After Liverpool made Virgil van Dijk the most expensive defender in history, let’s look at Arsenal’s priciest defensive signings.
Liverpool announced their £75m deal for van Dijk on Wednesday, which they will complete when the window opens on January 1st.
The Gunners haven’t spent nearly that much on a single player, but we thought we’d have a look at just how much Arsenal have spent on their most expensive defenders.
The transfer fees listed are courtesy of transfermarkt.co.uk.
1. Laurent Koscielny – £11.3m
Arsenal signed Koscielny from FC Lorient in 2010. Although he had a tough start to life in North London, the Frenchman went on to become one of the top centre-backs in the league. For such a cheap price, this was certainly a fantastic signing by the Gunners.
2. Gabriel Paulista – £13.5m
A few years after Koscielny, Gabriel joined the club from Villarreal. He had his moments in an Arsenal shirt, but generally never seemed to settle. Eventually, after winning two FA Cups and making 64 appearances, the Brazilian returned to Spain.
3. Mathieu Debuchy – £13.5m
At the time, this seemed like a great signing for a relatively small fee. The Gunners had lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, and Debuchy seemed like a younger and similarly capable option.
However, a long-term injury saw Hector Bellerín take the Frenchman’s place in the team. Although the 32-year-old is still at the club today, he’s never won that place back, and asks to leave every window. Overall, Debuchy is one of those signings that leaves you wondering what could’ve been.
4. Calum Chambers – £18.2m
Chambers joined Arsenal in the same summer as Gabriel and Debuchy. However, right now he looks like the only defensive success story of that window. The Gunners signed the 19-year-old (now 22) from Southampton to play right-back.
Although he started well, the Englishman went off the boil, and ended up on loan at Middlesbrough last season. But he really made the most of that loan, proving himself as a capable centre-back. Since then he’s returned to the fringes of the first team and signed a new contract with Arsenal.
5. Shkodran Mustafi – £36.9m
Mustafi is Arsenal’s most expensive defender by far, costing over twice as much as Chambers. He joined as a World Cup winner and a regular from a top-five league with Valencia, but hasn’t lived up to the hype so far. He’s had some good performances, but has also shown a tendency to dive in, ignoring the dangers of doing so.
Hopefully he can iron out the creases in his game and push on. As long as he doesn’t follow up on his summer request to leave the club, that is.
In a world of £50m transfers for the likes of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker, and £75m centre-backs like van Dijk, Arsenal have only hit the £20m mark once.
With the way they’ve started the season defensively, perhaps Wenger will consider changing that in January.