10 footballers whose careers dipped after joining Arsenal
Arsenal have been a well-known club for a long time, but even more so since Arsene Wenger assumed the reins of the club in 1996. Wenger's philosophy helped in the creation of one of the best Premier League teams the world has ever seen: The Invincibles.
'The Professor' has had the privilege of managing some of the peerless footballers of their era. Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Dennis Bergkamp and many others have become household names all over the world. Yet, the quality of the Frenchman's squad has faded vastly due to lack of spending in the transfer market.
Wenger is more like Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to bringing in new players. He would go for a cheap player and make him better rather than buy an established talent. But, like his Scottish counterpart, Wenger also has been accused of destroying good talents due to wrong decisions.
Most of the players who had their careers affected were at the club during the Invincibles era. One cannot blame Wenger totally, but the lack of required minutes combined with his inaccurate decisions did see the downfall of some players at the Emirates.
Let's take a look at 10 such players who could have had better careers if not for the unfortunate circumstances at Arsenal.
#10: Igors Stepanovs
Following an injury to captain Tony Adams, Igors Stepanovs was signed by Arsene Wenger for £1.35 million in 2000.The Latvian defender scored in a 2-1 debut defeat to Ipswich Town in the League Cup. But his fairytale at the Highbury was destined to be cut short.
In a game versus bitter rivals Manchester United, Stepanovs put up a horrible performance as Arsenal were humiliated 6-1 by the Red Devils. As a result, Arsenal's title hopes were hit hard after the loss. That probably seemed to be the last straw for his end.
Stepanovs never featured regularly after that game, being hit by a serious loss of confidence. One bad game never defines a player but that was quite the opposite with the Latvian defender. Wenger never trusted him enough after that fateful match. He was also loaned out in his last year to Beveren.
Stepanovs could have improved had Wenger showed trust in him. The Latvian left Arsenal after a torrid four-year-spell, making only 31 appearances for the Gunners. But, Stepanovs never managed to resurrect his career, changing a host of clubs after Arsenal and failing to stabilize himself.