Arsenal: Five players who regret leaving Arsenal
Robin Van Persie believes he has a better chance of winning silverware away from Arsenal but the grass is not always sweeter on the other side.
How many players have left Arsenal and gone on to bigger and greater things? Not many. It's far easier to pick out the ones who wish they remained under Wenger's watch.
Here are five players who should never have left Arsenal.
5. Alexander Hleb. The Belarusian international midfielder arrived at Arsenal from Stuggart in 2005 and spent three years at the club before his head was turned by the lure of Spanish giants Barcelona. Hleb's close control, trickery and ability to create goalscoring opportunities was catching the eye of a number of clubs, but it was Barcelona who made the most noise and signed him. However, he only made five starts in La Liga before rejoining Stuggart on loan. He went on loan to Birmingham City the following year and then farmed out to Wolfsburg. Hleb is now playing in Russia with Krylia Sovetov Samara.
4. Mathieu Flamini. The French midfielder had one great season at Arsenal in 2007/08 when he was given the chance to replace Gilberto Silva in the heart of midfield and Flamini really showed the fans what he was all about. However, at the end of that campaign he walked away and opted to join crack Italian outfit AC Milan. Just like Hleb, Flamini found first team starts hard to come by and was used as a utility player. In 2011 he helped Milan win the Succedeto and the cup, but his international hopes have evaporated. He hasn't picked up a single cap since 2008.
3. Emmanuel Petit. Another Frenchman who had a huge impact at Arsenal. Paired with the immense Patrick Vieira in midfield, Petit was a star at Arsenal. He helped the Gunners to a league and cup double in 1998 before leaving north London with Marc Overmars to join Barcelona. However, the World Cup winner found life in Catalonia hard and was played out of position. Twelve months later he was back in England, this time with Chelsea. Although the Blues were starting to challenge for honours, Petit failed to win any silverware with them. In 2005 he retired from football through injury.
2. Emmanuel Adebayor. The Togolese international arrived at Arsenal from Monaco for £7 million in 2006 but he took his time settling in at the club. He managed just 12 Premier League goals in his first two seasons, but the bustling striker found the target much easier during the 2007/08 campaign. Adebayor doubled his previous two season's tally in just one season. But he was starting to get ideas beyond his station and demanded an improved contract. Once this was acheived he took his foot off the pedal and enraged the home fans. Manchester City signed Adebayor in 2009 but fell out of favour when Roberto Mancini took charge. It wasn't long before Adebayor had engineered a loan spell at Real Madrid and won the Copa del Rey, but the Spaniards were not prepared to sign him full time. Spurs took him on loan last season and, as he always tends to do, started life with a bang, before going cold.
1. Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman was arguably Arsene Wenger's greatest foray in the transfer market. Anelka joined Arsenal for just £500,000 in 1997 and took the league by storm with his electric pace. Defenders were terrified of him and couldn't cope with him at all. After winning the league and cup double, Anelka's head was turned by Real Madrid. Wenger cashed in on the youngster, making a £22 million profit in the process. Le Sulk, as he was then known, failed to replicate the goods at the Bernabeu, making only 19 appearances for the side, before the manager sent him back to PSG on loan. Since then Anelka has had more clubs than Tiger Woods. Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea and Shanghai Shenhua followed, all with varying degrees of success. However, one must wonder what would have happened to him if he had kept his head clear and remained at Arsenal.
However, there have also been players who have left Arsenal to achieve greater success. Here are the five players who have proved there is life after Arsenal.