Arsenal have in recent weeks imploded, crashing out of three major trophies in the space of a few days. I wonder how different things would have been if managers of Arsenal’s past and present had held onto a few of these players for a little while longer.

Jay Bothroyd

From throwing his Arsenal shirt at the bench to picking up his first England cap, is quite a journey for Cardiff’s inspirational striker. Robin Van Persie prolific on his day but injury prone, coupled with Marouane Chamakh and the man the fans love to hate in Nicklas Bendtner leaves the Arsenal following craving other days. Days when Ian Wright Wright Wright and Henry scored for fun. Bothroyd’s stats, for this season alone, 33 appearances with 18 goals, are impressive; coupled with a maturity at 28 that means he keeps his shirt on. Perhaps this is one that Wenger let ‘slip through the net.’

Alexander Hleb

The answer to Robert Pires. The Belarusian was a fan’s favourite with his abundance of tricks, nimble footwork and the anticipation that something might always happen with the ball at his feet. Although I consider Samir Nasri to be of the same mould as Hleb; It is clear that Nasri and Fabregas do not compliment one another in that attacking midfield line. However, Hleb had it in his ‘armour’ to allow Fabregas to have the commanding midfield role that he so loves.

Sol Campbell

Big Sol left the Emirates with Wenger, like many others, predicting the centre back would move abroad. Campbell surprisingly though, moved down to the south coast and joined Portsmouth. Sol’s time at the club was very successful, leading Pompey to a FA Cup final victory in 2008. How useful Sol’s experience, leadership qualities and obvious knack for winning trophies (this was his third FA cup winners medal) could have been to an Arsenal side, that with every fixture that passes, look more and more likely to end a seventh season with an empty trophy cabinet.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst

Left Arsenal after being deemed surplus to requirements and joined Spanish giants Barcelona. During his time at Barcelona Gio won two La Liga titles and the Champions League in 2006 beating Arsenal 2-1 in the final. Enough said really.

William Gallas

Everyone agreed with ‘Le Professeur’ that it was time for William Gallas to move on; with such a dramatic fall from grace as captain combined with his reported disruptive influence in the changing room. Fans and players alike were pleased to see the back of the fiery Frenchman. Fast forward six months and Arsenal’s unpredictable back line has single handedly destroyed the Gunners quadruple chances in the space of a fortnight. Over the other side of North London William Gallas is being worshipped. Gallas’ Champions League experience, regaining of form and formidable partnership with Michael Dawson has been instrumental in Tottenham’s success in challenging the ‘big boys’ in the league and in Europe. How much Wenger would love to partner Laurent Koscielny alongside an experienced centre back and add some stability to Arsenal’s back line.

Robert Pires

The ‘flat footed’ Frenchman fell foul like so many before him to Wenger’s policy of only offering players over thirty one year contacts. Pires in his time at Arsenal scored 62 goals in 189 appearances a remarkable record for a midfielder. Arsenal still haven’t replaced the free-scoring and influential midfielder who would be vital to an Arsenal team that so often in recent times fail to kill off games that they dominate. Only Robin Van Persie is in double figures for league goals this season.

Patrick Vieira

Went on to represent Juventus, Inter Milan and now Manchester City clearly the powerful Frenchman still had a lot to offer the footballing giants of the game. The sale of Patrick Vieira has left an ever present void in the middle of the park for Arsenal. Gone are the days when the Gunners would dominate the midfield battles with a bit of good old fashioned steel and determination. Twinned with Vieira’s leadership qualities, Arsenal could very much use Vieira to help boost and motivate a deflated and weary looking Arsenal side.

Nicolas Anelka

Since leaving Arsenal Nicolas Anelka has scored an impressive 126 goals in 370 appearances for numerous clubs, won six major trophies in four different countries and won the Premier League golden boot. Throw in the fact Anelka has scored against Arsenal on numerous occasions since leaving and then only a fool would not want the talented Frenchman in an Arsenal that has failed to replace Thierry Henry’s goalscoring ability for nearly four years.

Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole left Arsenal in controversial circumstances due to off the field matters. However, when you take into account Cole’s ability on the pitch you can understand, but not agree, with Chelsea breaking several ‘FA laws’ in the signing of the England international. Kieran Gibbs is being dubbed ‘the next Ashley Cole’ but it would be so much better if it were the real Ashley Cole, bombing down the left wing non-stop for 90 minutes. Admittedly all ‘The Sun’ readers will disagree with my choice of Ashley Cole because ‘we all love Cheryl Tweedy’ but surely the ‘world’s best left back’ should be on the list, regardless.

Andrew Cole

“Andrew Cole played for Arsenal! This good looking, suave and cheeky journalist knows nothing, mate” I know that is what you’re all thinking, however Andrew Cole made one competitive substitute appearance for Arsenal before being sold to Second Division Bristol City for £500,000. Arguably the biggest mistake in Premiership transfer history, so far. Cole amassed 187 Premier League goals, a feat only topped by Alan Shearer. If only George Graham kept hold of the future second highest Premier League goalscorer, it would have been Arsenal fans singing “Andy Cole, Andy Cole, Andy Andy Cole, he gets the ball, and scores a goal, Andy Andy Cole.”


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