The 50 greatest Arsenal players of all time

  • Arsenal are the pride of London
  • The Gunners have a great history of players
  • Here are the 50 greatest Arsenal players of all time
Thierry Henry (R) of Arsenal celebrates
Thierry Henry (R) of Arsenal celebrates / ODD ANDERSEN/GettyImages

Arsenal are an incredibly rich side with great history. Domestically, they have achieved impeccable success. They remain the only side to go an entire Premier League season unbeaten, much to the delight of Arsene Wenger's incredible Arsenal Invincibles side.

That said, even outside of the Invincible era, Arsenal have housed some truly magnificent talent. While they haven't always been huge spenders in the transfer window, they have incredible pull factor to attract some of the best talent in the world. They have their efficient youth system to thank for producing some of the best players in history too.

Taking a look through the club's history archives is a delight worth experiencing. Here is our list of the the 50 greatest Arsenal Players of all time...

The 50 greatest Arsenal players of all time


50. Lauren

It's obvious that this list is filled with greatness, considering an Arsenal Invincible has only just scraped the top fifty. However, Lauren deserves a place in this list, even outside of winning the golden Premier League trophy.

The legendary full-back had a workrate which most players could learn from today. Even before the days of intense training, Lauren would rely on his incredible engine to bomb up and down the flank, making the Invincibles a joy to watch.

Nicolas Anelka, Arsene Wenger, Arsenal
Arsene Wenger and Nicolas Anelka / Getty Images/GettyImages

49. Nicolas Anelka

Nobody can deny that Nicolas Anelka had a stellar career. In fact, if we were judging this list on a players entire career (rather than their time with Arsenal), Anelka would be higher in this list.

However, Nicolas Anelka only played for Arsenal for two years, towards the beginning of his career. He exceeded all expectations but he was sold to Real Madrid in 1999, understandably so considering the talent in the Arsenal team at this time. Still, he won the double with Arsenal, so he will have no regrets.

Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Clive Rose/GettyImages

48. Aaron Ramsey

In terms of a player who lived and breathed Arsenal, not many could top Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman was signed from Cardiff City as a youngster by Arsene Wenger, making a commitment by choosing Arsenal over Man United.

He solidified his status as a club legend in 2014, breaking the trophy draught by scoring in extra time to win the FA Cup final.

Michael Thomas, Arsenal
Michael Thomas / Getty Images/GettyImages

47. Michael Thomas

Scored perhaps the most iconic goal in English football history. A figure of aplomb, Michael Thomas is one of the greatest players to come out of the Arsenal youth academy.

He scored the goal at Anfield to win Arsenal the 1989 First Division title, then won it again 1991 with Arsenal. Ironically, he actually signed for Liverpool from Arsenal in 1991 after winning his second (and final) First Division title.

J A H Hulme, David B N Jack, Jack Lambert
Arsenal FC / J. Gaiger/GettyImages

46. David Jack

For a brief period of time, David Jack was the most expensive player in the world. Herbert Chapman signed Jack for £10,647 and 10 shillings. While it may seem insignificant in today's economy, Jack was the first player to be worth five figures. He then spent six years at Arsenal, winning the First Division three times and the FA Cup once before reitiring in London.

Jens Lehmann, Arsenal
UEFA Champions League: Juventus v Arsenal / Paul Gilham/GettyImages

45. Jens Lehmann

Jens Lehmann is an Arsenal legend, by every definition of the word. The German goalkeeper has represented Arsenal not once but twice. He returned to the club to help out during an injury period, making himself available after originally retiring. Lehmann had nothing to prove, having already been part of the Arsenal Invincibles side, but he loved the club enough to go back on his word.

Santi Cazorla, Arsenal
Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League / Clive Rose/GettyImages

44. Santi Cazorla

Players like Santi Cazorla were enough to inspire an entire generation to fall in love with the beautiful game. A two-time European champion with Spain, Santi Cazorla's technical ability is what stuck out the most. An excellent dribbler of the ball and someone who always carried the ball forward with composure and skill, Cazorla might just be the most underrated Arsenal player of all time.

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

43. Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez left Arsenal on bitter terms as he joined Manchester United but judging him purely for his time with Arsenal, Alexis must be considered among the all-time greats. Particularly in the Emirates Stadium era, the Chilean international is one of the most recognisable figures at Arsenal, winning two FA Cups and inspiring a lacklustre team with his goals and world-class qualities.

