Five Arsenal flops who shone after leaving

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • 16 Feb 2022 13:43 GMT
  • 4 min read
Bayern winger Serge Gnabry

Arsenal are no strangers to their stars wanting to move on to bigger and better things.

The club's inability to consistently compete for silverware over the past 20 years has meant that the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie have actively attempted to leave.

However, there are also exits that are regretable from players who did not perform to the best of their abilities but who showed what they can do at another club.

Here are five players who found their best form elsewhere away from Arsenal.

Serge Gnabry

One of Arsenal biggest regrets in recent years was not spotting the incredible potential of Serge Gnabry.

He left the Emirates for an undisclosed fee and immediately posted double figures in goals in the 2016-17 season for Werder Bremen.

This encouraged Bayern Munich to snap him up for just €8 million and, after a successful year on loan at Hoffenheim, he would then explode at the German giants.

He has hit at least 10 Bundesliga goals in every single season for the club and enjoyed his best campaign when they won the treble in 2019/20, scoring 23 goals and recording 13 assists in all competitions.

David Bentley

At one point in his career, David Bentley was unfairly dubbed as 'the next David Beckham'.

Due to his love of a trendy haircut, his prowess from dead balls, and his crossing abilities, Bentley received probably unwanted comparisons to the England legend.

Well thought of at Arsenal, he would eventually leave after not making a significant amount of first team appearances in the search of first-team football.

David Bentley, Arsenal

His excellent spell at Blackburn would result in a big-money move to Tottenham as well as a call-up for England.

He would some back to haunt the Gunners, too, scoring a ridiculous volleyed goal at the Emirates from the halfway line for Spurs.

Wojciech Szczesny

Wojciech Szczesny is another player whose talent and potential was never realised or recognised at the Emirates.

Immediately after leaving England for Italy (initially on loan) he began to show why he had been so highly rated as a youngster. So good was he at Roma he initially kept future Liverpool superstar Alisson out of the team, which prompted Juventus to sign him permanently in 2018.

After a year as Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy, Szczesny has since been the club’s undisputed number one and one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Serie A.

Perhaps his time at Arsenal was simply too early in his career, as the Poland international has developed as time has gone on.

Ismael Bennancer

Ismael Bennacer made just one appearance for Arsenal and clearly wasn't highly rated at the club, but was an instant hit at Empoli, winning promotion in his first season.

The midfielder then impressed in Serie A to earn a move to rebuilding giants AC Milan last year.

Real Madrid, PSG and Man City target Bennacer assessed

He enjoyed an excellent first season as the Rossoneri exploded into form in 2020.

Bennacer was once considered a key player for Milan, and although he does still see plenty of action, he has made more appearances from the bench than from the start in 2021/22.

Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela was just 17 when he made the brave move to Europe from Mexico, signing for Arsenal in 2005.

There was a lot expected of the young wonderkid, especially due to the fleeting moments of brilliance that he displayed when given a chance at the club.

Vela failed to settle in North London and went on loan numerous times to Celta, Salamanca, Osasuna, West Brom and Real Sociedad.

After expressing a desire to leave, he joined the Basque side on a permanent basis and it was in Spain that he arguably enjoyed the best time of his career so far, scoring 73 times in 250 games.

The player has said himself he does not look back fondly on his time at Arsenal.