This week our statistician Josh James takes an in-depth look at the United Colours of Arsenal.

When Ju Young Park played against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night he became the first South Korean ever to represent Arsenal, taking the number of different nationalities who have turned out for the Club to 49.

That list includes the four home nations (England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland) and Republic of Ireland – only counting players who played for the Gunners first-team.

The Club’s first ever overseas player was Dutch goalkeeper Gerry Keyser, who joined Arsenal at the beginning of the 1930/31 season, and went on to make 13 first-team outings. He later played twice for the Dutch national team, making him one of 81 foreign internationals in the Club’s history (74 per cent of Arsenal’s foreign players have senior caps).

Not surprisingly, the vast majority (71 per cent) of Arsenal’s 110 foreign players so far, are European, with Africa (15 per cent) the next most popular continent.

On Tuesday, Ryo Miyaichi became the second Japanese player to wear the red and white (after Junichi Inamoto) taking the number of Asian representatives to three.

Continent by continent (excluding Britain and Ireland)

Behind The Numbers

Currently there are 20 different nationalities represented by the 29 players in the Arsenal first-team squad, with England contributing the most (five). In fact two of them scored on Tuesday, making it the first time two different Englishmen had scored in a game for Arsenal since the 5-1 FA Cup win over Farnborough Town at Highbury on January 25, 2003 (Sol Campbell and Francis Jeffers (2)).

Aside from the home nations, the country with the most Gunners in history is France. Twenty-three French players have played for the first team – 16 of them full internationals.

After France, comes Holland – Oguzhan Ozyakup became the eighth Dutch Gunner on Tuesday. Though it’s worth noting that one of those eight – Dutch-born Nacer Barazite, who played three times for the Arsenal first team – was called up by Morocco for their last recent international friendly, though he didn’t make it onto the pitch.

For the purposes of this list, once a player becomes a full international, that is their nationality, regardless of birthplace. There are various examples of this – Patrick Vieira was born in Senegal yet played for France, while French-born Marouane Chamakh and Armand Traore play with Morocco and Senegal internationals respectively. Grenada-born Brendon Batson represented England at B Level.

For non-internationals, the country of their birth is their nationality (Emmanuel Frimpong is Ghanaian despite being eligible for England still).

Exceptions to this are pre-war players such as Reg Tricker and Charlie Preedy, who were born in India but were British citizens.    

The full list is as follows (not including Britain and Ireland):

FRANCE (23) Remi Garde, Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, Gilles Grimandi, Emmanuel Petit, David Grondin, Thierry Henry, Jeremie Aliadiere, Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord, Pascal Cygan, Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby, William Gallas, Bacary Sagna, Lassana Diarra, Samir Nasri, Mikael Silvestre, Francis Coquelin, Gilles Sunu, Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci
HOLLAND (8) Gerry Keyser, Glenn Helder, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Gio van Bronckhorst, Robin van Persie, Nacer Barazite, Oguzhan Ozyakup
BRAZIL (7) Silvinho, Edu, Juan, Gilberto Silva, Julio Baptista, Denilson, Andre Santos
SPAIN (6) Jose Antonio Reyes, Cesc Fabregas, Manuel Almunia, Fran Merida, Ignasi Miquel, Mikel Arteta
GERMANY (5) Alberto Mendez, Stefan Malz, Moritz Volz, Jens Lehmann, Per Mertesacker
SWEDEN (5) Anders Limpar, Stefan Schwarz, Freddie Ljungberg, Rami Shaaban, Sebastian Larsson
DENMARK (3) John Jensen, Sebastian Svard, Nicklas Bendtner
ICELAND (3) Albert Gudmundsson, Siggi Jonsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason
IVORY COAST (3) Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Gervinho
PORTUGAL (3) Luis Boa Morte, Amaury Bischoff, Rui Fonte
ARGENTINA (2) Nelson Vivas, Fabian Caballero
CAMEROON (2) Lauren, Alexandre Song
CROATIA (2) Davor Suker, Eduardo
CZECH REPUBLIC (2) Michal Papadopulos, Tomas Rosicky
GHANA (2) Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Emmanuel Frimpong
ITALY (2) Arturo Lupoli, Vito Mannone
JAPAN (2) Junichi Inamoto, Ryo Miyaichi
POLAND (2) Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny
SWITZERLAND (2) Philippe Senderos, Johan Djourou
USA (2) Frankie Simek, Danny Karbassiyoon
AUSTRALIA (1) John Kosmina
AUSTRIA (1) Alex Manninger
BELARUS (1) Alexander Hleb
BELGIUM (1) Thomas Vermaelen
DR CONGO (1) Carlin Itonga
ESTONIA (1) Mart Poom
GREECE (1) Stathis Tavlaridis
GUINEA (1) Kaba Diawara
ISRAEL (1) Yossi Benayoun
LATVIA (1) Igors Stepanovs
LIBERIA (1) Christopher Wreh
LIBYA (1) Jehad Muntasser
LITHUANIA (1) Tomas Danilevicius
MEXICO (1) Carlos Vela
MOROCCO (1) Marouane Chamakh
NIGERIA (1) Kanu
NORWAY (1) Pal Lydersen
RUSSIA (1) Andrey Arshavin
SENEGAL (1) Armand Traore
SOUTH AFRICA (1) Daniel Le Roux
SOUTH KOREA (1) Ju Young Park
TOGO (1) Emmanuel Adebayor
UKRAINE (1) Oleg Luzhny
YUGOSLAVIA (1) Vladimir Petrovic

Only 12 (11 per cent) of the Club’s foreign players played for the team before Arsène Wenger’s reign, and the first time Arsenal ever named a completely foreign squad was on February 14, 2005, in a 5-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace at home. The squad in full was: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Clichy, Pires (Fabregas), Edu (Flamini), Vieira, Reyes, Bergkamp (van Persie), Henry. Subs not used: Senderos, Almunia. 

Another interesting milestone came on December 10, 2005 when Arsenal named 11 different nationalities in the starting line-up for the first time, in the Premier League match again Newcastle United.

The team was: Lehmann (Germany), Lauren (Cameroon), Toure (Ivory Coast), Campbell (England), Senderos (Switzerland), Ljungberg (Sweden), Fabregas (Spain), Gilberto (Brazil), Hleb (Belarus), van Persie (Holland), Henry (France).

By contrast, the last time Arsenal named an entirely English XI was in the 1993/94 season. The side George Graham named to face Wimbledon at home on April 19, 1994 was: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Davis, Bould, Adams, Campbell, Wright, Smith, Parlour, Selley. Even the substitute that day, Mark Flatts, is English. The match ended 1-1 with Steve Bould netting.

Arsenal last season by nationality (Premier League)

Behind The Numbers

Behind The Numbers

The Dutch goals last season were all contributed by Robin van Persie – the current club captain. He is the fifth consecutive foreign full-time captain of Arsenal, following three Frenchmen (Vieira, Henry and Gallas) and a Spaniard (Cesc Fabregas).

Beneath the first team squad, there are also a number of younger foreign players, yet to make their senior debut for the Club.

These include Spaniards, Swiss, Brazilians, an Argentinian, a German and a Norwegian. There’s also a full Bolivian International – Samuel Galindo – currently on loan at Gimnastic in Spain. Should he be the next to make his Gunners debut, that will take the number of nations represented to a round 50.

Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.

Nationalities in football can be a grey area, if you think anyone has been left off the list, get in touch with us at and let us know.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
21 Sep 2011