5 players you didn't know played for Arsenal

Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela
Varun Nair

Playing for a big club like Arsenal is something that every player cherishes as the north London giants have been one of the most successful clubs in the history of the English league. Names like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp have donned the famous jersey for the Gunners and established themselves as legends in the process.

Unlike these names, some players have failed to leave a mark on the club and their stints at the English capital are quite easily forgotten by fans and the media. In this article, we take a look at five players who we didn't know played for Arsenal.

Also Read: 5 players who had more successful careers after leaving Arsenal

#1 Matthew Upson

Matthew Upson won a Premier League medal while playing for Arsenal
Matthew Upson won a Premier League medal while playing for Arsenal

West Ham legend Matthew Upson incidentally made his first Premier League appearance for London rivals Arsenal. A product of Luton Town academy, arguably one of their greatest ever, Upson joined the north London giants in 1997 after making a single appearance for his boyhood club.

Brought into a team which consists of defensive stalwarts like Tony Adams, Martin Keown, and Steve Bould, Upson found it hard to break into the team. The defender was also not helped by his injury problems as he made just 8 appearances for the Gunners all season.

An ACL injury in 1999 further dented his chances of breaking into the first-team as he lost a year of his career. The next three seasons saw the defender being loaned out to different clubs before Birmingham City secured his signing in 2003.

Four seasons with Birmingham was followed by a move back to London to join West Ham United. Following his five-year-stint at Upton Park, Upson made a switch to Stoke City which was followed by moves to Brighton Hove & Albion, Leicester City and finally Milton Keynes Dons. The defender hung up his boots in 2016 after making 7 appearances for the Dons.

A technically gifted defender, Upson made just 57 appearances for the Gunners despite being at Highbury for six seasons.

Also Read: Very hard for Arsenal to finish in top four following Europa League exit, says Arteta

#2 Lassana Diarra

Diarra left Arsenal six months after joining them
Diarra left Arsenal six months after joining them

During his 15-year long professional career, Lassana Diarra made a brief stop at the Emirates in 2007. A product of the famous Le Havre academy in France, he made the journey to England in 2005 to join Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side.

Playing in the shadows of Claude Makelele, Diarra found first-team chances hard to come by. The Frenchman finally made a transfer deadline switch to Arsenal after three years with the Blues.

Diarra made his debut for the Gunners in a Champions League game against Schalke. The midfielder was, however, once again bereft of first-team opportunities following the emergence of Mathieu Flamini. He made just seven appearances for the London outfit before securing a move to Portsmouth, just six months later.

A season with Pompey was followed by a sensational move to Real Madrid. After three seasons at the Bernabeu, Diarra became a vagabond as he made moves to Anzhi Makhachkala, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Al-Jazira and PSG in six seasons.

Diarra finally hung up his boots in 2019 while playing for French giants Paris Saint Germain.

#3 Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela
Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela, who is now tearing up the MLS, was once a highly promising Arsenal player. A graduate of Guadalajara youth academy, the Mexican made the journey across the Atlantic to join the Premier League club in 2005.

Work-permit restrictions saw the winger playing his first two seasons as an Arsenal player on loan at Salamanca and Osasuna respectively. He finally made his debut in 2009 alongside a young Arsenal side which consisted of the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

Vela never managed to hit his peak like the other youngsters despite playing for the Gunners for three years. As a result, he was once again sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion and then to Real Sociedad before making the move permanent with the latter in 2012. During his seven seasons at the Emirates, Vela made 62 appearances and scored 11 times.

The move to Real Sociedad was followed by a move to LAFC six seasons later, where he still currently plays.

#4 Yossi Benayoun

Benayoun captained the Gunners for a game
Benayoun captained the Gunners for a game

Often remembered for his stints at Liverpool and West Ham, Yossi Benayoun also spent a season on loan at Arsenal. The former Israel international joined Chelsea from Liverpool in 2010 but soon found first-team opportunities hard to come by.

As a result, he joined the Gunners on a loan deal during the 2012-13 season and was instantly a hit at the club. The 'Diamond from Dimona' made 25 appearances for the Gunners, even captaining the side for a match, and scored 6 times before returning to Stamford Bridge.

A loan move to West Ham followed the next season after which he signed for QPR in 2013. Stints with Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem, and Maccabi Petah Tikva soon followed before the midfielder finally hung up his boots at the end of the 2018-19 season.

#5 Davor Suker

Davor Suker spent just one season with the Gunners
Davor Suker spent just one season with the Gunners

Davor Suker was already a well-established name in football following his stints with Sevilla and Real Madrid when he decided to join Arsenal. The Croatian arrived at Highbury from Real Madrid following an incredible 1998 World Cup with Croatia that saw him winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe.

The Croat started brightly at Highbury but soon found himself down the pecking order. He was relegated to substitute appearances following the emergence of Thierry Henry and Nwankwo Kanu alongside Dennis Bergkamp. Despite not having many starts, the former striker made 39 appearances for the Gunners and scored 11 times.

Suker finally joined West Ham United in 2000 in search of first-team starts but was once again on the move, joining 1860 Berlin the following season. The Croatian legend finally called it a day in 2001, ending his career with the German side.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh


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