George Armstrong, Arsenal
George Armstrong / Express/GettyImages

42. George Armstrong

George Armstrong was Arsenal through and through. When he was picked up by Arsenal in the 1960s, he envisioned himself as a winger. However, he was converted to play on the wing, where he made 500 league appearances for the club, scoring 53 goals. He also won the First Division title in 1971, cementing himself into the history books.

Danny Clapton, Arsenal
Football Player Danny Clapton / Evening Standard/GettyImages

41. Danny Clapton

Danny Clapton is a London-born Arsenal legend. The former winger joined Arsenal in 1953 and went on to make a remarkable 207 league appearances. He became a mainstay in the Arsenal first team, constantly bombing down the flank and being a traditional winger who prided himself in his ability to beat his man and put in a pinpoint cross.

Sammy Nelson, Arsenal
Sammy Nelson Arsenal 1980 / Getty Images/GettyImages

40. Sammy Nelson

Picked up by Arsenal as a teenager, Sammy Nelson spent the majority of his career in North London. He was a product of the youth ranks and spent time devoted to making the first team after signing his first professional contract. With the youth setup, he won the FA Youth Cup, before winning the senior FA Cup later in his career. In total, Nelson made 255 league appearances with Arsenal.

Robin van Persie, Arsenal
Arsenal v Norwich City - Premier League / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

39. Robin van Persie

Arsenal fans hate the mention of Robin van Persie's name but unfortunately, he cannot be erased from history. His impact on Arsenal is well-documented, as he is one of the best players of the Emirates Stadium era. How he left the club aside, the Dutch international did score an impressive 96 Premier League goals for the Gunners.

Gilberto Silva of Arsenal celebrates
Gilberto Silva of Arsenal celebrates / Ben Radford/GettyImages

38. Gilberto Silva

One of the most unfortunate "what if" cases in the sport. Gilberto Silva showed exceptional world-class quality and he honed it under Arsene Wenger. However, injuries plagued his career and arguably prevented him from becoming one of the best midfielders in the world.

Still, he showed exceptional qualities as a defensive midfielder and won the golden Premier League trophy alongside Patrick Vieira.

Arsene Wenger, Kolo Toure
FA Cup Final - Arsenal v Manchester United / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

37. Kolo Toure

Kolo Toure has played for four of the biggest clubs in Great Britain (Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Celtic), yet still he is remembered fondly by all of the clubs. However, he is mostly remembered for his earlier days with Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger took a punt and it paid off. Forming a solid partnership with Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure won THAT Premier League trophy in 2004.

Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal
Chelsea v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Final / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

36. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas is one of the most infamous products of the Arsenal academy. The Spanish midfielder was one of the best players to play under Arsene Wenger. Unfortunately, Arsenal fans had to witness him sign for Chelsea later in his career but this aside, it takes a lot to even be mentioned in the same calibre as Fabregas, who is without a doubt one of the best Arsenal midfielders of all time.

Alex James, Arsenal
Alex James / J. Gaiger/GettyImages

35. Alex James

One of the best Scottish players to ever play for Arsenal, Alex James cemented himself in the history books when he won his fourth First Division title in 1935. He played for the club during Arsenal's most successful and dominant period in their history. He joined Arsenal for the latter stage of his career but he still made a name for himself.

Dennis Bergkamp and Nigel Winterburn argue with referee
Dennis Bergkamp and Nigel Winterburn argue with referee / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

34. Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn is a household name among Arsenal supporters and it's clear to see why. The English full-back had an incredible tenure with Arsenal, spending 13 years with the club and making 440 league appearances. He left the club just before the invincible season but Winterburn still won three league titles (two First Divisions and one Premier League).

Sylvain Wiltord of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the first goal
Sylvain Wiltord of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the first goal / Gary M. Prior/GettyImages

33. Sylvain Wiltord

We mentioned Thomas at the beginning of this article but Wiltord also had a pretty iconic Premier League goal scored. When Arsenal won the league at Old Trafford, it was the legendary striker Sylvain Wiltord who scored the goal to clinch it. In fact, even if you don't recognise him as a player, you'd know him by name courtesy of the legendary commentary.

Brian Talbot, Gary Mabbutt
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur First Division 1985 / Getty Images/GettyImages

32. Brian Talbot

A player who had an incredible work rate and therefore became a phenomenal asset to Arsenal, Brian Talbot simply had to make this list. There are times where had work beats talent when talent isn't working hard enough and Talbot personified this.

In fact, it could be a reason why he won two consecutive FA Cup finals with different teams, scoring for Arsenal in the final against Man United.

