Jeremie Aliadiere admits he regrets leaving Arsenal when he did, and wonders whether he could’ve taken over from Thierry Henry if he’d stayed.
The 35-year-old recently ended a spell with Lorient, although he hasn’t officially called time on his playing days just yet. It’s been more than 10 years since he brought his time in North London to an end, but the decision still leaves a bad taste in Aliadiere’s mouth, as he told SFR Sport.
“I left for Middlesbrough because I forced the move, because I was 24 and needed to play,” he said. “He [Arsene Wenger] was telling me to stay because I’d play. Now, I regret it. For me, Arsenal was the ideal club, and I wanted to do my whole career and spend my life there.
“It felt like a failure when I felt I had to leave, but it’s true that now, I arrived at the same time at Thierry Henry and left at the same time at Thierry Henry. If I’d stayed an extra year, maybe I could have taken his spot.”
It’s debatable whether Aliadiere would’ve had the chance to take over as Arsenal’s first-choice striker. Emmanuel Adebayor scored for fun in 2007/08, managing 30 goals for the campaign.
Meanwhile Eduardo was impressing, and scored 12 before his career-threatening injury. Robin van Persie was also scoring a fair amount when he was in the team.
Perhaps the Frenchman would’ve had some opportunities when those two picked up their injuries though. Plus, Adebayor left for Manchester City in 2009, so he wouldn’t be around for competition much longer.
Either way, at least there are no hard feelings between Aliadiere and his former club. Arsene Wenger recently invited the player back to train at London Colney, and the forward called the manager the best he’s ever had.
Hopefully Aliadiere can find a club for the final stage of his career, or a role behind the scenes at Arsenal if that’s the direction he decides to go in.