Arsenal: Best foreign XI under Arsene Wenger
We take a look at Arsene Wenger's greatest XI of foreign stars
Arsenal are a club with a rich history and players from foreign shores have contributed greatly to the English club’s past successes.
Arsene Wenger played a major role in recruiting and moulding some of these players into the world class acts they eventually became. The Frenchman didn’t go unrewarded for his trouble either as the players repaid him by taking the club to great heights and a brimming trophy cabinet to prove it.
Here follows a list of who we think deserves a ‘starting’ spot in Wenger’s best foreign XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann
Lehmann is arguably one of Arsenal’s best keepers ever. He was part of Arsene Wenger’s famous Invincibles who didn’t lose a game for an entire season. He also kept a record number of clean sheets of 10 consecutive Champions League games while at Arsenal.
The Cameroonian right back was also a member of Wenger’s Invincibles. He arrived at the club in 2000 and was an integral part of the squad until 2005 as he suffered a knee injury in 2006 which kept him out for a year and Wenger never called on him again. Nevertheless, Lauren is one of the best fullbacks in Arsenal’s recent history.
Centre-back: Kolo Toure
The Ivory Coast international provided seven years of quality service for Arsenal. The defender won three trophies during his spell at the club and had a brilliant mind for defensive organising and positioning. His size and speed was always an intimidating presence at the back.
Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny
A controversial choice as the Frenchman has only been at the Emirates for a short while, but I feel Koscielny is one of Arsenal’s best defenders in recent times and he improves assets of his play in every game he starts. He is one of the quickest centre backs in the league and the France international’s positioning has improved immensely. He shows incredible commitment and passion for the club and is set to become one of Wenger’s foreign greats.
Left-back: Gael Clichy
The Frenchman played understudy to and eventually became successor of Ashley Cole in the left back position for Arsenal. Clichy actually made more appearances for the club than his famous predecessor with 256 games in total. He wasn’t a goal-scoring machine but his defensive displays were always solid and consistent and he became a good crosser of the ball. Following Kolo Toure, Clichy made the big-money move to Manchester City in the summer of 2011.
Centre-midfield: Patrick Vieira
Vieira will always be remembered as an Arsenal legend. His nine years at the club saw him play a major part in filling the cabinet with seven trophies: three Premier League titles – one as part of the Invincibles – and four FA Cups. He absolutely dominated the midfield and inspired fear in opponents.
Central-midfield: Gilberto Silva
The Brazilian is also one of Arsenal’s greatest ever. After winning the 2002 World Cup with Brazil he moved to Arsenal and became a regular feature of Arsenal’s midfield. He famously scored the first goal at the Emirates and also scored Arsenal’s fastest ever goal in just 20 seconds in a Champions League fixture against PSV.
Right-wing: Freddie Ljungberg
Ljungberg is another absolute Gunners legend. The Swede’s pace, energy, skill and attacking prowess tormented opposition defences and he scored many exciting and unforgettable goals for the club. He won five trophies during his nine years at the club and will go down in the history books as one of Arsenal’s greatest.
Deep-lying forward: Dennis Bergkamp
The best clubs in the world feared the Dutchman in an Arsenal shirt. He formed unstoppable partnerships first with Ian Wright and later with Thierry Henry. His nine years with the Gunners saw him produce impeccable creativity and even greater goals. Bergkamp played a huge role in Arsenal’s invincible season.
Left-wing: Robert Pires
During Pires’ six seasons at the club the Frenchman made a tremendous impact in an Arsenal shirt. His pace and trickery made him a threat to the best of defenders and his understanding with Henry made the pair near impossible to defend.
Striker: Thierry Henry
This man is arguably Arsenal’s greatest player of all time. Wenger did an outstanding job in recruiting and grooming his young compatriot into one of the deadliest strikers the world has ever seen. Henry seemed to float past defenders, scoring goals almost at will. Henry is definitely Wenger’s greatest foreign product of his coaching and mentoring career.
Robin van Persie
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