Arsenal FC: 5 Players That Flopped in the Red and White
It's no secret that success isn't always guaranteed after that multi-million pound move to one of Europe's top clubs.
Career-threatening injuries, the inability to perform at an optimal level and henceforth failing to make the cut, coupled with ongoing interest from abroad, are just a few of several factors that could effectively play a key role in troubling a player during his career as a top-flight footballer at a certain club.
And Arsenal Football Club is no different: from players having their heads turned by challenges fresh and pastures new, to signing on young talent that eventually either fail to make the grade or simply end up getting their legs crocked from a tackle, the Gunners have also seen their fair share of troubled superstars over the years.
So without further explanation, here is a ranked list comprising 5 players that flopped - or are still performing at a subpar level—with the Gunners.
P.S: I'm well aware other players may have just as easily made this list. Feel free to post suggestions in the comments below.
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Arsenal fans aware of David Bentley's swift ascent from the reserves to first-team cameo football knew all too well that the Englishman had bags of natural talent waiting to be tapped.
The young forward, who joined Arsenal's academy in 1997 from Wormley, was asked to train with the first team (which then included the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp) at just 16 years of age—a clear indication of just how high Arsene Wenger once regarded him.
Perhaps the highlight of his short-lived Arsenal career was that delightful chip scored against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup when he was just 19—a move that earned comparisons with veteran forward Bergkamp—essentially propelling him to the "top prospects" list at the club.
Unfortunately for the young Englishman though, the one thing his game was lacking was patience, as at the tender of age of just 20—after two unsuccessful loan spells—he handed in a transfer request citing a lack of first-team action at Arsenal.
It was also later revealed by the player himself that during his time on the bench at Arsenal, he was slowly losing his enjoyment and "love" for football, as he felt troubled and frustrated by not being handed a starting role.
The versatile forward, who occasionally even plays in "the hole," can now be found playing his trade at St. Andrews, where he has been loaned to by his parent-club—ironically Arsenal's fiercest rival—Tottenham Hotspur.
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Croatian striker Davor Suker arrived at Highbury from Spain in the summer of 1999 with a huge reputation.
Despite his age upon arrival (30), the 1998 World Cup Golden Boot winner, known for his prolific goal-scoring abilities at Real Madrid and Sevilla, was expected to lead the Arsenal front-line with Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu upon his arrival.
Unfortunately for the Croatian, however, it seemed his career went downhill from that point on, as he was unable to cement a first-team spot (partly thanks to the coming of age of a certain French winger-turned-forward) and only managed to score eight goals during his single season at the club.
He also made an appearance as an extra-time substitute during Arsenal's UEFA Cup Finals clash against Turkish outfit Galatasaray in 2000. Galatasaray won the game on penalties and, unsurprisingly, the troubled forward missed his.
He then played for West Ham and Bayern Munich, but was unable to regain his rich goal-scoring form and was consequently only used as a bit-part player by both teams.
Davor Suker has now retired from the game. Though his career will be remembered fondly by most, many will still remember his troubling times at Arsenal as being the driving force behind his descent in form and reputation in football.
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Philipe Senderos' bright career start initially earned him plenty of praise and acclaim from plaudits, who saw him as being a permanent future fixture in the Arsenal backline.
The imposing Swiss defender, who joined the club in 2005 with a massive reputation from former club Servette, played an important role in Arsenal's run-in to the UEFA Champions League final, as he helped comprise the famous back four that ruthlessly failed to concede even a single goal until the final.
However, he failed to replicate some of his early-career form, and was found wanting on several occasions as his reputation continued to plummet.
Some of his most troubled times at Arsenal include Arsenal's shocking defensive display at Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinal, in which he was widely criticized for lacking the pace and mental awareness to compete at a top Premier League club.
He was eventually loaned out a number of times, after running down his Arsenal contract and joining Fulham on a free in 2010.
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Abou Diaby is a bit of an enigma for Arsenal fans. He's big, imposing and good with the ball at his feet, essentially meaning the tall Frenchman has all the attributes to fill in that box-to-box void left by Patrick Vieira.
But real life is no video game, and a player possessing all the aforementioned traits may still have a hard time living up to the billing. And Diaby certainly still has it all to do in an Arsenal shirt.
Though admittedly the blame cannot solely lie with the tall Frenchman. Dan Smith's "horrendous" tackle must take a substantial amount of blame in this case. Ultimately though, what happens to you in one game can have lasting effects, and that concept is easy to spot with Diaby.
Recurring injuries that continually reappear just as the midfielder seems to be making strides of progress have dampened any chance of the former Auxerre man from making a substantial string of first-team appearances.
Though Diaby may still seemingly fit into Arsene Wenger's plans—a reported £10 million fee was rejected by the club earlier this summer—the fact remains that despite possessing familiar traits of skill in the midfield, Diaby seems to be in the midst of sheer frustration, as he has seemed a bit-part player for the North London.
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When Arsene Wenger bough Frenchman Sebastian Squillaci from Seville in the summer of 2010, it seemed to everyone that the Arsenal manager had finally heard all the fans' pleas to bring in a experienced, established Centre Back.
Towering in at 6'1", Squillaci seemed the perfect backup defender for the Gunners. A player that had already featured in a UEFA Champions League final, apart from winning numerous club honours at previous clubs, the Frenchman has played at virtually every level.
Unfortunately though, his experience and promise didn't convert on the pitch. Squillaci seemed a shadow of the player fans were expecting, as he struggled to find his feet in the pace of England's top-flight league. His name on the team sheet is often met with discontent, as fans reminisce previous subpar performances where the Frenchman made numerous errors.
Squillaci still plies his trade at Arsenal. Unfortunately though, he seems to have slipped irrecoverably down the pecking order, as Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou all seem to be favoured over him.
Needless to say, his tenure with Arsenal has been nothing short of disastrous.
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