With Mathieu Debuchy set to join Saint Etienne on a free transfer, we looked at some of the other players Arsenal released for free in recent years, and how they got on.
Yaya Sanogo – 2017
Sanogo joined the Gunners in 2013, as a free agent. At 20-years-old, he was seen as an up-and-coming prospect for the future. Four years later, after just 20 appearances and one goal, the Frenchman left the club just as he joined.
Since then, Sanogo moved to Toulouse and tripled that goal tally, with three goals in five starts (18 appearances) this season. Hopefully the 25-year-old continues to push on, because he was always a likeable figure in North London.
Tomas Rosicky – 2016
Rosicky had a very different Arsenal career to Sanogo, but ended up leaving for similar reasons. The Czech international spent 10 years with the Gunners after joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2006. He made 248 appearances for the club and showed his quality in midfield time and again in that time.
Unfortunately, after a couple of long-term injuries earlier in his Arsenal career, the problems just built up later on. By the 2015/16 season, Rosicky could only manage 19 minutes of senior football in the entire campaign. Although he wasn’t ready to retire, the Gunners had to let him go.
The story has a happy ending though. Rosicky rejoined boyhood club Sparta Prague, and made 13 more appearances before his eventual retirement at 37 years old.
Mathieu Flamini – 2016
Flamini is the only player on the list to leave Arsenal on a free transfer twice. First, in 2008, the Frenchman moved to AC Milan. Then he rejoined Arsenal on another free in 2013, before leaving in the same way in 2016.
His second spell at Arsenal perhaps isn’t as fondly remembered as the first. Yet there were still some good moments, for example the brace against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Eventually the Gunners needed to move on though, and Flamini joined Crystal Palace.
The former Gunner spent a year in South London, then moved onto saving the world. He currently works as a partner in GFBiochemicals, who provide an alternative to oil-based products. He speaks about bioeconomy at forums and tries to advance sustainable development. Good thing Wenger let him go.
Ryo Miyaichi – 2015
Miyaichi joined Arsenal back in 2011 after a trial the previous summer. He spent four-and-a-half years with the Gunners, but went on four loans during that time. As a result, he only played seven games for the first team, and didn’t score any competitive goals.
Unfortunately his loan spells weren’t impressive enough to earn him a new deal with Arsenal. Instead, he moved to St. Pauli in the second tier of German football. He’s still playing for them today, and made as many appearances last season (16) as any other season in his career.
Abou Diaby – 2015
The problem was that the midfielder just seemed so talented. Arsenal never managed to replace Patrick Vieira after the invincible left for Juventus (unsurprisingly), and Diaby seemed like the closest person to being able to fill that role. The Gunners kept giving him new contracts and chances to recover as a result, but it just didn’t happen.
After nine years of trying, and just two appearances in his final two seasons, Wenger decided not to extend the player’s contract and let him go. Diaby moved onto Marseille for a couple of years, but didn’t play much more there either. The 31-year-old is currently a free agent.