Aubameyang released a statement yesterday saying he was disappointed not to get a proper chance to say ‘Goodbye’ to Gooners after his free transfer to Barcelona.
Aubameyang said: “Having the chance to win trophies and the honour of being the captain of this club is something I will forever keep in my heart.
“I have always been 100% focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts – but that is football.
“I’m sad I did not get the chance to help my teammates in the last few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and truly wish all my guys and the fans all the best and many successful years in the future!”
Whether you question his work rate and leadership qualities, if like me you think Arsenal simply cared about getting his salary off the wage bill, or it turns out that his breach of discipline made his future in North London untenable … This isn’t how the 32 year old envisaged his time as a Gunner ending, when he walked round the Emirates pitch with Ian Wright claiming to want to become a legend at the club.
It got to the point where his employers didn’t even demand a fee while the player himself took a substantial pay cut to make the move to Spain happen.
How was anyone to know that December 2nd would be the last time he would start a fixture in English Football?
With Arsenal not playing till the 10-2-22, I thought I would fill the time up with a list.
Here are 10 players who didn’t leave how they would have liked.
It’s almost fitting that Danny Welbeck’s final season at Arsenal was ended early by a broken leg because that sums up his career, a failure to get a run in a team because of injuries.
There was already a doubt if Unai Emery wanted him to get a new contract offer so as he was stretched off, he knew thanks to one bad tackle he had played his final game as a Gunner
Perhaps no player loved playing for the Gunners more than Ian Wright.
He oftens tell the story of staying round David Rocastle’s house and all-night hearing stories about ‘The Arsenal.’
In his last season at Highbury the striker became the club’s greatest ever goal scorer while lifting his first ever Premiership.
He recognised the emergence of Anelka but assumed he and his agent were attending a meeting to discuss his future in North London.
According to his autobiography, Wright noticed that David Dein was in tears.
Arsene Wenger informed Wright that West Ham were in the room next door, willing to offer a higher wage with longer duration.
Wright recalls being rushed through to sign a contract with the Hammers before crying as soon as he was alone in the car park.
In hindsight he feels the two clubs organised the meetings that way, because if given the chance to think with emotion, he would have said no to Upton Park
It took a lot for Mr Wenger to give up on a talent, but he essentially washed his hands of the keeper when catching him smoking in the Southampton showers, having just made two mistakes.
The goalie had been warned about this before.
He would never play in the Prem again.
An impressive loan spell in Rome convinced Juventus to buy him.
A Gunner for 9 years the defender damaged his legacy by how he forced a transfer to Bordeaux.
Our then captain refused to attend a preseason tour to America when he felt his employers had broken a verbal promise made by the former regime.
In Arsene Wenger’s last season, Koscielny suffered a serious Achilles injury that prevented him from playing twice a week.
The centrebacks now needed his minutes to be managed.
The Frenchman believed he was ensured that if he found a club willing to pay the asking price he could return to his homeland.
Everyone assumed Jack Wilshere had played enough in his final season for Arsenal to earn a contract extension.
Having suffered so many injuries the midfielder needed to prove his fitness to earn a fresh deal.
Wilshere played 38 fixtures that campaign which was enough for Mr Wenger to ensure him meant he still had a future at the club.
If Mr Wenger hadn’t left Super Jack would have remained.
Instead, one of Unai Emery’s first tasks was to inform the player he didn’t view him as having a place in his first team.
As Jack had previously discussed an incentivised pay as you play contract, he left for West Ham.
Having signed a contract with Villarreal, Pires felt his last Arsenal fixture was destiny.
The Champions League Final in his home country.
When Lehmann was sent off early in Paris though, Mr Wenger was forced to sacrifice an attacking player to bring on a keeper.
Pires felt that him being that choice was a sign that the manager no longer trusted him.
The two went years without speaking until the legend was invited to come back to North London to train with us in 2015.
Ramsey had a contract agreed with Arsene Wenger and believed it was a case of simply putting his signature on a piece of paper.
To his shock, not only did Unai Emery advise his employers to change the offer, negotiations were ended completely.
The new manager’s judgement was that Arsenal were overpaying a talent he viewed as not even first choice.
The irony is Rambo would change his new boss’s mind and was starting every week even after signing a pre agreement with Juventus.
His aim was for his final game as a Gunner to be the Europa League Final.
An injury in Napoli meant he was in a race against time to be fit for Baku.
Little did he know it as he was being stretched off in Naples, he wouldn’t play for us again.
As an Invincible, Lauren deserved a more high-profile exit.
In January 2006 the full back suffered a knee injury which essentially ended his career at the highest level.
A year later Mr Wenger was aware of this, so supported the defender in convincing Portsmouth the injury was less serious than it was.
Since then, the player has admitted he knew when signing for Pompey he wasn’t the player they thought they were buying
In October 2016 Cazorla suffered an injury which was originally downplayed.
He wouldn’t play for another 636 days!
Every week Mr Wenger would wrongly estimate the length of time his midfielder would be out.
He either had been misinformed or was trying to keep information confidential.
In reality, gangrene on the tendon threatened the Spaniard’s ability to walk.
In total he went through 8 operations.
Arsenal showed loyalty extending his contract when a return date wasn’t certain, but had no choice but to let him leave for free the next summer.
The irony being Arsenal had invested time and money in his rehab just to see Villarreal benefit.
He even played for his nation again.
On March 7th, 2020, Ozil assisted the only goal in our win over West Ham.
No one could have predicted he would never pull on a red and white shirt again.
Returning from football being in lockdown Ozil suddenly couldn’t get in the first 11 and very soon the squad at all.
It was unusual for a player’s reward making a goal in his previous game being frozen out. Especially when Arteta kept insisting there had been zero attitude problems and the player was a professional in training.
