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Is The Grass Always Greener After Leaving Arsenal?

It may not seem like it now but the new season is just round the corner, this time next month there will be just a week to go until the end of the Transfer Window. It is arguably the most exciting time of the season, a new season approaching, hundreds of rumours linking your club with the hottest talents in the world and lots of pre-season football to see how your team is preparing for the new season. However for Arsenal fans, this period in recent years has not been a time for excitement, in fact I know many Arsenal fans who have become disillusioned by the thought of the Transfer Window, and this year has been no different for them.

Arsenal fans are about to suffer yet another heartbreak in losing their talisman and arguably best player Robin van Persie. The Dutchman enters his final year of contract and released a public statement declaring he will not be signing a new deal. This has sparked a bidding war, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus all lodging bids for the much sought after striker. This will not be the first important player Arsenal have lost and certainly won’t be the last, however how many players actually go onto to do better things after leaving Arsenal. In this article I will be looking over some of the huge names to have left the Gunners during Arsene Wenger’s era and analysing whether they made the right career decision.

Nicolas Anelka

Bought for – £0.5m                          Sold for – £23m                 Profit/Loss – +£22.5m

Trophies at Arsenal – 3                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 7

The young Frenchman was bought by Wenger in his first full season as manager of the club, setting the Premier League alight in his second season at the club. This led to a big money move to Real Madrid which at the time was Arsenal’s record transfer fee received. Arsenal did not miss Anelka, his replacement was a certain Mr Thierry Henry. However Anelka has gone onto magnificent things in his career, including a Champions League title. Anelka now being at his 8th team since leaving Arsenal in 1999, probably should have gone on to do even more but constant big money transfers have not allowed him to do so.

Right Career move – Yes

Marc Overmars & Emmanuel Petit

Bought for – £7m & £2.5m            Sold for – £25m & £5m   Profit/Loss – +£18m & £2.5m

Trophies at Arsenal – 4& 4         Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 0 & 0

The Dutchman is regarded as one of the best wingers to have ever graced the Premier League and the Frenchman forged a remarkable partnership in the Centre of midfield with Patrick Vieira. After playing 3 seasons for Arsenal, Barcelona came knocking for both Overmars and Petit in a joint deal worth £30,000,000. Both joined Barcelona during a time where the Catalonia giants were suffering financial trouble, neither went on to win a major trophy during their spells there. In fact both players ever went on to win a trophy after leaving Arsenal, both of their careers ending prematurely.

Right Career move – No

Patrick Vieira

Bought for – £3.5m                          Sold for – £13.7m                              Profit/Loss – +£10.2m

Trophies at Arsenal – 11               Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 7

Widely regarded as a Premier League great, the lanky Frenchman won 11 trophies at Arsenal including two doubles. However year after year Vieira flirted with departure from the club, with constant speculation about his future. Sound familiar? Arsenal managed to keep their key group of players together for a number of years after the departure of Petit and Overmars, which was their golden era. Vieira eventually left for Juventus where he was part of the team involved in the match fixing scandal, Vieira then moved to Inter and finished his career at Man City. Vieira never went on to hit the heights he reached at Arsenal, probably a move he regrets.

Right Career move – No

Ashley Cole

Bought for – Trainee                       Sold for – £5m + Gallas                   Profit/Loss – +£5m

Trophies at Arsenal – 7                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 9

When Ashley Cole left Arsenal he quickly become a hated figure at the club, in a transfer that was thought to have involved tapping up and stunk to high heaven of dodgy business, Cole left Arsenal to join Chelsea and their mega dosh. Ashley Cole quickly cemented his place as one of the best left backs in the world, winning the Champions League and winning multiple league titles. Despite having a successful career at Arsenal and being part of the invincible team, it can’t be doubted that Cole has gone to onto greater things since leaving Arsenal.

Right Career move – Yes

Thierry Henry

Bought for – £10.5m                        Sold for – £16.1m                              Profit/Loss – +£5.6m

Trophies at Arsenal – 7                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 8

Possibly the greatest player the Premier League has ever seen, Thierry Henry was bought by Wenger as an inconsistent kid with all the ability in the world. Thierry Henry has made himself an Arsenal icon and literally made himself irreplaceable. His move to Barcelona had been coming after years of speculation, The Champions League crown eluded him year after year the time was right for him to leave the Emirates and join the Spanish giants, where he finally won the Champions League. Henry never really hit the heights he did at Arsenal but still managed to win 8 trophies, including one in the USA for New York Red Bulls. Since Henry’s departure Arsenal have gone on a trophy dry streak and a mass exodus of big names departing the club.

