Arsenal's All-Time Best 11 Foreign Players

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIApril 26, 2013

Arsenal's All-Time Best 11 Foreign Players

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    Presenting a best 11 

    Arsenal side is easy enough when looking at the quality of certain foreign players to don the famous jersey.

    In recent times, Arsenal's squad has been made up of quite a number of foreign players, and these players have all played key roles for the Gunners.

    Still, there are legends within the club that not even these players can surpass, and it is they who make up the majority of this best eleven foreign squad.

    Since Arsenal is an English club, we'll also count players born in other British countries as foreign.

    We'll set this best eleven up by replicating the Gunners' current 4-2-3-1 formation. There'll also be a ranking for each player on their slide to judge the best-ever foreign player.

    We'll introduce a substitutes and reserves list as well, but there are a few things that set the starting eleven apart.

    The length of their Arsenal career, their trophy-haul with the Gunners, and, of course, their skill compared to the other foreign players in their position.

    There's no mistaking that all the players on this list, the substitutes and reserves as well, contributed something of worth to the Gunners' cause.

    The best eleven are a formidable group though, so click through to find out who are the Gunners' best 11 foreign players.

Substitutes and Reserves

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    In a list like this, these are our honorable mentions. We won't lump all of these guys together into one big list though.

    The substitutes are those who just missed out on the starting eleven, or best eleven, and would certainly make an impact off the bench.

    The reserves provide depth.


    Jens Lehmann(Germany)

    Bacary Sagna(France)

    William Gallas(France)

    Gilberto Silva(Brazil)

    Cesc Fabregas(Spain)


    Marc Overmars(Netherlands)



    Thomas Vermaelen(Belgium)

    Gilles Grimandi(France)

    Emmanuel Petit(France)


    Tomas Rosicky(Czech Republic)

    Sylvain Wiltord(France)

    Alex James(Scotland)

    Robin Van Persie(Netherlands)

Goalkeeper: Pat Jennings

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    Country: Northern Ireland

    Ranking: 5

    Pat Jennings' career at Arsenal spanned a period of eight years, and he gained a solo FA Cup victory to his credit.

    While that may not be as many trophies as his substitute, Jens Lehmann, the Northern Irishman surpasses the German in the skills he brought to the position.

    He is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all times thanks to longevity of his career and the attributes he possessed(via

    Calm and assured, Jennings was blessed with a positional sense which meant he barely needed to resort to the spectacular. He was simply in the right place at the right time to pluck crosses out of the air or push shots aside. Jennings was a master of the one-on-one, standing up long enough to narrow the angle and make things as difficult as possible for onrushing strikers.

    Jennings is arguably the Gunners' best keeper ever, with Englishman David Seaman also vying for that crown.

Right Back: Pat Rice

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    Country: Northern Ireland

    Ranking: 8

    Pat Rice has the longest Arsenal career of anyone on this list, with 13 years on the pitch and more than twice as much off.

    The Northern Irish right-back picked up three trophies with the club, captaining the side the side to an FA Cup victory in over Manchester United in 1979 (via

    He was a constant presence in the position throughout his time at the club.

Central Defender: Kolo Toure

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    Country: Ivory Coast

    Ranking: 11

    Kolo Toure gets this role in the squad thanks to David O'Leary being born in London. 

    The Ivory Coast defender was still an important player for Arsenal during his seven years of service, and he picked up three trophies during that time.

    Toure progressed into one of the best defenders in the Premier League during his time at the club, using his pace and tackling to prove a difficult opponent to beat.

    He was part of two excellent defensive partnerships during his time at the club.

    He played alongside Sol Campbell during the "Invincibles" season, and helped the club amass a competition-record 10 consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League (via 

Central Defender: Frank McLintock

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    Country: Scotland

    Ranking: 7

    After nine seasons, three trophies, and a stint as the club-captain, McLintock cemented himself as one of the best foreigners to play for the club.

    It took some time, and a change in position, for Frank McLintock to make his mark at Arsenal, though.

    McLintock joined the club as a wing-half and performed tirelessly, but it was the move to central defense that helped him flourish(via 

    He was a constant first-team selection throughout his time as a Gunner, and led the club to its first European title as well as their first League and Cup double.

Left Back: Lauren

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    Country: Cameroon

    Ranking: 10

    Lauren's six year career at Arsenal saw him win five trophies, seven if you count two from the Community Shield.

    The Cameroonian right-back was a consistent, reliable presence for the Gunners in defense, and made the departure of Lee Dixon quite bearable.

    He's here as a left-back in this formation as he was versatile enough to play in this position, and when it came to him versus the likes of Gael Clichy, he won out.

    He was an important part of the "Invincibles" squad, and for good reason.

    Tough in the tackle, committed and focused, Lauren brought a quality to the position that few have lived up to since.

Central Midfield: Patrick Vieira

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    Country: France

    Ranking: 2

    Nine years of dominating midfield play produced a player only second to one on this list. 

    Patrick Vieira left a mark on Arsenal that few others did, and he did it with style, power and composure.

    The French midfielder picked up seven trophies, 11 if you consider the Community Shield, and was an integral component in winning each title.

    No player in an Arsenal shirt could match mixture of graft and craft that Vieira had, and his influence at the club was immense.

Central Midfield: Liam Brady

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    Country: Ireland

    Ranking: 6

    A lack of silverware is what has Liam Brady so low on this list, but considering the company he's still pretty well-placed.

    The Irish midfielder was a graceful as they come in midfield, and spent seven seasons mesmerizing the Arsenal faithful with his skills.

    Brady was voted as the eighth-greatest player in Arsenal history(via

Right Wing: Freddie Ljungberg

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    Country: Sweden

    Ranking: 9

    Freddie Ljungberg's nine-year career at Arsenal started off with a bang, and produced tons of entertainment thereafter.

    The Swedish midfielder's versatility, energy and skill made him a constant threat to the opposition, and he chipped in with many vital goals during his Arsenal career.

    Ljungberg picked up five trophies during his time at the club, and will long be remembered as legend for the club.

Attacking Midfield/Deep-Lying Forward: Dennis Bergkamp

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    Country: Netherlands

    Ranking: 3

    The majestic play that Dennis Bergkamp brought to Arsenal in his nine years at the club is almost without equal.

    The Dutch attacker linked up first with Ian Wright and then with Thierry Henry to torture opposition defenses week in and week out.

    Whether he was creating goals, or scoring magnificent ones, Bergkamp produced fantastic football in an Arsenal shirt.

Left Wing: Robert Pires

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    Country: France

    Ranking: 4

    Robert Pires has the shortest stint at the club on this list and that is one piece of evidence of his huge impact.

    In six seasons, Pires scored goals a plenty, and many of them important, and waltzed past defenders with his skills and pace.

    He picked up five trophies, and his telepathic partnership with Thierry Henry proved a nightmare for the opposition.

Forward: Thierry Henry

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    Country: France

    Ranking: 1

    At his peak, Thierry Henry was arguably the best player in the world.

    Arsenal fans are thankful that they've seen the Frenchman's best days, as he provided many a magical moment in the famous shirt.

    Eight seasons and the club produced five trophies, and a title as the all-time leading goal-scorer for the club.

    Players who don the No. 14 jersey have plenty to live up to.