6 players who learned the grass isn’t always greener after leaving Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey joins the list of big names to flop since leaving Arsenal.

As Arsenal fans, we’ve had to grow used to losing our best players to bigger clubs at times. Many of our heroes have left at the peak of their powers, sometimes for Europe’s giants, and sometimes for our greatest Premier League rivals.

Most painfully, the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Ashley Cole went on to enjoy great success elsewhere that they weren’t getting at Arsenal.

However, many have also learned that the grass isn’t always greener away from our great club, and we’ve picked out six who have struggled and may regret turning their back on us when they did…

Aaron Ramsey

The latest name to join this club is surely Aaron Ramsey, who left at the end of his contract last season to seal a free transfer to Juventus.

Needless to say, the Welshman has not had the impact he would have hoped for at his new club, making only six starts in Serie A all season and now already being linked with a possible speedy exit this summer.

The print edition of Tuttosport, as reported by Calciomercato, cast doubt over Ramsey’s Juve future, and some Gooners have already started calling for his return to the Emirates Stadium!

Alexis Sanchez

One of the most hilarious flops of recent times at Manchester United, Alexis Sanchez just hasn’t looked the same player since deciding he was too good for Arsenal in January 2018.

The Chilean managed just three goals in 32 Premier League games for United before being farmed out on loan to Inter Milan this season, where he’s also struggling.

Imagine Man Utd fans’ excitement when they first signed Sanchez, and contrast it to now when it looks like their club will struggle to even find a buyer for him!

Alex Hleb

A somewhat sad story of a talented player who got a bit ahead of himself after one truly outstanding season for us in 2007/08, Alex Hleb made the big move to Barcelona that summer.

The classy playmaker, however, was behind some much better players at the Nou Camp and barely got a look-in there.

He later admitted he regretted leaving Arsenal, telling the Guardian: “Of course I regret leaving Arsenal. I was playing every week for one of the most exciting sides in Europe, a team which was always in the top four in the Premier League and were Champions League contenders.

“Also, I was being guided by one of the best coaches in the world in Arsene Wenger. I owe him a great deal. I developed a better all-round game under him and I became more robust physically, learnt to look up more and play better passes and generally improved greatly as a team player. No player ever gets worse under Wenger. For me, leaving Arsenal was not a good move.”

Alex Song

Like Hleb, Alex Song also got a bit big for his boots after his finest season in an Arsenal shirt in 2011/12, leaving for Barcelona that summer.

And again, much like Hleb, the Cameroonian simply found himself behind far too many world class midfielders who were on the books at the Catalan giants at the time, begging the question: what did he think was going to happen?

It’s certainly a shame Song made this decision when he did, as he looked on the path to becoming a fine player for Arsenal, only to end up out on loan at West Ham and seeing his career totally fade in recent years.

Thomas Vermaelen

There’s a pattern here, isn’t there? Barcelona sign so many players from us that, along with the hits like Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas, there are always bound to be a fair few misses as well.

Like Hleb and Song, Thomas Vermaelen proved another poor purchase for Barca, with the Belgian already looking in decline in his final season with us as injuries started to take their toll.

Vermaelen barely made an impact in his five years at the Nou Camp, featuring in only 34 La Liga games, and is now playing with Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

Bacary Sagna

Like Ramsey, Bacary Sagna left Arsenal as a free agent and looked like he’d have plenty of offers from elite European clubs.

Unfortunately, Sagna ended up at Manchester City in a time when they were going through something of a transitional period, and he simply didn’t live up to expectations there, failing to lift the club to bigger and better things.

Sagna may not have won much in his time at Arsenal, but he left with an FA Cup winners’ medal, whereas at City he only picked up one League Cup winners’ medal in three seasons. Was it really worth it?


  1. Sanga was a top player but was being paid garbage salary compared to a lot of Wengers deadwood. He got paid a good salary at City. Vermaelen was injury prone a defensive liability and was gladly off loaded by Arsenal. Does not play much but gets paid heaps soaks up the sunshine and his team has won mega trophies. Smart man. Sanchez was brilliant 2 seasons then he and Wenger started playing power games. Sanchez won and gets 500k p/w for doing fe#k all living in sunny Rome. Arsenal meanwhile lost 60mill 😢 Ramsey saw what Sanchez got and what Ozil Aubameyang and Lacazette we’re being paid and Wenger again thought he would out smart the player. … but no. Ramsey gets fat salary Arsenal lose 50M in transfer fee. Song was a fine player but was let down by those around him. Fans scapegoated him so when the call came he left.