Right Career move – Yes

Jose Antonio Reyes

Bought for – £13m                            Sold for – £8m                    Profit/Loss – -£5m

Trophies at Arsenal – 3                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 5

The Spanish wonder kid was bought from Sevilla on huge promise, blessed with all the talent in the world the Spaniard failed to acclimatize to the English game. A loan spell to Real Madrid and then eventually a permanent move to Atletico Madrid sealed the end of Reyes’ career in the Premier League. Reyes never really went to fulfil the world class potential he had shown in his younger days at Arsenal and Sevilla

Right Career move – No

Mathieu Flamini

Bought for – £1m                              Sold for – Free                   Profit/Loss – -£1m

Trophies at Arsenal – 2                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 2

The tenacious Frenchman was on the fringes of Arsenal Football Club for a few seasons before injuries allowed him to state his claim for a place in the team. Flamini and Fabregas were immense together in the middle of the park, but unfortunately Flamini was allowed to leave on a free because his contract was up. Flamini decided against staying at the Emirates and chose to move to AC Milan. Flamini become a squad player for Milan and whilst he won 2 trophies, he has not yet set the Italian league alight.

Right Career move- No

Alexander Hleb

Bought for – £11m                            Sold for – £11m                 Profit/Loss – £0

Trophies at Arsenal – 0                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 4

Alexander Hleb whilst world class on his day was a hugely frustrating player accused of lacking a final product in terms of goals and assists. The Belarusian was sold to Barcelona after a few years at the club, a transfer that raised a few eye brows. Although Hleb has gone onto win 4 trophies since leaving Arsenal, he has hardly gone onto bigger and better things, hardly figuring in Barcelona’s team. Hleb currently plays for Russian team Krylia Sovetov after loan spells at Birmingham City, Wolfsburg and Stuttgart.

Right Career move – No

Kolo Toure

Bought for – £0.15m                        Sold for – £16m                 Profit/Loss – +£15.85m

Trophies at Arsenal – 5                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 2

Kolo Toure left Arsenal for a new challenge which was understandable for a player who achieved so much at the club and is a fan’s favourite. £16m was certainly fantastic business for a player who had fallen out of favour at Arsenal and had shown signs of decline as a player. Toure has gone onto win 2 trophies at Man City in 3 seasons at the club. However Toure may of played his last game for Man City as speculation surrounds his future at the club. Whilst Toure has won the league with Man City, Toure never really managed to reach the form he displayed in his days at Arsenal.

Right Career move – Yes

Emmanuel Adebayor

Bought for – £7m                              Sold for – £25m                 Profit/Loss – +£18m

Trophies at Arsenal – 0                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 1

Emmanuel Adebayor quickly became a hated figure at Arsenal Football Club, even while playing for the club he was not a fans favourite. Adebayor moved to Man City in 2009 and failed to win a trophy. Adebayor has had loan spells at Real Madrid and Tottenham, winning the Copa Del Rey at Real Madrid. Adebayor’s career has failed to take off, big wage demands have hindered the player’s judgement in making the right moves to him.

Right Career move – No

Gael Clichy

Bought for – £0.25m                        Sold for – £7m                    Profit/Loss – +£6.75m

Trophies at Arsenal – 3                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 1

A move similar to Kolo Toure’s to Manchester City, Gael Clichy moved onto a new challenge after spending 8 years at Arsenal. Clichy had also started to show signs of decline at Arsenal, falling out of favour in the French National team also, so the £7m fee was seen as good business for Arsenal. Clichy had a good first season at Man City winning the title, but was not a first team regular, mainly being rotated with Kolarov. However he left Arsenal for a new challenge and certainly found it at Man City.

Right Career move – Yes

Cesc Fabregas

Bought for – Trainee                       Sold for – £30m                 Profit/Loss – +£30m

Trophies at Arsenal – 2                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 4

The transfer of Fabregas to Barcelona would not have surprised many Arsenal fans, Fabregas always made it clear that he would move back to his homeland one day. One thing that would’ve angered Arsenal fans was the way Fabregas handled the situation, refusing to play for the club meaning Arsenal could only claim around £30m for him. Fabregas enjoyed a decent run in the Barca team but it was a disappointing season for Barcelona. Fabregas actually won 4 trophies for Barcelona last season, however 3 of the competitions Barcelona had already qualified to be in the final for before Fabregas even arrived.

Right Career move – Too Early to decide

Samir Nasri

Bought for – £16m                            Sold for – £25m                                Profit/Loss – +£9m

Trophies at Arsenal – 0                 Trophies after leaving Arsenal – 1

The Samir Nasri saga evolved around another contract dispute in which Arsenal allowed Nasri’s contract to run down till its final year. It became evident Nasri had his heart set on a move away from the club. Arsenal accepted a £25m bid from Man City which for a player in his last year of contract was excellent business. Nasri won the league with City last year but spent quite a bit of time on the bench. Speculation has surrounded Nasri future after City has been linked with a host of attacking midfielders this summer.

Right Career move- Too early to decide

If Van Persie does eventually leave Arsenal, the club he moves to next will be vital to how his career will pan out. The odds are stacked against you as a player leaving Arsenal, there have been many failure stories and only a few success stories. Will Van Persie choose the right career move for himself or will he join the long list of names who failed to make the right decision.

Thanks for reading, comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.



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