So, what changed between creating a goal against West Ham to the next fixture?
All we know is Ozil was one of two Gunners to be publicly hung out to dry for refusing a 12.5 salary cut.
The midfielder wanted assurances where that money was going and what the Kroenke Family were intending to do to raise funds to save staff jobs.
The German was proven correct when 55 people were made redundant which players had been promised wouldn’t happen. This led to him offering to cover Gunnersaurus’ wage.
Not backing his political stance, banning him from attending the Cup Final and eventually not registering him for any squads, Arsenal were trying to make him feel so miserable he would walk away from his massive salary. His agent maintained his client would honour a contract all parties accepted.
That was until his deal was ripped up with 6 months remaining.
Essentially for 10 months we had paid a Word Cup winner to sit at home while we finished in our worst position in a quarter of a century.
To stress, I covered the period where I have watched football, so anyone older feel free to add names to the list..
Be Kind in The Comments
Feel sad for Wrighty, Lauren and Pires, real talent, real legends. Wilshire & Carzola were good but not at that level. The rest I would not waste one cent to experience their goodbye. Kos cost us our league cup final against Birmingham and that is still fresh in my mind, something that I will never forget. The rest, less written the better.
Sorry but Cazorla is one of the best players I’ve seen.. He was the maestro of our midfield and we should have kept him as our attacking midfielder instead of buying ozil then changing his position to accommodate the German!
Interesting list, and all written without a dig at the owner – well done 😉
Not many on the list, who we can regret not keeping for longer, because they went on to do better elsewhere.
Probably more, we can regret not getting rid of sooner.
The owner who oversaw Arsenal’s worst finish in quarter of a century you mean ? …
Its the nature of the beast. Going back a hundred years probably over 2,500 Arsenal players did not get to say goodbye. In fact very few had official farewells. Managers too. Emery was sacked and sent on his way in a trice. Arsenals greatest manager Wenger left under a cloud of betrayal and has never returned even once to the Emirates and is bitter to this day. Football clubs do not release players well. Everthing is online so we interact from the screen and the keyboard. Do we ever really get to know any players? From the moment they arrive till the moment they leave they live in a bubble a parallel universe removed from the fans appearing spasmodically in staged interviews to trot out a few scripted cliches. Here today forgotten tomorrow the show goes on we turn the… I mean we refresh the page 🙂
You have a point.
But it is very interesting how different people see things.
I.e. you mention Wenger left under a cloud of betrayal. I see it deifferently. Wenger was “sacked” in a very respectful manner, as he was allowed to resign, at a time when he otherwie would have been sacked. So to him it was essentially a sacking, hence the bitterness, whereas in the public eye, a part believe it was resignation or some kind of mutual agreement.
That’s not how it used to be FF.
One could meet players in the pub, outside the ground, in a restaurant/cafe and they would all interact with the fans, sign autographs and talk about the game.
Dan, great article and a walk down memory lane.
One player that you missed out on (I believe) was Patrick Vieria, the greatest midfielder I have ever seen play for the Arsenal.
I know he came back with Juve and the crowd gave him the usual banter, but he deserved so much more… probably along the lines of Dennis Bergkamp’s Farewell testimony game.
Does Aubameyang come into this criteria?
I believe he does, along with Ozil, because of the circumstances leading up to them leaving.
Great read once again!!
Very nice comment and write up . It’s normal in football
Nice collection, albeit vastly different scenarios and trajectories.
The only detail I have difficulties to believe is the Ramsey saga. I am positive we are not aware of important details, because the official narrative – as reported by Dan, too – is so unlikely, that would present the board not in a simply incompetent light, but also retarded. Which I refuse to believe, even if I don’t hold every member in the highest regard. But the option that somebody is lying – or leaves out crucial elements from the story – is much more convincing than this level of incompetence.
There is a different angle on Ramsey.
There was indeed a contract offer on the table, but he wanted more and dragged out signing, The offer was also there, in the first part of Emery’s tenure, but still no signature by Ramsey, and in the end it was withdrawn.
So maybe the club acted not only prudent but also wisely, as it turns out.
As it turned out ?
We went on to finish 8th and 8th?
at some point in time I can only hope that common sense will finally prevail and we will stop taking what appears to be the easy way out when it comes to the assigning of blame in these matters…it simply can’t be a coincidence that this continually happens at our specific club, especially considering the manner in which many of these cases have similarly unfolded
for me the author-provided list clouds this fact as it includes far too many players who were logically moved on from due to actual football related issues, such as age, skill depreciation etc…, whereas if we look specifically at the post-Highbury era, this narrative has drastically changed…in most cases, choices were made that were counter-intuitive, from a footballing perspective, then sold to the fanbase in a largely disingenuous manner, like the seemingly constant propagation of the misguided notion that we lacked the financial capabilities to retain their respective services and/or through an intentional campaign of media leaks meant to undermine the player in question’s relationship with the fanbase
these attempts to intentionally deceive were purposely devised in order to protect a managerial/ownership agenda that was primarily self-serving and oft-times wasn’t in the best interests of the club as a whole…by adopting such deceptive practices, not only did it disguise the real underlying agenda, it likewise made it infinitely easier to move on from each of these respective players even when the terms of each particular departure were far from optimum
therefore, it’s high time that we had a serious look in the mirror and stopped taking the path of least resistance or this will continue to happen time and time again, which will ultimately be to our detriment
To me Koss didn’t tarnish his Arsenal legacy.at the time I said that this whole saga epitomised where we were as a club, desperate to hang on(by all means even dirty ones) to a 34 years old CB,injury prone,whose body had broken down and wouldn’t have been able to play half of the season’s games.to me this was a new low in the club history.