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5 players who got away from Arsenal

Serge Gnabry blossomed into a world-class winger after leaving Arsenal.
Serge Gnabry blossomed into a world-class winger after leaving Arsenal.
Modified 15 Nov 2020, 13:18 IST

It's not uncommon for players to commence their professional careers at one club and go on to make their name at another. Arsenal have also had quite a few players who found their feet after leaving them.

With 13 league titles to their name - three of them coming in the Premier League era - Arsenal are one of the most successful clubs in English football. Considering their history and pedigree, the London club is able to attract some of the best talents in the game.

Five players who got away from Arsenal

As is the case with other top clubs, not all players have lived up to their expectations at Arsenal due to a plethora of reasons ranging from poor form, inability to adapt to a new club, or at times, being at the right club at the wrong time.

Without further ado, let us have a look at five such Arsenal players, in no particular order, who prospered elsewhere.

#5 Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela

After top-scoring for Mexico in their triumphant Under-17 World Cup in 2005, Carlos Vela arrived at Arsenal to much fanfare, as the London club won the race for the signature of the prodigious striker.

Vela made his Arsenal first-team debut in 2008 but scored a meager 11 goals in 62 games in all competitions. Six of those goals came in his first season at the club, with his hat-trick against Sheffield United eliciting high praise from the then-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"He is naturally gifted, quick, intelligent and with very good technique. So, now you want him to add that combative, determined side that makes the difference. He'll quickly be a world-class striker when he adds that to his game," said Wenger about Vela after that game.

Great things were expected of Vela, as he displayed natural flair, exemplary skill, composure in front of goal and a penchant for a chipped shot. However, things did not pan out that way.

Vela only provided fleeting glimpses of his ability at Arsenal before leaving for Real Sociedad in 2011. Despite consistency not being his forte, the Mexican striker prospered at the La Liga club, scoring 73 goals in 250 appearances in all competitions, leaving Arsenal wondering what might have been.

Still only 31, Vela currently plays in the MLS for Los Angeles FC.


#4 Jeff-Reine Adelaide

Jeff-Reine Adelaide
Jeff-Reine Adelaide

French midfielder Jeff-Reine Adelaide arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2016 but struggled to make an impact at the club during his two-year stint.

During his injury-riddled stay at the club, Adelaide managed only eight appearances before moving back to his native country to join Angers.

Then Arsenal manager was impressed with the attributes of the former French Under-19 international, noting that his younger compatriot had 'all it takes' to excel at the club.

"My belief is that Jeff is ready to play because he has it all in his locker – the strength, the physical power, the technical level. He has to add efficiency to his game – that will come with games as well – but he will have an opportunity to show that I am right about him. And part of a career is to grab your opportunity when you get it."

However, things didn't happen the way Wenger and Adelaide would have envisaged. The midfielder struggled to make an impact at Arsenal but went on to flourish at Angers, albeit on loan.

Following his performances for Angers, Adelaide turned up for pre-season training for the 2018-19 season but was reportedly told by Arsenal that he was surplus to requirements.


Adelaide was signed by Angers that season, and the player went on to play 35 games for his club, scoring three goals, something that could have made Arsenal regret the premature sale of the young midfielder.

β€œIt is true that I would like to speak a little less of Arsenal. I was young. It was complicated. There was so much competition that it was difficult to get into the coach’s lineup. He (Emery) told me that the club did not rely too much on me. I took a blow, but Angers were on the lookout. It was a new chance, a new beginning. The train does not pass often, and I was happy to get back in the right car,” Adelaide, who is now 22, said in a later interview.
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Published 15 Nov 2020, 13:18 IST
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