Earlier this week, Gael Clichy spoke about why he left the club, saying he wasn’t the only one who left in the summer of 2011 because he didn’t feel wanted, so I decided to see who else went during that window only to discover the start of the Banter Era.
The same summer Arsenal also released Mark Randall and Gilles Sunu for free and sold Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue, Samir Nasri, Armand Traore, and Luke Freeman.
From that list, there were only two players that the club wanted to keep – Fabregas and Nasri – and rightly so when you look at where the rest ended up. It’s hardly a list of people who went on to have stellar careers.
Where are they now?
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who is now 29, plays for PTT Rayong in Thailand.
Cesc Fabregas could still be at Arsenal if we’d taken the chance to re-sign him when Barcelona were shipping him off. We didn’t. Now he’s playing in France with Monaco and is still only 33.
Emmanuel Eboue has been without a club since 2016. Since leaving Arsenal has been banned for a year by FIFA for not paying his agent, suffered mental health problems and financial issues following his divorce.
Samir Nasri enjoyed success with City but it all went a bit south when he was handed a lengthy doping ban. He currently plays for Anderlecht.
Armand Traore, 30, is without a club since Cardiff City released him in January from a short-term contract. He didn’t play a single minute for them. Before that, he had been with Caykur Rizespor who tried to sell him in 2019 but couldn’t find a buyer.
Ultimately, they had to release him from his contract to hit their foreign player limit when Traore couldn’t find a club himself.
Gilles Sunu, who is still only 29, is another without a club since a short spell at BB Erzurumspor, a second-tier Turkish side.
Luke Freeman currently plays for Sheffield United after showing himself to be a decent Championship-level player. This season, in the Premier League, he has played nine times for the Blades, despite arriving as their club record signing last summer.
There was even one kid who left that summer called Jamie Edge. He now plays for Gloucester City where he’s been since 2017.