.

What a brave keyboard warrior - call other people flops. Bet they all earn 50 times what you do.

Thanks for such a positive and uplifting article. How about you publish a list of all the managers who have a perfect record in the transfer market...

The reason for the negativity is because Monsieur Wenger is always held up as some sort of transfer genius, when in reality he's nothing of the sort.

Very easy to criticize Marouane Chamakh but his start for Arsenal was better than Giroud. He was then dropped and left on the bench rather than being encouraged, he scored in most cup games he played in and contributed greatly in assists. Wenger in all cases you quote tends to have his 'favourites' as opposed to the ability to play and develop.

Alex Manninger was also a quality keeper, nice try.

Arshavin was made a flop by wenger by playing him as a winger, Wenger made Chamakh into another flop he scores 11 goals the dumps him to the reserves/bench great move Wenger these two lost their confidence because of you. Wenger should step down ASAP as manager he has taken Arsenal as far as he can. I'm a Gooner for life.