The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as these former Arsenal players have proven. The Gunners are planning a significant overhaul of their squad in the summer, with players like Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo being linked, and a new striker, Rasmus Hojlund, possibly arriving to complement Gabriel Jesus. However, this means that some high-profile stars may have to make way, such as Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney.
It’s important to remember that leaving Arsenal doesn’t always work out, as these seven players who left North London for pastures new then flopped when they left Arsenal show.
Alexis Sanchez was a high-profile player who had it good at Arsenal, scoring 80 goals in 166 games. However, he had a miserable time at Manchester United, scoring just five times in 45 games. An inconsistent spell at Inter Milan followed, although he’s picked up at Marseille – where he’s managed 16 goals this campaign.
Aaron Ramsey was a cult hero at the Emirates, with FA Cup final goals being his specialty. He gave Arsenal 369 games and managed 64 strikes from midfield. However, when Juventus came calling in 2019 and dangled a £400,000-per-week contract in front of him, he was quick to jump ship. His time in Turin was miserable, with injuries hindering him and managing to hit the back of the net only six times in 70 games. He hardly pulled up trees during a loan spell in Scotland at Rangers and now plies his trade at Nice.
Mesut Ozil was brilliant on his day, and when he arrived on our shores for £42.5million in 2013 from Real Madrid, it was seen as a massive coup that Arsenal had managed to lure Ozil to the Premier League. There were some great times in the capital, but when Mikel Arteta arrived, it was clear his days were numbered, with a different playing style preferred. Ozil then bounced around Turkey – first with Fenerbahce for a season, then with Istanbul Başakşehir – but it was never the same.
Alex Hleb was blessed with flawless technique and bamboozled Premier League defenders with his dribbling skills. A £12 million signing from German side VfB Stuttgart, Hleb was an integral part of the Gunners side that reached the Champions League final in 2006. But, after missing out on the trophy to Barcelona, he thought the next best thing would be to join the Spanish giants in 2008. Four years later, having played just 36 times for the Catalans, his career petered out – with spells at Birmingham City, and several Russian and Belarusian clubs, including Bate Borisov which handed him a return to the Emirates. Needless to say, he has said he regretted leaving Arsenal.
Alex Song is another player who jumped ship for the Camp Nou. An offer of £15million prised Song, who is still playing at 35 in Cameroon, from the Emirates to Spain in 2012. That was after his best season in an Arsenal shirt – where he contributed 12 assists after replacing Cesc Fabregas as the Gunners’ creative force in the middle of the park. Song has previously revealed he left Arsenal for the money and didn’t care if he played or not.
Hector Bellerin’s career trajectory has been miserable since his contract was terminated in North London. After falling out of favour under Arteta, a free transfer move to Barcelona was supposed to reignite his career. But, he played back-up to Sergino Dest – who hardly missed a game. Bellerin has played just 141 minutes of football for the LaLiga giants. Now, he’s on loan at Sporting Lisbon, but has suffered with injuries.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal for Liverpool for £35m. Initially, it looked like the Reds had got themselves the player Arsenal thought he would become, but injuries again wrecked those plans. Two severe knee injuries, as well as a loss of form, have seen Oxlade-Chamberlain become a periphery figure in Liverpool’s squad now.
In conclusion, these former Arsenal players show that leaving the club doesn’t always lead to success. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and it’s important to consider all the factors before making a move.