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Lucas Perez, Carlos Vela, Joel Campbell go down the same route

2.25K   //    07 Aug 2018, 22:29 IST

Southampton v Arsenal - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Lucas Perez looks to be heading towards the exit

Arsenal under Arsene Wenger had been synonymous with unearthing raw talent and turning them into superstars. This partly endeared the Frenchman to his bosses as well as the Arsenal fans because he used so little to achieve so much. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Nicolas Anelka were relative unknowns when they came to Arsenal. They made their names at Arsenal under the stewardship of legendary Frenchman, Arsene Wenger, having arrived on the cheap.

This served Arsenal a great deal as many of those players reached the epitome of their careers in 2004, going the entire league season undefeated. Wenger continued his old trick, signing a plethora of young talent as opposed to his rivals who always went for the finished product.

In came Jeremie Aliadiere, Gael Clichy, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas, Fran Merida, Francis Coquelin, Carlos Vela, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Jerome Thomas, Joel Campbell, Jack Wilshere among others. Some worked wonderfully while others failed miserably.

Arsenal v Ipswich Town - Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg
Cesc Fabregas is one of Wenger's success stories at Arsenal

The biggest success story, Cesc Fabregas, was trusted by the French tactician as early as when he was 17 years of age. Jack Wilshere also got his opportunity at 17 and he proved an absolute gem until injuries stunted his career.

Robin van Persie was afforded all the time he needed until he overcame his injuries and showed why Wenger was so patient with him. Jeremie Aliadiere was unlucky with injuries, but he cannot complain as the manager exercised a great deal of patience until he could wait no more. He was sold to Middlesbrough where he played for some time before returning to his native France.

Unlike those who had Arsene Wenger's prerogative of patience, Carlos Vela, Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez didn't. For reasons known to himself, the Frenchman clearly denied opportunities to the trio to succeed at Arsenal. Carlos Vela joined Arsenal from Chivas Guadalajara with an impressive repertoire, having emerged top scorer in the U-17 World Cup in Peru scoring 5 goals in 6 games.

Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League
Carlos Vela promised a lot but produced little at Arsenal

In his full debut in the League Cup, Vela scored a hat-trick against Sheffield United in 2008. His penchant for scoring special goals endeared him to Arsenal fans who believed they had a real star in their ranks. How wrong they were! Vela started just 3 Premier League games in 3 seasons until he was jettisoned to Real Sociedad in 2011.


It was at La Real where he was given the chances Wenger had denied him at Arsenal scoring 12 goals and laying on 7 assists that season. He went on to form a fearsome partnership with now Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann. His form prompted speculation that Arsene Wenger was interested in exercising the buy-back clause in his contract to re-sign him.

It is very clear, therefore, that Arsene Wenger denied Vela the platform to develop his undoubted talent. Even when he scored goals in the cup competitions, Wenger refused to start him in the league. He was confined to the bench and only came on in the dying minutes of some games where he could not impact them. Frustrated, Carlos Vela finally left for Sociedad where he made his mark before he joined the MLS. Arsenal fans were left wondering what could have been!

Joel Campbell looks finished at Arsenal after promising so much. He was signed by Arsene Wenger in 2011 from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa. Work permit issues denied him the opportunity to join Arsenal immediately, joining French side Lorient before changing to Real Betis and Olympiacos.

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Campbell put in inspired performances as his nation surged to the quarterfinals. Such displays excited Arsenal fans worldwide who couldn't wait for the forward to don the famous red and white of North London.

Swansea City v Arsenal - Premier League
Joel Campbell didn't get the opportunity many felt he deserved

Their excitement was short lived as Campbell's future was quickly thrown in doubt. Despite some encouraging displays, Arsene Wenger elected to send the Costa Rican on loan when many felt he had done enough to earn a place in the squad.

He was always brave, extremely hardworking and willing to put his body on the line for the team despite being in a team that didn't seem to work hard enough. He has been everywhere since; Villarreal, Sporting CP and Real Betis again.

He is now back at Arsenal, but with Unai Emery leaving him out of the Singapore tour, it looks like his future lies elsewhere. Arsene Wenger didn't attach value to his hard work which shuttered his confidence and now he is headed into the unknown!

As with the other two, Lucas Perez joined Arsenal two years ago with the reputation of being a very direct, hardworking player. He was impressive for Deportivo La Coruna for whom he had scored 18 goals in 37 appearances.

That eventually convinced Arsenal to fork out £17.1 million to sign him. He made his debut against Southampton, a game Arsenal won 2-1. He didn't play that well, and that was all for him. He was confined to the bench, making cameo appearances on occasions. His best display came in the Champions League against FC Basel where he scored a hat-trick, but Wenger failed to show enough trust in him to start him in the next game.

Little by little Perez became disillusioned, lost confidence and was sent back to Deportivo on loan for the 2017/18 season. Although he wasn't able to save the Spanish side from relegation, he had a return of 8 goals and 6 assists in 31 games.

It was thought that Unai Emery would be happy to work with him at Arsenal, but according to BBC Sport, he is close to joining West Ham. For a player who came with his confidence sky high, Lucas Perez leaves with it at its lowest.

Arsene Wenger may have turned a number of unknowns into world beaters, but he was also guilty of mistrusting a number of players resulting in their careers going down the drain. For any player to thrive, they need the trust and confidence of their manager. Carlos Vela, Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez didn't get that and their careers look to have turned for the worse.