Where are they now? Arsène Wenger’s most obscure signatures at Arsenal

When Arsène Wenger arrived at Arsenal in October 1996, it didn’t take long for the Frenchman to demonstrate his excellent knowledge of the European transfer market.

In their first full season, the north London club won the double after bringing in Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars to name a few.

His ability to identify talents that may not necessarily have reached their potential at the time, coupled with David Dein’s negotiating skills, enabled Arsenal to challenge Manchester United for the Premier League title – winning it three times in seven seasons.

However, for all the stars Wenger brought to the club, there have been many who did not get the grade.. Here, 90 mins remembers ten of the most “obscure” signatures that have ever made it to North London and takes a look at where they ended up.

Bischoff in action for the Gunners against Cardiff City in the FA Cup
Bischoff in action for the Gunners against Cardiff City in the FA Cup | Phil Cole / Getty Images

Bischoff was a former Portugal-born Portuguese Under-21 international who was signed by Arsenal from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2008.

He has only made four appearances for the north London club and, having left on a free transfer to join Academica Coimbra just a year later, the 33-year-old is currently playing for Bahlinger SC in the German fourth tier.

Skulason went to the 2018 World Cup with Iceland but did not play
Skulason went to the 2018 World Cup with Iceland but did not play | JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / Getty Images

Skulason arrived in north London from Icelandic club Fylkir in 2001 but was sent back to his former club on loan twice before eventually signing for Brentford.

He has only appeared once for Arsene Wenger’s side, so his entire Arsenal career was only 35 minutes into the game. After spending periods in Turkey, Sweden and Belgium, he is back in Fylkir, aged 37.

Ryo Miyaichi also represented Bolton and Wigan
Ryo Miyaichi also represented Bolton and Wigan | Michael Regan / Getty Images

At the time, Miyaichi was hailed as a Japanese prodigy, but looking back we can all agree that he wasn’t even close to being good enough to be successful at Arsenal.

He was part of the Gunners’ FA Cup winning squad in 2014 and competed four times for Wigan when they won it the year before.

Now with FC St. Pauli second in Germany, he has yet to make an appearance this season due to injury.

Lupoli only played nine times for Arsenal before leaving for Fiorentina
Lupoli only played nine times for Arsenal before leaving for Fiorentina | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Lupoli showed signs of potential, but sadly he never came to fruition. In nine appearances for Arsenal, he has managed three goals and has become a bit of a journeyman after his departure.

Currently, the 33-year-old center-forward plays for Montegiorgio in the Italian fourth row – he’s a far cry from the heights he once threatened to reach.

Malz joined the Gunners at 27, but his Arsenal career was short-lived
Malz joined the Gunners at 27 but his Arsenal career was short-lived | Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

The Highbury club paid over £ 1million to bring Malz to the 1860 Munich club in 1999. Signed at the age of 27, he returned to Germany within two years after having had very little impact in London.

Despite being a left-back he’s managed two goals in 14 appearances, but considering he’s only played six times in the Premier League, you could be forgiven for thinking he was a bit of a flop.

Warmuz signed in 2003 by RC Lens in France
Warmuz signed in 2003 at RC Lens in France | PHILIPPE HUGUEN / Getty Images

French goalkeeper Warmuz has had a great career in his native country, appearing in Lens no less than 407 times. He also had spells at Monaco and Borussia Dortmund.

From Arsenal’s perspective, however, it was a completely unnecessary signing.

Warmuz played for the Gunners a total of zero times. Now retired, the 50-year-old played his last role in football as manager of FC Montceau Bourgogne.

Chu-young Park was named 2011 Asian XI Best
Chu-young Park named 2011 Asian XI Best | Julian Finney / Getty Images

Park has made just seven first-team appearances for Arsenal, scoring his only goal for the club in the League Cup.

Having joined Monaco for just under £ 6million, it’s safe to say that Arsenal certainly didn’t get their money’s worth on the pitch from the Korean.

Igor stepanovs
Igor Stepanovs | Ben Radford / Getty Images

The great Latvian defender Stepanovs has played 100 times for his country during his career.

Although he leads the way here when it comes to first-team appearances for Arsenal with 31, he is one of the many sub-standard center-backs Wenger brought to the club and often laughed at.

At 45, Stepanovs is now a coach in the Maldives.


Asano has joined Arsenal from the Japanese side of Sanfrecce Hiroshima in a deal worth £ 3.6million.

He was sold to Partizan Belgrade in 2019 for just under £ 1million and hasn’t made a single appearance for the Gunners. It didn’t work for him in London, but so far this season he has scored ten goals in 18 league appearances.

Botelho signed for Arsenal from Figueirense in 2007
Botelho signed for Arsenal from Figueirense in 2007 | MB Media / Getty Images

Botelho has signed for the Gunners in a deal worth £ 1.08million but is another who has never made a single appearance in Arsenal’s colors.

After several loan spells in Spain, the left-back has returned to his native Brazil and has been without a club since 2019 when he was just 31 years old.