Miss you Weng you’re gone: 10 players Arsene should have kept

Ollie Irish

15th, May 2007


With Steve Sidwell making the move from Highbury to Stamford Bridge, via the Madejski Stadium in Reading of course, Pies looks at 10 giveaways which could/or have come back to bite Mr Wenger on the Arsene.
1 Steve Sidwell
sidwell_arsenal.jpgWenger let a 20-year-old midfielder by the name of Steven Sidwell slip through his net in 2003. Reading boss Alan Pardew snapped off his hand after being told he could take the promising youngster for an initial fee of £75,000. It seems Sidwell will join Chelsea this summer when his contract expires.

2 Matthew Upson
Upson%20arsenal.JPGInjury-prone he may be, but there must have been times this season when Wenger wished he had Matthew Upson to call upon to marshall his Arsenal under 12s defence. On his day Upson is among the best centre-backs in the country. He left in 2003, shortly before Sidwell, in a £3 million deal. Birmingham City doubled their money when they sold him on to West Ham.
3 David Bentley
bentley_shot.jpgThe weedy showboater Wenger loaned out to Norwich and then sold to Blackburn has bulked up and matured considerably. Still only 22, Bentley has been on top of his game this season. It must be said that Bentley himself was eager to move away from Arsenal to a club where he could get more first-team action. Wenger allowed him to go to Ewood Park permanently in January 2006 but, with Manchester United reportedly interested, might be regretting letting ‘the new Bergkamp’ go.
4 Anthony Stokes
Stokes.JPGIn July 2006 Stokes was an Arsenal reserve player on the lookout for a loan move. By December – after 16 goals in 18 games at Falkirk – it was clear that clubs were interested in taking him out of the Emirates on a permanent basis. Wenger came out guns blazing to say that Stokes would not be leaving the club. but in January he joined Sunderland in a £2 million deal.
5 Arturo Lupoli
Lupoli.jpgThe Italian under 21 international is another talented youngster to jump ship. After a successful loan spell at Derby County, Lupoli will move to Fiorentina before the start of next season to boost his international credentials. The 19-year-old made just one first team appearance for the Gunners.
6 Luis Boa Morte
Boa%20Morte%20arsenal.JPGWenger spotted Boa Morte’s talent and made the Portuguese one of his first signings. Unfortunately, Boa Morte was flogged to Southampton before he reached his peak and it was eventually Fulham who reaped the rewards of Wenger’s purchase.
7 Fabrice Muamba
muamba_fabrice_afc_profile_2006.jpgThe Congolese-born captain of England under 19s is the most recent departure from the Emirates. We told you last week that Muamba had made his loan move at Birmingham a permanent one despite Wenger publicly saying that he would not be allowed to leave.
8 Sebastian Larsson
larsson_sebastian.jpgAnother youngster allowed to leave to join Birmingham. Perhaps Wenger was convinced the Blues would not get promoted this season. Larsson, like Muamba, initially joined on loan, but made his move permanent in January in a £1 million deal.
9 Sol Campbell
campbell_sol.jpgAfter a troubled spell at Arsenal, the veteran centre-back was allowed to walk out of the club on a free transfer to Portsmouth. He has since rediscovered some of his best form. Wenger must have been pining for his former defensive rock while patching together makeshift Arsenal defences.

10 Jermaine Pennant

Pennant.jpgPerhaps understandably Arsenal became tired of Pennant’s off-the-field misdemeanours and shipped him off to St Andrews (aka Arsenal rejects graveyard!). The pacy winger got his career back on track with Birmingham and earned a big-money move to Liverpool. He has had an impressive first season at Anfield.

Posted in Arsenal, Top 10s & lists

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  1. Ollie, Pies Ed. says:

    Great list Rob – it seems Wenger just doesn’t rate English players

  2. Sheps says:

    6 of these players are why I get so annoyed when Wenger complains that British players are too expensive. Can one honestly say Hleb is better than Bentley? How about Upson vs. Sendoros? Sidwell vs. Flamini?
    It’s ridiculous. I think anyone has a perfectly reasonable right to say that Wenger is a highly negative and unreasonable influence on the state of English football, given he’s a manager in our leagues.

  3. Adam says:

    I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad sign that Arsene keeps sending these guys away. It’s a good sign if it means that they’re not the best young guys that he has in reserves (obviously not including Sol Campbell), but bad if it means he’s just very poor at predicting the future.

  4. arseblogger says:

    1 – Sidwell: Easy to say with hindsight but then Sidwell wouldn’t have been the player he is if he hadn’t left. There was no way he was getting into the Arsenal midfield at that time and going to Reading was how he developed.
    2 – Upson – heh. Rubbish.
    3 – Bentley. He could have stayed, decided to leave but certainly it might have been an idea to do more to keep him. Especially when you see Hleb every week.
    4 – Stokes – £2m for an 18 year old with no pace is good business. Good player but probably not good enough for Arsenal.
    5 – Lupoli – there’s nothing to suggest Arsenal would be better off with him in the squad.
    6 – Boa Morte – where would have played? Ahead of Pires? No. Ahead of Bergkamp or Henry? No. Remember, he went to Southampton and wasn’t up to much till he moved to Fulham.
    7 – Muamba – £4m (more or less) for a 19 year old who is a good player but not good enough for Arsenal at the moment.
    8 – Larsson – a good player. Has more to his game than Song ever did and could be one he regrets.
    9 – Campbell – fat cunt, fuck off. We should have shot him.
    10 – Pennant – he blew every chance he was given and he was given lots. Plus he’s a stupid cunt.
    So in conclusion we should have kept Bentley, probably, and Larsson might have been a squad player.

  5. zha says:

    pretty sensationalist skewing going on here – i don’t really believe wenger particularly regrets letting any of these players go. how many of them can you say would immediately have been of benefit to arsenal’s trophy pushes at the time of their release? none of them. and how many of these players only became desirable after a good few years playing at a lower level where their place was guaranteed – places that arsenal could never have provided without spiting themselves? all of them.
    i could demolish your arguments for every player on the list if you really want, but that’s my basic point.

  6. zha says:

    there u go, arseblogger did it for me! what he said.

  7. zha says:

    i will say that wenger certainly has a tough decision ahead of him regarding bendtner – he could be the ultimate one that got away.

  8. Sheps says:

    arseblog – it’s called loaning players to give them experience, or giving them occasional first team experience as wenger is so keen to do with all his foreign youth.

  9. the gogo says:

    well wenger obviously thought that the players he sent on loan werent good enough to play for arsenal.
    could you honestly say that any of the players mentioned above would be playing for the first team when they returned to arsenal from loan? or even now for that matter. no.

  10. Ashley says:

    There’s a good case to be made for Bentley, Sidwell and Larsson, but I think Wenger probably did right letting the others go. The obvious omissions to the list are Jerome Thomas and Richard Hughes both of which have been excellent (and also hugely frustrating) in patches this season. As for Pennant – well he gave Wenger no choice.
    Interesting to note that Song and Aliadiere are probably on their way along with Flamini, Reyes, Baptista and poss Ljunbgerg.
    So I’d imagine that Bendtner will get a chance next season as Hoyte has taken his this season.

  11. rob2 says:

    absolute rubbish
    never read such shit in my life