Arsenal confirmed days ago that midfielder Jeff-Reine Adelaide had left the club to join French Ligue 1 side SCO Angers on a permanent deal. The 20-year-old made just eight appearances in all competitions for the Gunners after signing from RC Lens in 2015 and revealed how difficult it was to spend the last three years on the periphery.
Adelaide spent last season on loan at Angers, making 10 appearances in Ligue 1 and made the decision to seek a move away from the Emirates to get first-team football. He had a positive spell at the Stade Raymond Kopa last season and said they left a lasting impression on him that helped facilitate his move this summer.
“The difference was sort of made last year,” he said. “It was not easy to leave Arsenal but the loan I made here last season from February to May weighed heavily. Here, I have landmarks. I know the cloakroom, the stadium, the staff, I got to know everyone. I have been shown confidence that has tipped the scales. Here is a very family club. I needed that.
“(Manager Stéphane Moulin) seduced me. He guaranteed me a lot of things. Always depending on what will be my performance in the match and my workouts of course . We had a good feeling right away. (Arsenal) was a very complicated situation. It was hard for me to stay three years there, knowing that I was almost never playing and only participated in training.”
Adelaide joined Arsenal as a promising teenager with a bright future, but he failed to progress through the youth ranks to the first-team and will try and resurrect his career in France. The 20-year-old had stiff competition for a starting place at Arsenal, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Santi Cazorla all ahead of Adelaide in the pecking order.
Wilshere and Cazorla both left this summer as game time would have been hard to come by now Arsenal have signed the likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. A lot was expected the French u20 when he made the switch from Lens years previously, but he ended up rotting in the reserves.
As for his new club, Angers finished 14th in Ligue 1 last season with 41 points from 38 games. Adelaide will be hoping he can force his way into the starting lineup and continue his development. Arsenal fans will be indifferent about his departure, but there was a lot of hype surrounding the midfielder in the past.