Buying and selling of players forms the basis of club football. Any club that does not balance its books regularly run the risk of accumulating debt, thus resulting in bankruptcy. In their long history, Arsenal have sold a few players for a remarkable amount of money, sometimes against the wishes of the club’s fanbase. In this article, we will look at the top five player sales made by Arsenal, in terms of the amount paid for a player.
#5 Robin Van Persie to Manchester United, 2012 – £27.63m
Van Persie’s decision to move to rival United was largely expected, but for Arsenal fans it was a stark reminder of their status in the modern era. Van Persie won the PL Golden Boot in the 2011/12 season and was Arsenal’s club captain at the time of his move.
It would be unimaginable to think of the captain of Arsenal moving to United in the late 90’s and early 2000s, but the rivalry had cooled off and Arsenal were no more a formidable footballing unit. Van Persie went to United and fulfilled his desire of winning the Premier League.
#4 Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, 2011 – £30.60m
Fabregas was Arsenal’s poster boy in the late 2000s because of his extraordinary feats in the PL at a very young age. At the age of just 24, he was Arsenal’s club captain, but having learnt football in La Masia, Fabregas was keen to go back home. In the summer of 2010 itself, Barcelona bid for Fabregas and Arsenal rejected the bid. In 2011, Barcelona paid £30.60m to acquire his services. Fabregas won the La Liga and Copa del Rey at Barcelona but failed to win the Champions League.
#3 Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, 2018 – £30.60m
One of Arsenal’s best players of the last decade, Sanchez at his peak scored and assisted at will. He soon became a fan favorite after his move from Barcelona due to his versatility and work rate. In the summer of 2017, there were intense speculations about his future since Arsenal missed out on the Champions League.
In January 2018, Manchester United signed Sanchez in a cash plus swap deal involving Mkhitaryan. Sanchez infamously endured a horror run at Old Trafford, which ended with a transfer to Inter Milan.
#2 Nicolas Anelka to Real Madrid, 1999 – £31.50m
Anelka’s move to Madrid is among the top players sales made by Arsenal. As a teenager, Anelka set the Premier League alight by scoring 17 goals in the 1998/99 season. Real Madrid came calling in the summer, and young Anelka did not think twice before joining the Los Blancos.
£31.50m was a large amount of money in 1999 and hence the Spanish media hyped up Anelka and expected a lot out of him. However, he struggled badly amidst all the pressure and represented Real Madrid for just a single season before going back to his boyhood club PSG.
#1 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 2017 – £34.20m
An energetic midfielder with an eye for the spectacular, Chamberlain represented Arsenal for six seasons. Like Sanchez, Arsenal’s failure to qualify for UCL urged him to look elsewhere for an opportunity. His transfer to Liverpool tops the list of player sales made by Arsenal, despite it not being spoken about a lot by fans.
Since joining Liverpool, Oxlade Chamberlain has scored several memorable goals. In his first season at Liverpool, he scored two wonderful outside-the-box goals against Manchester City. But currently, he remains an outcast due to the presence of quality players in Liverpool’s midfield.