Arsene Wenger has a reported £100m transfer kitty, but before he gets to spending it, he may want to take a moment to review where he has got things wrong in the past...
1. Francis Jeffers
Signed from Everton for £8m in 2001, Jeffers was famously hailed as the 'fox in the box' on his arrival at Arsenal. Two years and just six goals later he returned to Everton days after making his most memorable contribution to the Gunners cause when he received a red card card for kicking out at Phil Neville during the Community Shield. It probably felt like a low point at the time but in retrospect Jeffers' career was never that good again.
Lesson - Don't be fooled by the hype that surrounds any young English player who has had half a good season.
2. Richard Wright
When Wright arrived in the same summer as Jeffers he was seen as the long-term successor to David Seaman in both the Arsenal and England teams. By the end of the season, in which his most noteworthy contribution was punching the ball in to his own net during a 4-2 home defeat to Charlton, he had slipped behind Stuart Taylor to third choice at Arsenal. Promptly shipped off to Everton, Wright's career never really fully recovered and, though he has somehow spent the last two seasons earning his living at Manchester City, he has yet to make an appearance for the Blues.
Lesson - Don't go splashing big money on young East Anglian goalkeepers on the fringes of the England squad.
3. Andrey Arshavin
Arshavin was Wenger's first real vanity purchase; a solution to a problem that didn't exist. He was little more than a shiny bauble designed to distract the Arsenal fans from what was becoming, by their standards, another disappointing season. The plan worked for about six months but, by the start of the following campaign, Arshavin was struggling to hold down a place in the starting line-up.
After that, instead of being a distraction for fans' frustrations, he became the most potent symbol of them. He hung around for four years, each one less productive than the last, before eventually heading back to Zenit St Petersburg a shadow of the man he used to be.
Lesson - Whatever problems Arsenal may have, a shortage of quick footed, tidy, clever attacking midfielders isn't one of them.
Gervinho may have suspected that his move to Arsenal might not turn out as well as hoped when he was sent off on his debut against Newcastle lightly waving a couple of his fingers near Joey Barton's face. Despite occasional flourishes he was never able to impose himself on the first XI, always caught between the team's need for a striker to support Robin van Persie and his own natural inclination to stay out wide.
Gervinho is currently bucking the trend for Arsenal flops by having a career revival with Roma and has been linked with a number of Europe's top clubs this summer. One that got away perhaps?
Lesson - Henry was a one off. If you need a striker, buy a striker, not a winger.
5. Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos and Park Chu-Young
Anyone who's left it to Christmas Eve to buy all their presents will sympathise with Wenger's late burst of activity at the end of the 2011 transfer window. A shaky start to the season, including a humbling 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford, left Wenger under serious pressure to improve the squad before the window closed.
Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker improved the quality but these three only improved the quantity. In fairness, Benayoun only arrived on a season loan and so was a low risk, if ultimately low reward too. At £6m Santos was a more expensive mistake who spent the majority of his Arsenal appearances finding new ways to give the ball away and play the opposition onside.
It's much harder to pinpoint exactly what went wrong with Park as Wenger never let him near the first team. Despite a failed spell with Watford on loan he has made the cut for the South Korean World Cup squad. Just don't expect them to score many goals.
Lesson - Try and get your shopping done before the shelves are empty.
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