5 players who ruined their career by leaving Arsenal

Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League
Manchester City v Arsenal - Premier League
Nikhilraj A

Earlier this week, Arsene Wenger issued a statement saying that he decided to step down from managerial duties at the end of the season.

He has been at the helm at Arsenal for 22 years, and during that period, Arsenal won 3 Premier League titles, 7 FA cups and reached the final of the Champions League once.

Wenger is famous for his knack to bring in young players and make them exceptional footballers over time. However, after consistently failing to win the League title, there has been an increasing trend among Arsenal players to leave Emirates in search of silverware.

As a result, the Gunners have lost many outstanding players and are still struggling to fill the void left by them.

Out of the many who left Arsenal, to chase money or dreams, a few couldn't attain both. They ended up sacrificing their career in the shrine of ambition.

Here are five Arsenal players who left Arsenal and are probably regretting the decision as it ended up shattering their career.

#5 Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal v West Ham x
Arsenal v West Ham x

The World Cup-winning Frenchman joined Arsenal from Monaco in 1997. Wenger was a huge fan of Petit and they had worked together during the former's successful spell at Monaco.

Petit enjoyed a successful career at Arsenal, where he was paired with his international teammate Patrick Vieira, in the center of midfield. He appeared in 85 games for Arsenal over the course of three years and scored 9 goals in the process.

He moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2000 in search of greater challenges. A string of injuries and poor performances haunted the French international and he was often played out of position.

Following his difficult spell with the Catalans, he came back to the Premier League but this time as a Chelsea player. After spending three unsuccessful seasons with the Blues, he finally retired in 2005.

#4 Alex Song

Kitchee FC v Arsenal FC
Alex Song

After the departure of Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva, Arsenal needed someone to step in and fill the void left by them. Alex Song, the strong and athletic Cameroonian joined Arsenal at the age of 18, slotted into that role effortlessly.

His playing style was intense, making well-timed tackles and well-read interceptions. As the years progressed, he started developing a taste for defense-splitting through balls and cheeky lobs, too.

In the 2011-12 season, which was undoubtedly his best in the red of Arsenal, he formed a formidable partnership with Van Persie and bagged 13 assists and a goal which is an impressive statistics for a defensive midfielder.

By the end of the season, Barcelona came calling and they snatched him from Arsenal for €19m. However, in a midfield filled with exceptional talents, he found it difficult to break into the first team. He played second fiddle to Busquets and sometimes even played in the center of the defense.

After two unsuccessful seasons with Barcelona, he returned to the Premier League for a partially successful season with West Ham. He currently plays for the Russian outfit Rubin Kazan but he is not even a regular there.

#3 Mathieu Flamini

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Capital One Cup Third Round
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Capital One Cup Third Round

In June 2007, Arsenal's most influential player, Thierry Henry, left the club. Arsenal fans were crestfallen after his move. The very next season was crucial for the Gunners in every sense of the word.

To make up for the absence of their talisman, several players stepped in, who were instrumental in Arsenal's impressive 2007-08 season. At the center of their midfield was Mathieu Flamini, who replaced the aging Gilberto Silva in front of the back four. Striking up a powerful partnership with Fabregas, he erased the memories of the mediocrity of his previous seasons with the club.

His performances caught the eye of the world, but his contract expired with Arsenal at the end of that season. He was unable to resist the temptations of money and a move to AC Milan seemed sensible at that time.

He was more of a utility man at Milan. With the presence of their captain Massimo Ambrosini, who was their first choice holding midfielder, he could never fulfill his true potential at AC Milan.

A lack of form and prolonged injuries forced him to move out of AC Milan and back to the Premier League to play for his old club. However, he was not the player he used to be during his first spell at Emirates.

After a mediocre spell of 3 seasons, he moved to Crystal Palace in 2017 and a year later to Getafe, where he plays now.

#2 Emmanuel Adebayor

Arsenal v Birmingham - Premier League
Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor is one of the most hated figures among the Arsenal fans. The Togolese striker angered the Arsenal fans when he signed for Manchester City in 2009.

Bought from Monaco for €10m in 2005, the towering forward adapted to life at Emirates. Following Henry's exit and absence of the injured van Persie, he was the prefered choice up front for the Gunners and he scored 46 goals in 4 seasons for Arsenal.

He was a beloved figure at Emirates until the day he switched to City for a hefty €29m fee.

He started impressively for City. He scoring a goal against Arsenal, after which he covered the full length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal faithful.

After the arrival of Dzeko in the following season, he soon went down the pecking order. He started only two games for City in the 2010-11 season and was loaned out to Real Madrid in January.

He was loaned out again, this time to their League rivals Tottenham in 2011. He was later signed by Spurs but inconsistency limited his appearances for the London club.

He is currently playing for the Turkish side İstanbul Başakşehir.

#1 Alexander Hleb

Arsenal v Liverpool  - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final
Alexander Hleb

In the 2007-08 season, Arsenal played an impressive football, high on energy and aggression. Alexander Hleb was more than just a part of that impressive team; he was the orchestrator.

His creativity and flair earned him many fans around the world, while his work rate exceptional and ball control ethereal. Over his three-season stint at Arsenal, he made 87 appearances and scored 7 goals.

Unsurprisingly, Barcelona approached him with an offer he couldn't reject. But for Hleb, that turned out to a decision he will regret for the rest of his life. In spite of his talents, he could never really replicate his Arsenal form for the Catalans.

He managed just 8 La Liga starts for Barcelona and what followed were three loan spells to Stuttgart, Birmingham, and Wolfsburg.

He later admitted that he regretted leaving Arsenal.

Edited by Nishant Jayaram


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