Gael Clichy has told the Arsenal podcast that he left because he didn’t feel wanted and there were others who left at the same time who felt the same way, so who are they? Let’s take a look…
“I remember clearly at that time the club was trying to promote more British players,” Clichy said.
“There was a group of four or five players, they were putting them out there, they wanted to build the team around them and I was getting to a point where, not the injuries, but where you feel that the club is saying they [don’t] want to keep you.
“I don’t think they wanted me to leave but I didn’t feel at the time that they wanted me to stay. I believe nowadays in football when you want a player to stay, you tell them you want them to stay and you make sure he stays.
“I didn’t feel that at the time. I’m not the only one, if you look around at the other players who left at the time that I left they would probably tell you the same and I think overall the decision was good for everybody. It wasn’t linked to my injury, it wasn’t linked to anything but I could feel that the club was pushing towards something else.
“If you speak with my close friends, my family, there was a moment where I was dying to finish my career at Arsenal because I was loving every single moment of it. But at the same time seeing how it was going, seeing that for those last few years where we hadn’t won anything, it was down to me as the player and I thought that maybe it was time to break the circle.
“They were trying to promote new players so I said to myself, ‘You know what? Let’s go and see something else.’
Clichy left Arsenal in 2011 and was replaced in the squad by Kieran Gibbs. He was sold to City for £7m.
In relation to Clichy’s comments about other players feeling a similar way leaving, 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 Eboue 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 from a short-term contract in January. 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 Traore 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 following a short spell at BB Erzurumspor, a second-tier Turkish side, which ended in 2019.
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 with no goals or assists, despite arriving as their club record signing last summer.
The season before, he made 43 Championship appearances for QPR, scoring eight and assisting six.
There was also a kid who left that summer called Jamie Edge. He now plays for Gloucester City, where he’s been since 2017.
On the other side, we brought in Carl Jenkinson, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell, Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Eisfeld.
Now you remember that summer, eh?