Arsenal’s last game against Dinamo Zagreb saw the Gunners qualify for the Champions League group stage with a 2-1 win against the Croatian side.
After a 3-0 win away from home, the narrow victory at the Emirates Stadium was enough, despite the consolation goal scored by a certain Eduardo da Silva.
That night his goal and all-round performance were what convinced Arsène Wenger to pursue the Brazilian-born striker and 12 months later he was an Arsenal player.
“I saw him [at Emirates Stadium] and that’s where I saw that he had something special,” the manager said to Arsenal Player as he prepares his side to face Dinamo Zagreb nine years on. “With his history as well, he was a young Brazilian boy who adapted in a completely different country.
“I thought the adaptation would be easy for him to come to London. I was pleased to take him at the time. I think he was about £9 million or £10 million, which today doesn’t look a lot for a good striker of his quality.”
Eduardo was a terrific player, a technically superb poacher with a brilliant left foot and incredible instincts in front of goal.
By January of his first season, Eduardo broke into the team and managed six goals and assists in seven Premier League games when playing from the start. However, that run came to an abrupt end when a horror tackle at Birmingham left him with a broken ankle and he wasn’t to be seen for over a year.
“The regret we had for Eduardo is of course the bad injury he got, but he was a great player. We have fond memories of him and he is still loves our club,” Wenger said.
“Zagreb had two players in their squad at that time – one was called Modric and the other Eduardo. The two have had great careers.
“Many times when I’ve seen him, he’s always spoken highly of our club. I think Zagreb at the time were a very strong team and they are back now to the level where they were at the time.”
Who knows, maybe Arsenal’s next number nine will line up against us and catch Wenger’s eye on Wednesday night.