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Seven players that Arsenal let go too soon – The Emirates era

Over the years, Arsenal have had some amazing talents pass through their ranks since moving to the Emirates Stadium. Some have gone on to establish themselves and become part of the club’s history.

Others have found it hard to break through and decided to try their luck elsewhere. It is the latter group that we are looking at today as we see some of the players that left the north London club too soon.

To be fair to the club, some of these departures were due to forces beyond their control. But let us look at the players who might have made a difference, had they stayed put.

Serge Gnabry

Arguably the top prospect that got away, as the German winger is a star for club and country now. The 25-year-old was a highly rated prospect but could not establish himself in England.

But ever since moving to Germany in the summer of 2016, he has transformed into an elite talent. Gnabry has helped Bayern Munich win a treble among other trophies and left Arsenal to regret letting him go.

We cannot predict how the winger would have turned out had he stayed with the north Londoners, but this is a great example of letting someone go too soon.

Carlos Vela

Another example of a player unable to break into the first team and finding success abroad. In the case of the Mexican, it was after he moved to Real Sociedad that the world got to see what an exciting talent the forward was.

Now plying his trade in America with Los Angeles FC, Vela continues to be a prolific goal scorer. At the Emirates, the striker broke through at the same time as Jack Wilshere and big things were expected of him.

But alas, it was not to be for the Mexico international and he had to move to find success. One thing that Gunners fans would never forget are his chipped finishes that were always memorable and made the keeper look silly.

Aaron Ramsey

It might sound odd to describe letting go of a player who spent ten years at a club as too soon. But that is the case with the Welshman who now plays in Italy with Juventus.

Ramsey is without a doubt one of the best midfielders to play for the north Londoners during the Emirates era. Both parties failed to agree on a new deal, which resulted in his exit.

The fact that the Gunners could not get anything in return for their player was seen as a failure of the board. There are suggestions that the midfielder could return to north London, but it is hard to see this deal happening.

Wojciech Szczesny

Another player that plays for Juventus, the Polish international was the Gunners’ number one keeper for a few seasons. Impressing with his athleticism, reflexes, and ability to make jaw-dropping saves, it appeared that the Pole would remain for many years.

But issues with discipline and the signing of Petr Cech led to a two-year loan spell in Italy with Roma. Subsequent good performances paved the way to the Old Lady for Szczesny.

Having replaced the legendary Gianluigi Buffon, the keeper has become an important part of the Italian giants. An Arsenal career that promised so much ended sooner than most would have anticipated.

Donyell Malen

A young star that is slowly making his name known to the world, the Dutchman was once part of the Gunners setup. He left because of a lack of chances and has flourished since moving back to the Netherlands.

At PSV Eindhoven, Malen has become one of the best forwards in the division and is becoming a complete attacker. Currently at the Euros with his country, the 22-year-old is truly one that got away.

Due to the player’s impressive performances for PSV and Holland, there is a chance that he could end up at a bigger club soon.

Ismael Bennacer

The midfield dynamo who plays for AC Milan had a chance to return to Arsenal, but the north Londoners opted against it. In hindsight, it was the wrong decision as the Algerian has been a revelation in Italy.

First with Empoli and now with Milan, Bennacer has shown his undoubted quality and helped control the respective team’s midfield. The Gunners could do with someone of his skill set but that is not to be the case.

The midfielder was at the Emirates for only a short time, so he did not get enough chances to impress sufficiently. If things had gone differently, the north Londoners would have kept hold of a gem.

Lassana Diarra

An unexpected name on this list perhaps, but the Frenchman seemed like he was what the Gunners needed at the time. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the midfielder’s arrival from Chelsea.

But it didn’t seem like Diarra fit in at the Emirates and he was sent to Portsmouth from where the midfielder ended up at Real Madrid. That is where the Frenchman had his best moments.

It remains to be seen what would have happened if Arsene Wenger kept hold of the French international for longer. A player once thought of as the new Claude Makelele could have shone in north London.

There are other names that did leave soon but these are some of the players that could have had the biggest impact. One cannot help but wonder how different things would have been, had some of these players stayed back. There are no guarantees in life but players such as Gnabry and Malen make you wonder what if things were different.

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