Arsenal has a rich history as one of the most prestigious clubs in English football. No other club has won as many FA Cups, and they also have a long list of league titles that put them in the top three in the country for major trophies won. Of course, you can’t find that type of success without having a lot of great talent.
With that said, there are a lot of players in Arsenal’s history to pick from when narrowing it down to the best of the best. Still, we were able to cut it down to just the top five players. Before we begin the list, some of the players who just missed the cut (but are still great) include Patrick Vieira, Liam Brady, David Seaman, Pat Jennings, Charlie George, and David O’Leary.
The first player on the list hails from France as Robert Pires was born in Reims where he started his youth career. After joining the Metz program in 1992, he made his professional debut with the team the following year and remained there for another five. After a two-year stint in Marseille, Pires made his way to Arsenal, where he made over 190 appearances between 2000 and 2006.
Pires was able to help Arsenal win the Premier League twice in three seasons during the early 2000s, as well as the FA Cup in 2003 and 2005. Pires was the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2001-02, as well, and part of the 100 greatest footballs ever by none other than Pele.
Though better known these days as a television analyst, Ian Wright enjoyed a fine career as a player from 1985 to 2000. Wright got his start with Greenwich Borough before making his way to Crystal Palace for six years, scoring 90 goals in the process. Wright then joined Arsenal in 1991, sticking around for the majority of the decade before wrapping up his career with four short stints around the United Kingdom.
Wright helped propel Arsenal to the Premier League title in 1998, and the club also won the FA Cup twice during his tenure to go along with the 1993 Football League Cup and 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup. Wright is second all-time in scoring for Arsenal with 185 goals, putting him seven ahead of Cliff Bastin.
It can be quite rare for a big-time footballer to spend their entire career with one club, but that’s just what Tony Adams did. At the start of the 1980s, Adams joined Arsenal’s youth program, and three years later he was called up to the senior squad. Adams was just one year shy of two decades of service with Arsenal, making over 500 appearances in the process. After retiring in 2002, Adams became a manager for the likes of Wycombe Wanderers and Portsmouth.
Arsenal won four top league titles with Adams, two of which were in the First Division while the other two came in the Premier League. Adams’s squads also won the FA Cup three times and the Football League Cup twice. Adams had 672 appearances, which is second all-time in club history behind only David O’Leary.
The only Dutchman on the list is Dennis Bergkamp, who our number one star said was the best footballer that he’s ever played with. Bergkamp made his professional debut in 1986 with Ajax where he became a legend with the club, then spent more than 50 matches with Inter Milan in the mid-1990s. In 1995, Bergkamp had a second legendary run, this time with Arsenal for over a decade.
With Bergkamp, Arsenal won the Premier League three times between 1998 and 2004 while adding another four FA Cup titles. Bergkamp finished in the top three of Ballon d’Or voting twice and scored 87 times during his Arsenal career. In 2021, he was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
It should come as no surprise that the number one player in Arsenal’s history is Thierry Henry, who at one point was considered among the best players in the world. Henry’s professional career began with Monaco, and he then spent a brief stint with Juventus before spending eight years with Arsenal, his longest tenure as a player.
Surprisingly, Arsenal never won the UEFA Champions League with Henry, but they came very close. They did still win the Premier League and FA Cup twice while Henry set several club records. No other player has come close to scoring as many goals as Henry, as his 228 is more than 40 ahead of second place. What makes it more impressive is that Henry still finished more than 100 matches short of appearing in the top 10 of most appearances.