Kenny Sansom, Arsenal
Kenny Sansom / Getty Images/GettyImages

31. Kenny Sansom

Kenny Sansom played for a plethora of clubs in England but none will remember him quite as fondly as Arsenal do. He spent the majority of his career at Highbury Stadium, representing Arsenal for eight years. During those eight years, Sansom established himself as a first-team player, helping the Gunners to win the League Cup in 1987.

John Radford
John Radford / Evening Standard/GettyImages

30. John Radford

John Radford is another product of the emphatic Arsenal youth system. He was signed as a youngster in 1962, before signing a professional contract in 1964. He was a versatile forward who could do a job anywhere in the attack.

In total, he made 379 league appearances for Arsenal and won the Football League First Division and FA Cup, then joined West Ham in 1976. Oh, he's also the fourth highest goal-scorer in club history, so that must count for something.

Ted Drake, Arsenal
Ted Drake / Fox Photos/GettyImages

29. Ted Drake

Analysts and stat fanatics will recognise Ted Drake as the leader of the most goals scored in a top flight game. In fact, Drake scored eight goals which could have been nine, had one of his deserved goals not been ruled out. Drake represented Arsenal for nine years, winning two First Division titles and one FA Cup. He unfortunately went onto manage Chelsea, though.

Bob Wilson - Scottish Soccer Goalkeeper
English League Division One - Arsenal V Nottingham Forest / Evening Standard/GettyImages

28. Bob Wilson

Playing for one of the greatest Arsenal teams in history, Bob Wilson completely redefined what it meant to be a goalkeeper for the club and he set a whole new standard which goalies are still expected to meet to this day. A commanding goalkeeper who wasn't afraid to assert dominance over opposing attackers. Wilson made 310 league appearances for Arsenal and retired there in 1974.

Ashley Cole, Bradley Wright-phillips
Middlesbrough v Chelsea / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

27. Ashley Cole

Up next, it's Cashley Cole. I know, Arsenal fans will not like his inclusion in this list but like RVP, history cannot be rewritten. Ashley Cole remains a member of the Arsenal Invincibles team and whether you agree with his decision to join Chelsea or not, he produced so much world-class quality under Arsene Wenger during his years at Highbury Stadium.

Charlie Nicholas, Arsenal
Charlie Nicholas Arsenal New Signing 1983 / Getty Images/GettyImages

26. Charlie Nicholas

Charlie Nicholas was signed by Arsenal from Celtic in 1983. For The Hoops, he was a tremendous young player who had come through the academy. After developing at Celtic, Nicholas joined an Arsenal side managed by Terry Neill. At the time, Nicholas was the most expensive signing from Scotland and he lived up to his price tag, scoring 34 league goals for Arsenal.

Frank McLintock, George Graham, Arsenal
McLintock And Graham / Evening Standard/GettyImages

25. Frank McLintock

One of the early examples in football about never giving up. Frank McLintock did not have the best start to life in Arsenal but he soon turned around his fortunes and became a fan favourite. In many ways, he emobied the club spirit, but not least when he captained Arsenal to a historic double-winning season in 1970/71. In total, the centre back made 314 league appearances for Arsenal.

Lee Dixon of Arsenal
Lee Dixon of Arsenal / Pascal Rondeau/GettyImages

24. Lee Dixon

Part of the incredible team who won the league at Anfield Stadium in 1989, Lee Dixon was a tireless right-back who was constantly bombing up and down the pitch. A trademark player under Arsene Wenger, Dixon won the hearts of Arsenal fan through testing his own heart rate, never taking a moment to rest during the match.

Joe Cole, Martin Keown, Arsenal
Arsenal FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

23. Martin Keown

Martin Keown actually played for Arsenal on two occasions as he was a boyhood Arsenal player who seemingly didn't make his dream. However, when he returned to the club in 1993, Keown did not waste the opportunity again.

Keown was famously a member of the Arsenal Invincibles, despite only playing backup to Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure. He was a fierce character, who fought for the club every time he donned the jersey.

Paul Merson, Arsenal
Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

22. Paul Merson

Now we are getting into the real meat and gravy of Arsenal. Paul Merson is now a household name for his incredible punditry. However, Arsenal fans will remember him for his tenacious spirit and never-say-never attitude on the pitch.

Overcoming addiction, fans recognise Merse as being a true club legend and he won two First Division titles, one FA Cup and one Football League Cup.

Alan Smith, Arsenal
Alan Smith / Getty Images/GettyImages

21. Alan Smith

One of 19 players to score more than 100 goals for Arsenal, so Alan Smith simply has to make this list. Smith won the golden boot in that infamous 1989 season whereby Arsenal won the league at Anfield, with Smith even opening the scoring in the match which finished 2-0. He was a perfect well-rounded striker who had the technical ability and physical advantages to do it all.

