Arsenal may not have hit the heights of previous Premier League seasons in recent years but they have still managed to attract several high-quality players.

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2020.
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang runs with the ball on March 7, 2020. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

In fact, the last decade has witnessed some incredible talent join Arsenal to play at the Emirates Stadium. Fans of the Gunners may not have particularly enjoyed the last 10 years in terms of trophies won but they have still been able to watch some great players.

Beginning with players who are currently at the club, striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be high up the list when discussing the best Arsenal signings of the past decade. The Gabon international joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 for a then-club-record fee, reported to be £56 million. He has a tremendous goalscoring record for Arsenal, netting 49 goals in just 75 Premier League appearances for the Gunners. Aubameyang is known for his pace but he also boasts a fantastic finishing ability which is being witnessed in the Premier League over the past two seasons.

In the 2018/19 campaign, Aubameyang finished the season as the joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League with 22 goals to his name. He shared the Golden Boot with fellow African players Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane of Liverpool. However, considering where Arsenal finished in the Premier League that season there is no doubt Aubameyang did superbly to score that number of goals. If it were not for the striker, who knows where Arsenal would have finished in the Premier League?

As things stand in the current campaign, only one player is above Aubameyang in the top goalscorer chart. Should the season come to a full conclusion, there is every chance that Aubameyang will finish as the Premier League top goal scorer for the second season in succession. Only Thierry Henry has managed that feat in Arsenal colours so it would be a tremendous achievement and it is clear Aubameyang is one of Arsenal’s best signings of the last decade.

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Moving on and we come to an individual has received plenty of criticism since his move to Arsenal yet has also delivered some excellent performances for the team. His name is Mesut Ozil and he arrived at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid in a deal believed to be worth around £42.5 million. There was great excitement over the signing of a player who finished the 2012 European Championship as the joint-highest assist provider and was named in the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament. Ozil also played 120 minutes of the 2014 World Cup final which Germany went on to win, so this is a player who has tasted great success in his career.

Ozil has come under increasing pressure for his performances as the years have gone by but he has produced many moments of magic in an Arsenal shirt. When at his best, Ozil makes the game look easy but it is this seemingly laidback approach which has led to much of the recent criticism being thrown his way. In 2015/16, he finished with 8 goals and 20 assists in all club competitions, which won him the Arsenal Player of the Season award. Ozil also finished with 12 goals and 13 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions the following season and this contribution plus individual moments of brilliance make him one of the top Arsenal signings of the last decade.

From one midfielder to another and we come to Santi Cazorla. When he arrived at Arsenal from Malaga in 2012 for £15 million, Cazorla came to the Premier League as an attacking wide midfield player. However, he made his name in an Arsenal shirt as a central midfielder. If it was not for a terrible Achilles injury, there is every chance that the Spanish international would be at the Emirates Stadium today. He is still doing the business for Villarreal in La Liga and has also recently earned a recall to the Spain national team.

Arsenal may not have won the Premier League during his time at the club but Cazorla did help them to two FA Cups and won the Arsenal Player of the Season award in 2012/13, which was his first season in the team. Both Cazorla and the Arsenal fans are hoping he will return to have a proper send-off, having been unable to do so due to the nasty injury he sustained before leaving the club.

One of the main areas of criticism aimed at the Arsenal team over the last 10 years has been the defence. If there is one man who can hold his head high during that time, it is Laurent Koscielny. The central defender joined Arsenal from French club Lorient in 2010 for £8.5 million. He was at the club for nine years and during that time played 353 games. While many defenders came and went during this period, Koscielny was the man who remained. In terms of the transfer fee, Koscielny was a bargain, and during his time with the Gunners, he developed into a regular centre back for the French international team. His departure from the club in 2019 was very strange, especially given the amount of time Koscielny had been at Arsenal. Even taking the style of his departure into consideration, he is definitely one of the best Arsenal signings of the last decade.

Another player who left the club recently is Alexis Sanchez. The Chile international moved to Manchester United and previously played for Barcelona but there is no doubt where he was at his best and that was the Emirates Stadium. Sanchez was often unplayable when in his prime for Arsenal having made a £31.7 million move from Spain.

During his debut season, Sanchez scored in the 2015 FA Cup Final and that goal took his tally to 25 in all competitions for the campaign. Not only did he help Arsenal to win the FA Cup but Sanchez also won the Arsenal’s Player of the Year award. In the 2015/16 season, Sanchez scored 13 goals and made 5 assists in the Premier League plus netted 3 times and had 5 assists in 7 Champions League matches. He won Arsenal’s Player of the Season award for 2016/17 and scored 30 goals in all competitions, becoming the first player since Robin van Persie in 2011/12 to score more than 20 goals in the league for Arsenal. Sanchez may have left Arsenal to join one of their biggest rivals but the fans can rejoice in the fact that he played the best football of his career in an Arsenal shirt.

Moving back to the defence, albeit in a more offensive capacity, and we come to another player who remains at the club in Hector Bellerin. The Spanish full-back joined Arsenal from Barcelona in 2011 and signed his first professional contract the following year. Bellerin was only 16 years of age when he made the move to the Premier League and had never played for the Barcelona first team. He made his competitive debut for Arsenal, replacing Mikel Arteta in a Capital One Cup victory over West Bromwich Albion. He made his first appearance in the Champions League on 16 September 2014 in a 2–0 defeat away to Borussia Dortmund but that was only the beginning.

Perhaps the one thing that stands out when watching Bellerin play is the athleticism and pace he possesses. He can play up and down the right flank for 90 minutes and is just as comfortable in the opposition penalty area as he is defending in his own. At the time of writing, Bellerin has made 195 appearances for Arsenal, 151 of which have come in the Premier League. He has yet to really break through and make the right-back position his own in the Spanish national team, but at the age of 25, there is still plenty of time remaining for that to happen. Only Mesut Ozil of the current players at Arsenal has made more appearances for the club, and that says a lot for a player who has his best years still to come.

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