Saturday, May 28, 2022

Arsenal flops who have been a success AFTER quitting the Emirates like Szczesny, Gnabry and Malen – The Sun

IT used to be that when you left Arsenal, your career would suffer a terrible downward spiral.

But now it seems the opposite with Serge Gnabry one of the most sought-after stars in world football after some outrageous displays for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and Champions League.

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Serge Gnabry continues to remind Arsenal fans what they’re missingCredit: Getty – Contributor

All in all though, this lot flopped in the red half of North London but went on to enjoy a new lease of life elsewhere.

SunSport guides you through Arsenal flops who have shone after saying their goodbyes to their team-mates at London Colney – starting with the man of the moment.

SERGE GNABRY

The German forward signed for Arsene Wenger when he was 16 in 2010 in a deal worth around £100,000,

It was seen as a major coup, with many pundits calling Gnabry the future of German football.

Even Mesut Ozil would later go on to say that Gnabry was the best player he played with – after starring as an 18-year-old in a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.

But, despite earning a nomination for the 2013 Golden Boy Award, a serious knee injury halted his progress.

When he returned to fitness, Gnabry found himself frozen out the side so he went on a disastrous loan to West Brom.

He only played three times for the Baggies with Tony Pulis saying he didn’t think the wide man was good enough for the Premier League.

Wenger sold Gnabry to Werder Bremen for £5m in 2017, and after starring in the Bundesliga a season later he earned a move to Bayern Munich, where he has destroyed defences across Europe ever since.

 Mesut Ozil described Gnabry as the best player he ever played with 

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Mesut Ozil described Gnabry as the best player he ever played with Credit: Getty – Contributor
 Gnabry has excelled at Bayern Munich and won their player of the year in the 2018-19 season

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Gnabry has excelled at Bayern Munich and won their player of the year in the 2018-19 seasonCredit: Getty – Contributor

DONYELL MALEN

Once linked with a return to Arsenal, with Liverpool and Everton also said to be interested, Malen left London in 2017 for PSV.

He was originally an Ajax youth product before the Gunners signed him in 2015.

But Malen failed to make the first team, despite Arsene Wenger describing the forward as having ‘interesting qualities’ on a pre-season tour of Australia and China.

In 2018, Malen starred as PSV went on to win the Dutch title, and he contributed 11 goals in all competitions.

And he’s gone from strength-to-strength since, even playing for a star-studded Holland team before joining Borussia Dortmund last summer.

 Originally an Ajax academy player, Malen never got his chance in the first team for the Gunners

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Originally an Ajax academy player, Malen never got his chance in the first team for the GunnersCredit: Rex Features
 Since leaving the Gunners, Malen starred at PSV and has been capped by Holland

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Since leaving the Gunners, Malen starred at PSV and has been capped by HollandCredit: Getty – Contributor

ISMAEL BENNACER

In 2015, Bennacer left French side Arles to join the Gunners.

His debut came in a League Cup tie that same year – a diabolical 3-0 loss to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Wanting to play first-team football, Bennacer went out on loan to Ligue 2 side Tours in 2017, and impressed enough to earn a permanent move to Italian side Empoli.

In 2018, he helped his club get promoted to Serie A, but despite the fact they were relegated the following season Bennacer looked like one of Europe’s most promising midfielders.

AC Milan signed him for around £14.2m, with the Gunners reportedly making £4.5m from a sell-on clause.

Bennacer has also starred for Algeria – winning the Africa Cup of Nations for his country in 2019.

 Ismael Bennacer made his debut for Arsenal in a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday

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Ismael Bennacer made his debut for Arsenal in a disastrous 3-0 defeat to Sheffield WednesdayCredit: Getty – Contributor
 Last summer AC Milan made Bennacer a big-money signing for £14.2m

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Last summer AC Milan made Bennacer a big-money signing for £14.2mCredit: Getty – Contributor

WOJCIECH SZCZESNY

If Juventus see you as the eventual replacement to Gianluigi Buffon, you can’t be that bad can you?

After getting tired of Szczesny’s antics on and off the pitch, including getting caught smoking in the showers, Wenger and Arsenal decided to move the Polish international on in a loan deal to Roma for two years, before they agreed a permanent move to Juventus for a fee in the region of £11m in 2017.

At Roma, Szczesny kept 14 clean sheets in his second season and helped the club achieve their highest ever Serie A points total.

Then, following Buffon’s departure in 2018, he inherited the No1 shirt at the Old Lady and has won three Serie A titles and a Coppa Italia.

 Arsene Wenger grew tired of Szczesny's antics and he moved to Italy

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Arsene Wenger grew tired of Szczesny’s antics and he moved to ItalyCredit: Reuters
 Szczesny ended up replacing the legendary Gigi Buffon at Juventus and has won three Serie A titles

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Szczesny ended up replacing the legendary Gigi Buffon at Juventus and has won three Serie A titlesCredit: Getty – Contributor

JEFF REINE-ADELAIDE

Reine-Adelaide started his career at Lens and there was a major buzz when Arsenal acquired his services.