Emmanuel Petit
Olympique Lyonnais v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

20. Emmanuel Petit

Emmanuel Petit only stayed with Arsenal for a short while but he is still considered a club legend for his incredible ability. Showing plenty of world-class touches at Arsenal, Petit certainly justified his move to Barcelona. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, they had to see Petit retire at Chelsea but he still had much more success at Arsenal, winning the Premier League and FA Cup double in 1998.

Nwanko Kanu, Birkir	Kristinsson
Nigeria v Iceland: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

19. Nwankwo Kanu

The Nigerian legend Nwankwo Kanu defied all odds at Arsenal. Signed in 1999 from Inter Milan, Kanu was already an established professional but it was definitely with Arsenal where Kanu produced his best football. Known for his incredible stride and shooting ability, Kanu cemented himself into the history books when he scored a hat-trick against Chelsea.

Marc Overmars, Arsenal
Marc Overmars / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

18. Marc Overmars

Marc Overmars was a complete revelation for Arsenal. Having signed for the club in 1997, it was a breath of fresh air to see how seemlessly he had slotted into the team. A wide player who was two-footed and showed the ambition to cut inside, it was almost as if the Dutchman was made for the Premier League. It helped him settle in that he won the double in his debut season.

A portrait of Pat Rice
A portrait of Pat Rice / Pascal Rondeau/GettyImages

17. Pat Rice

Pat Rice is Arsenal through and through. The club legend who was born in Belfast, moved to London as a youngster and obviously he grew attached to London's biggest club. The defender joined the club as a teenager. He was patient as he wasn't first choice at first, but gradually became so. In total, he made 397 league appearances for the club, winning two FA Cups and the First Division.

Ray Parlour, Arsenal

16. Ray Parlour

One of those players who still supports Arsenal to this day, Ray Parlour is certainly a fan favourite among the Gunners faithful. It is clear to see why, given his infectious personality and love for the beautiful game.

He came through the Arsenal youth ranks and broke into the first team in 1992. He had a splendid tenure with Arsenal, which ended as an invincible. A fitting farewell for the three-time Premier League champion.

David Rocastle, Arsenal
David Rocastle / Russell Cheyne/GettyImages

15. David Rocastle

Lewisham-born David Rocky Rocastle is one of the best examples of players to come through the Arsenal academy. Joining the first team in 1985, Rocastle had a marvellous career with Arsenal, before leaving in 1992. He may have represented Man City and Chelsea, but he remains an Arsenal legend for a reason. Indeed, he made 218 league appearances and won the First Division twice.

Pat Jennings
Pat Jennings / Getty Images/GettyImages

14. Pat Jennings

There is something rather poetic about Tottenham being under the illusion that one of their best players of all time was "past his best", only to spend eight more years of his career playing at the highest level with rivals Arsenal. For this alone, Pat Jennings simply has to make the list. As one of the best goalkeepers of all time, Jennings showed incredible longevity.

Arsenal's French forward Thierry Henry (
Arsenal's French forward Thierry Henry ( / ODD ANDERSEN/GettyImages

13. Sol Campbell

The transfer of Sol Campbell from Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal will forever be remembered by the Arsenal faithful and this is primarily because it could never be pulled off today. Imagine one day, completely out of the blue, Arsenal call for a press conference, only to see the Spurs captain come walking out with the Arsenal manager.

In terms of Sol Campbell as a player, his quality was unquestionable. He led the defence of the Invincibles team with pride, forming a formidable partnership with Kolo Toure. He actually won two Premier Leagues for Arsenal, including the double in 2002 and the Invincible season in 2004.

Cliff Bastin, Arsenal
Cliff Bastin / J. Gaiger/GettyImages

12. Cliff Bastin

Until Ian Wright broke his goal-scoring record, Cliff Bastin was the long-time leading goal-scorer for Arsenal. Signed from Exeter City in 1929, Bastin had a terrific 18 year spell with the Gunners, making an impressive 396 appearances across all competitions, scoring 178 goals. In many ways, he is a club legend and his imprint on the club will last forever.

David O'Leary
David O'Leary / Getty Images/GettyImages

11. David O'Leary

Incredibly, David O'Leary made 722 appearances for Arsenal. This is a statistic which is likely to remain forever but it would take some player to beat it. The incredible longevity and love for the game is what David O'Leary has to thank for this incredible record, which remains intact to this day.

