The worst Arsenal XI of the Arsene Wenger era

Arsene Wenger

While the Frenchman has always been lauded for most of his transfer dealings, there have been some flops along the way.

Arsene Wenger seldom gets it wrong in the transfer market. From the likes of Patrick Vieira to Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg to Robin Van Persie, the Frenchman identifies players like no-one else and had sustained a track record of moulding them into bona fide world-class performers.

That record had wilted away somewhat in the face of more intense recruitment drives from clubs in the modern era, but Wenger's eye for a bargain has never been disputed. 

He has, however, like every other manager unearthed some duds in his spell at the club, as he closes in on 18 years in the Gunners hotseat.

There were plenty to choose from, but here is the worst XI of the Arsene Wenger era.

Goalkeeper: Guillaume Warmuz

The French goalkeeper arrived in the January transfer window of 2003 to act as cover for David Seaman following Rami Shaaban's broken leg but failed to make a single appearance in Arsenal colours, with many at the club believed to have doubted his suitability to the role in the first place.

Current goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano is pushing Warmuz hard for the title, as did the likes of Shaaban, Mart Poom and Richard Wright but the Frenchman gets the nod.

Right-back: Nelson Vivas

A career that was characterised mostly by his endeavours in the League Cup summed up why Vivas finished head and shoulders above everyone.

Oleg Luzhny was another contender for the role but his penalty miss in a defeat to Middlesbrough, when the competition was known as the Worthington Cup, was the catalyst for the end of his career in North London, where he made 69 appearances in total and 40 of those came from the bench.

Centre-back: Igors Stepanovs

The Latvian will forever be remembered for the harrowing 6-1 defeat at Manchester United, as Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham gave him the run-around to inflict an embarrassing defeat on the Gunners.

He had actually started life well at the club, scoring in the 2-1 League Cup defeat to Ipswich Town but the Old Trafford debacle meant fans were never won over and he left after three tough years at the club.

Centre-back: Sebastian Squillaci

The Frenchman had been dubbed the next Martin Keown prior to his arrival at the club but the Frenchman proved anything but.

His cumbersome manner and high-profile errors led to a rather forgetful career at the Emirates Stadium, where Per Mertesacker's arrival pushed him further down the pecking order. Inherited what is now considered the cursed No.18 shirt after fellow defensive catastrophes Pascal Cygan and Mikael Silvestre had both worn it.

Left-back: Armand Traore

The left-back's inadequacies were brutally exposed by the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea during a tough 2008/2009 campaign.

That could have been forgiven, but when he was snapped smiling after United thrashed Arsenal 8-2 in 2011 - particularly after a woeful display - the knives were out and he soon departed.

Right-midfielder: Stefan Malz

The Austrian arrived from TSV 1860 Munich as something of an unknown quantity and left as precisely that, having failed to make any sort of impression during his spell in North London.

Malz made just eight appearances, but did score two goals in that time against Preston North End in the League Cup and Newcastle United on the final day of the 1999/2000 league season.

Centre-midfielder: Alberto Mendez

The German midfield man, of Spanish descent, was an even stranger acquisition, with Arsenal plucking him from German non-league obscurity.

Left SC Feucht for a five-year spell with the Gunners which produced just 11 appearances, one goal and precious little else.

Centre-midfielder: Junichi Inamoto - The Japanese midfielder arrived as part of five signings ahead of the 2001/2002 season, with four of them turning out to be huge flops. The other, Sol Campbell would go on to become a Gunners legend.

Inamoto arrived from Gamba Osaka for £3.5m but made just four appearances and Arsenal fans felt his signing was more of a marketing ploy to reach out to Asian fans than for any tangible footballing ability, with the midfielder way out of his comfort zone in such an illustrious midfield.

Left-midfielder: Amaury Bischoff

Another strange signing and one that was entirely left-field from Wenger, who himself admitted that he was taking a gamble on the midfielder, who had a chequered injury record.

It failed to ease enough to convince Wenger of his worth and the Portuguese was restricted largely to reserve-team outings. He made just four first-team appearances in all.

Striker: Kaba Diawara

Arrived with a less-than-impressive CV and failed to add to it during a miserable season-long stay in the capital.

He scored no goals for the club and looked completely out of his depth at a side challenging Manchester United for domestic supremacy in the Premier League.

Striker: Francis Jeffers

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The 'fox in the box' as he was labelled, Jeffers' Arsenal career was a complete and utter disaster from start to finish and was one of Wenger's most expensive flops.

At £8m, Everton were laughing their way to the bank having offloaded a future England international who had done well for the Toffees but was a laughing stock during his time at Highbury, proving out of keeping with the likes of the current striking roster in Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord.

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