A flying winger, he never really got a sniff in Wenger’s first-team – appearing in FA Cup matches against Sunderland and Sutton United.

All in all, he made just six appearances before he was moved on to Angers in 2018 for an undisclosed fee following a successful loan.

In 2018-19, he was recognised as one of France’s best young players, and he earned a big money move to Lyon to replace the departing Nabil Fekir.

Arsenal fans must’ve been scratching their heads when they saw the transfer fee… he cost the French side almost £25m.

 Jeff Reine-Adelaide never broke through into the Arsenal first team

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Jeff Reine-Adelaide never broke through into the Arsenal first teamCredit: Getty – Contributor
 Lyon paid around £25m for Reine-Adelaide in 2019

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Lyon paid around £25m for Reine-Adelaide in 2019Credit: Getty – Contributor

CARLOS VELA

The Mexican Robbie Fowler, Wenger once called him.

He joined Arsenal in 2005 after helping Mexico win the Under-17 World Cup and winning the Golden Boot.

Vela showed flashes of brilliance in an Arsenal shirt, particularly in the League Cup, where he once scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 demolition of Sheffield United in 2008.

With first-team opportunities limited, Vela went to West Brom on loan and then to Real Sociedad where he became a star in La Liga.

His move was made permanent to Sociedad for a fee of just £2.5m in 2012, and he has since gone on to star in the MLS for Los Angeles FC.

 Carlos Vela was once described as the Mexican Robbie Fowler by Arsene Wenger

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Carlos Vela was once described as the Mexican Robbie Fowler by Arsene WengerCredit: AFP
 Vela is now one of the stars of MLS for Los Angeles FC

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Vela is now one of the stars of MLS for Los Angeles FCCredit: Getty – Contributor

GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST

After starring at Rangers, Dutch international Van Bronckhorst was signed by Wenger in 2001 for a fee of £8m.

He was signed as the replacement for the departing Emmanuel Petit to partner Patrick Vieira in Arsenal’s engine room.

However, a cruciate ligament injury saw him on the treatment room after just a few months at the club.

He returned but Wenger struggled to find his best position, with Van Bronckhorst alternating between midfield and left-back.

In 2003, he was loaned to Barcelona – where he went on to make 155 appearances, won two La Liga titles and a Champions League (ironically a 2-1 win over Arsenal).

Van Bronckhorst also appeared in the 2010 World Cup final for Holland.

He is now the manager of Scottish giants Rangers.

 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was bought as the replacement for Emmanuel Petit for £8m

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Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was bought as the replacement for Emmanuel Petit for £8mCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
 Van Bronckhorst left Arsenal for Barcelona and won the Champions League against his old club

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Van Bronckhorst left Arsenal for Barcelona and won the Champions League against his old clubCredit: AP:Associated Press

LASSANA DIARRA

Given the No8 shirt in place of the departing Freddie Ljungberg, Diarra was called a ‘multi-functional player’ by Wenger and a great addition to the squad.

However, Wenger hardly ever played the French international.

Instead, Mathieu Flamini was chosen to partner Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park and midfielder Diarra occasionally played at right-back.

After just five months at Arsenal, he was sold to Portsmouth for £5.5.m in 2008, won the FA Cup that same season before agreeing a stunning £18.8m move to Real Madrid in 2009.

He won the LaLiga title in Spain, and then in his latter years the treble with PSG in 2018.

Now retired, he got 34 caps for France… but only played seven Premier League games for Arsenal.

 Lassana Diarra struggled to dislodge Mathieu Flamini in the Arsenal midfield

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Lassana Diarra struggled to dislodge Mathieu Flamini in the Arsenal midfieldCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
 After leaving Arsenal Diarra enjoyed a glittering career at Real Madrid, PSG and later Marseille

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After leaving Arsenal Diarra enjoyed a glittering career at Real Madrid, PSG and later MarseilleCredit: AFP – Getty

OGUZHAN OZYAKUP

You know you’ve done well when you’ve left the Gunners and they reportedly consider re-signing you.

The Turkish midfielder was linked with a stunning return to Arsenal, who were believed to have offered him a deal when he was out of contract at Besiktas in 2018.

Alas, the Turkish international who now has 42 caps for his country decided to stay put.

Ozyakup came through the Arsenal academy, and was part of their team that lifted the FA Youth Cup in 2009.

However, he only ever made two appearances, once of those was in the League Cup against Shrewsbury, and was sold to Besiktas for £400,000.

Described by former Turkish international Rıdvan Dilmen as an ‘intelligent player’ he has been compared to Zinedine Zidane for his dribbling abilities.

You can bet Arsenal are kicking themselves they let him go, too.

 Oguzhan Ozyakup was reportedly offered the chance to re-sign for the Gunners in 2018

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Oguzhan Ozyakup was reportedly offered the chance to re-sign for the Gunners in 2018Credit: Getty – Contributor
 Ozyakup is now a regular for Besiktas and has been compared to Zinedine Zidane

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Ozyakup is now a regular for Besiktas and has been compared to Zinedine ZidaneCredit: Getty – Contributor

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