O'Leary retired at Leeds United, after winning two First Division titles and two FA Cups at Arsenal.

Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal legend
Sweden v Albania - International Friendly / Linnea Rheborg/GettyImages

10. Freddie Ljungberg

One of the best Swedish players of all time, Freddie Ljungberg is an Arsenal legend by all definitions of the world. He won the Premier League twice with Arsenal, once as an invincible. He even returned to the club to help out with management, filling in as the interim head coach before Mikel Arteta was appointed in 2019. A dazzling winger who knew when to step up for the big occasion.

Charlie George
Charlie George Arsenal 1975 / Getty Images/GettyImages

9. Charlie George

Charlie George cemented himself into the Arsenal history books forever when he scored THAT volley in the FA Cup final against Liverpool. A boyhood Arsenal fan turned a generation of Arsenal fans into admirers during this moment and his iconic celebration will be remembered forever. He also won the Premier League with Arsenal in the same season, the double-winning campaign of 1970/71.

Robert Pires
Arsenal v Leicester City / Sportsphoto/Allstar/GettyImages

8. Robert Pires

Another one of those people who Arsenal fans can't help but love, regardless of their generation. Robert Pires is one of the best wingers Arsenal have ever had and his style and grace combined to make him a timeless fan favourite. Joining from Marseille in 2000, Pires was at Arsenal for six years, winning two Premier Leagues and three FA Cups.

David Seaman, Arsenal
David Seaman / Gary M. Prior/GettyImages

7. David Seaman

Many regard David Seaman as the best English goalkeeper of all time and it's clear to see why. Regardless, he is the best Arsenal goalkeeper of all time, who arguably pulled off the best save of all time. Seaman made 405 league appearances for Arsenal, winning three league titles and four FA Cups. That has to count for something.

Liam Brady
Liam Brady Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers 1979 / Getty Images/GettyImages

6. Liam Brady

In terms of sheer technical ability, not many players can beat Liam Brady. He is one of the best Arsenal players of all time, having begun his career with Arsenal before joining Juventus. He made 235 league appearances as an attacking midfielder and despite leaving Arsenal with just an FA Cup, he set a new standard for naturally gifted playmakers at the club.

Patrick Vieira
Bayern Munich v Arsenal - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 1st Leg / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

5. Patrick Vieira

Without a doubt, Patrick Vieira is the best Arsenal captain of the Premier League era. The legendary midfielder was difficult to define but he is mostly remembered for his tremendous ability to impose danger on the opposing half, striving forward with great dribbling ability an being here, there and everywhere to lend a hand. Without a doubt, he is one of the best Arsenal players in history.

Barclays Asia Trophy 2015 Ticket Launch
Barclays Asia Trophy 2015 Ticket Launch / Charles Pertwee/GettyImages

4. Ian Wright

Definitely the most likeable character in Arsenal history. Wright's continued support for the club and its current players aside, Ian Wright was a remarkable goal-scorer in his day. He was the type of player who could make a goal from nothing and this is the reason why his incredible 185 goals for Arsenal remained the club record until it was broken by a certain individual.

Dennis Bergkamp
Arsenal V Newcastle United, Premier League / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

3. Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp is the greatest technical player in Arsenal history. If you were to drop a ball out of the sky, he would be able to control it like nobody else. Dennis Bergkamp was part of the Arsenal attack for the invincible season and while he wasn't the biggest goal scorer, he provided a lot as the striker, producing many incredible moments and wowing the crowd with his grace.

Tony Adams, David Seaman
Tony Adams and David Seaman 1993 / Getty Images/GettyImages

2. Tony Adams

Defenders do not always get the credit they deserve but it is a testament to Tony Adams that he is recognised for being the incredible player he was, even to this day.

Known by many as "Mr Arsenal", Tony Adams had a tremendous career which spanned across three decades (1980s, 1990s and 2000s), even captaining both Arsenal and England. His four league titles and three FA Cups must stand for something too.

Thierry Henry, Arsenal
Arsenal v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round / Clive Mason/GettyImages

1. Thierry Henry

No surprises here... Without a doubt, the best Arsenal player of all time is Thierry Henry. He is everybody's favourite former Arsenal player and being crafted in bronze outside the Emirates Stadium (after scoring the final goal at Highbury Stadium), he is a household name in North London.

Thierry Henry scored a club-record 228 goals before joining Barcelona. Without a doubt, his most iconic season was the Arsenal invincible season but he was a player to be feared every time he stepped on the pitch. If only they still made them like Thierry.