Arsenal Players- Arsenal are one of the best clubs in Europe and one of the most successful in England. The North London have won different trophies from ranging from the Premier League to the FA Cup. Their most successful era was spearheaded by the greatest manager in the club’s history- Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman led the Gunners to a Champions League final, an unbeaten Premier League winning season and a record FA Cup haul.
Great players such as Henry, Vieira, Ljungberg, and a host of others are one of the club’s legends. Different footballers have had to leave the club for different reasons especially during their extended periods of trophy drought. Some of them found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side and probably regretted leaving the club. The career of some of these former Arsenal players even nosedived because of their decision to leave.
Below are 10 stars who probably regretted leaving the Gunners.
1. Alex Song
Alex Song joined Arsenal from Bastia in 2006 and after a loan spell with Charlton Athletic, he settled into the first team. He even became more important when Flamini moved to AC Milan. Song became Arsenal’s main destroyer in the middle of the park and before he left for Barcelona in 2012, he had developed an attacking edge to his game. He could dribble better and make defense splitting passes. This was why Barcelona signed him but the Cameroonian never made any impact in Camp Nou. His career only went downwards since he made that move only aged 25 then. Arsenal players really missed him.
2. Alexander Hleb
Hleb joined the Gunners from Stuttgart in 2005 spending three years at the Emirates Stadium. The Belarusian was a very tricky midfielder and is renowned for his dribbling skills. Lured by the chance to play for Barcelona, he left Arsenal in 2008. This decision would later backfire as he was never able to break into Barcelona’s attack set-up. He spent four years with the Catalan club but he spent the better part of the four years on three different loan spells. He left Barcelona in 2012 after making only 19 appearances in La Liga. He has openly admitted he made a mistake making the switch to Spain.
3. Jose Antonio Reyes
Reyes was signed by Arsene Wenger at the beginning of the 2004/2005 season. He spent three years in London scoring 16 goals in 69 league appearances. He would later become homesick and decided to return to Spain on loan with Real Madrid. He ended up playing for a host of Spanish teams including Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Espanyol but never truly found the goalscoring touch that endeared him to Arsenal fans. Reyes died in a car accident in June 2019 and was mourned by Arsenal players.
4. Marc Overmars
Overmars played for Arsenal from 1997 to 2000. He joined Arsenal when many thought his career was finished. Wenger created a special training program for him and he repaid the Gunners by helping them win the double in 1998. He took the familiar path of a move to Barcelona but injuries would never allow him to make any reasonable impact with Barcelona highly unstable then.
5. Emmanuel Petit
Petit left Arsenal at the same time with Overmars. The story was the same as he joined the host of Arsenal players who regret going to Barcelona. He spent just a year in Spain battling with a niggling injury. He moved to Chelsea after but his knee had gone so bad that he could not show the classic talent he displayed with the Gunners. The Frenchman has sounded a warning to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang not to choose Barcelona should he leave North London.
6. Alexis Sanchez
It may be awkward saying the Chilean regrets leaving Arsenal but as the saying goes, numbers do not lie. Sanchez arrived from Barcelona where he was eclipsed by Messi and co. to become Arsenal’s main man. He scored 60 league goals between 2014 and 2018 before moving to Manchester United in a mammoth deal. He has been a shadow of himself since his move to Old Trafford. He managed only three goals in 32 league appearances and injuries did not help him either. He was shipped to Inter Milan on loan at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season.
7. Cesc Fabregas
The Spanish playmaker was the crown in the jewel amongst Arsenal players during his days with the Gunners. Fabregas was considered a rare gem with his commitment and leadership ability such that he became the Gunners’ captain at a very young age. Fabregas seemed to miss his childhood club so he took a pay cut to move to Barcelona in 2011. He enjoyed his fair share of success but with Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets at the peak of their powers, it was difficult for him to find a place in Barcelona’s midfield. He played as a winger and even a false number nine. His transfer to Chelsea in 2014 further showed he was less valued at Barcelona.
8. Samir Nasri
Nasri was one of the Arsenal players who left North London during the trophy drought. The Frenchman was a beauty to watch on the pitch. He was not the fastest of players but his mesmerizing dribbling skills saw him run Arsenal’s midfield with grace. He scored 10 goals in 30 league games in 2010/2011 which caused City to part with a huge sum to sign him. Nasri did win the Premier League and the League Cup but he never found consistent form on the blue side of Manchester. It even became more difficult to make the starting line up because of Manchester City’s squad depth.
9. Emmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor joined the league of Arsenal players who moved from Ligue 1 to North London when Arsene Wenger signed him in 2007. Taking Kanu’s iconic number 25 Jersey, the Togolese scored 24 league goals in 2007/2008 Premier League season and 6 in other competitions. His performances were not so good the following season and he fell out with the fans before moving to Manchester City in a mammoth deal. He was relatively successful under Mark Hughes but his career nosedived after that. He found some consistency later playing for Tottenham Hotspur but one cannot but wonder if he would have been better served to stay at the Emirates.
10. Mathieu Flamini
Flamini was a revelation at Arsenal between 2004 and 2008. He displaced the legendary Gilberto Silva from the starting eleven and established himself as a top defensive midfielder. Italian superpowers A.C. Milan brought him in 2008 and the Frenchman spent five years with them. Though he won the league, he was mostly considered as an understudy to Ambrosini who was the club captain then. He returned to Arsenal in 2013 for a second spell but how good would it have been having he not left in the first place.