    1. So it’s all Wenger’s fault? There is always a reason why a player will move clubs at least once in his career. Arsenal has had many stars move to become duds at other clubs. Remember Glitchy, Kolo, Adebayo, Fabregas to name but a few. Wenger had no influence of what became of their careers after they left Arsenal. The blame Wenger for everything cry is old and tired man

          1. Arsenal is bigger than any other player in this world and all those players could be better options for coaching “arsenal” if they had the team’s love at heart. But look at them all where are they loosing as player it doesn’t mean you will lose it when your coaching to. Self confidence IN #ARTETA I trust

  2. We can add v persie to the list
    He had 1 superb season with manutd, the rest is sh*t
    He even been kick out to fenerbahce

    Also Anelka, petit and overmarc from long2 past histories

  3. Pretty sure there are way more who don’t regret leaving Arsenal, apart from Fabregas there’s also
    K Toure
    Giroud (!)

    And if we finish 14th or worse, Hayden and Iwobi and Walcott won’t regret it either!

      1. And what did they get at Arsenal? No trophies with low salary and phantom ambition by the club. I would’ve left sooner than them. For all intent and purpose they have left dry land for greener pasture.

        1. Low salary?
          We give some of the best salaries in the PL

          We offered Alexis £350,000 per week. We pay Ozil £350,000 per week. Aubameyang makes over £170,000 per week

  4. Surely it depends what exactly these players understand by ” the grass is/is not always greener”. I suggest that to most, if not all, the financial wage grass was far greener, at least. As to other factors, each player will have his own private reasons, some involving increased chance of silverware(at least as perceived by them at the time). Other factors also apply but who knows what or how many other factors to each respective player. BUT all are pros and earn money, which is ALWAYS a main factor. So, if you they are getting richer, who can say they are wrong. Remember too, players are NOT fans of the club they play for(or at least hardly ever), whatever they pretend when kissing the badge and on social media. They simply know what side their bread is buttered at the time. But, if MORE butter is available elsewhere though, well………!

  5. Your right JF. There are very few who are “one club” players these days with one notable exception, namely the Worlds finest , Lionel Messi..Goodness knows what he has earned during his career with Barcelona, but however much it has been money well spent.The word mercenary comes to mind to describe some of our ex players including Ramsay who I thought was Arsenal through and through.

  6. I wise arsenal as a club can become more stable…

    The players leaving and their reasons is very socking….

    If they pay, some players say they under pay, if the pay others, fans say they over pay..

    Its a business, and I think its business men who does business..
    Players managers/ agents.. Weldone to your own impact…

    It is not easy…

  7. These were all great players, and I’m thinking back on how much money we earned from their sales, and it’s not much at all. The fact that this list goes so far back, and is still currently happening shows how far the club has to go to get the right personnel behind-the-scenes. If Auba does not sign a new contract this summer, he must be sold. Arsenal needs to stay firm to this philosophy.

  8. They still got paid fantastic wages, I can’t feel too sad for them. They were found out as average, yet made more that year than most people will earn in a lifetime of working wages.

    I don’t remember anyone forcing them out of the club, or expecting them to sign for minimum wages like working stiffs.

    The days of the “one club” players Grandad spoke on are all but gone. Agents, sponsors, and such have killed that off, and likely never to come back.

  9. I wonder how many of these players who left us actually wanted to leave or was it just their agents wanting them to leave so they can get their cut. It seems that nowadays players go where the agents want them to go rather than what the player wants.

  10. True Grandad, but i think if Messi’s salary was not what it is, do u think he will still be at barca?. Even the so called mercenaries are yet to earn a fraction of his salary. Money matters. I think few of us will turn down an offer to earn more for doing the exact samething albeit in a different geographic setting.

  11. I think Ramsey didn’t deserve to be in the list because of the manner he left the club,unlike others like Sanchez who forced a way out from the club when it was clear that the club offered him a new contract and though,Ramsey left our club but he still a gunner!

  12. Ramsey leaving Arsenal was due to poor judgment of Unai Emery and Ivan Gazidis poor management and not because the player thought the grass was greener at Juventus

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs