Arsenal are undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and in European football. The Gunners boast a rich history, particularly domestically, where they have traditionally been a top-four side.
The likes of Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp graced Arsenal with aplomb, helping the club cement itself as one of Europe’s finest.
However, in recent years, Arsenal have struggled to attain that level of success. That has prompted some of the team's bigger stars to either leave in search of silverware, and in some cases, a fat cheque book.
Five players who regret leaving Arsenal:
Exiting the Emirates has worked out for some, including the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie.
However, it has been one of regret for a few others, who left Arsenal in search of greener pastures but saw their careers hit a downward spiral. On that note, let's have a look at five such players who possibly regretted leaving Arsenal in the first place.
#1 Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira cemented his name as arguably the best midfielder in the world during his time with Arsenal. He simply dominated the midfield thanks to his physicality and athleticism, which made him one of the most complete box-to-box midfielders in the game.
Playing with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, Viera would go on to win the Premier League title on three occasions, along with four FA Cup triumphs.
However, the Frenchman opted to leave the Emirates in August 2005, as he put pen to paper on a five-year contract with Juventus.
After an impressive start to life with the Bianconeri, winning the Serie A title, the Calciopoli scandal resulted in the Old Lady stripped of their title and relegated to the Serie B.
Along with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro‡, Gianluca Zambrotta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira quit the Allianz Stadium and moved to Inter Milan.
However, he failed to reach the heights of his Arsenal days, enjoying little success with the Nerazzurri before ending his career with Premier League side Manchester City.
#2 Mathieu Flamini
Mathieu Flamini enjoyed an eye-catching first stint with Arsenal, playing at the centre of the park for the Gunners between 2004 and 2008. He matured into one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League and was even touted to replace Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.
Flamini’s impressive outings attracted interest from top clubs across Europe. He moved on to Serie A giants AC Milan, bringing an end to his four-year stay at the Emirates.
While he enjoyed success trophy-wise, winning the Serie A title in 2010/11, Flamini became a squad player with the Rossoneri, as he was behind Massimo Ambrosini in the club’s pecking order.
After struggling for minutes and regular game-time at AC Milan, Flamini returned to Arsenal for free in August 2014.
However, he returned as a player desperate to salvage his career. Despite instantly playing a key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph that season, Mathieu Flamini was shipped to Crystal Palace after two years.
The 37-year-old eventually hung up his boot in 2019 after struggling to find his feet at Getafe.