Arsenal are known more than most for giving young players opportunities – but not everyone can make the grade at Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger gave countless prospects the chance to taste first-team football at Arsenal and new boss Mikel Arteta has already shown he is willing to do the same.
But what about the ones that got away? We’ve taken a look at how every academy graduate sold *for a fee* since 2014-15 has fared since leaving north London.
After joining Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003, Djourou made his senior debut the following year but was a maligned figure for the majority of his time in the first team and drifted away from the club following loan spells at Hannover and Hamburg, who he subsequently joined permanently.
Since the start of 2017-18, the centre-back has made just 24 appearances at club level following spells at Antalyaspor and SPAL.
He left the latter after making just six appearances in six months and took a year out of the game “to give the body and head a break” before joining Sion in January, giving him the opportunity to play club football in his native Switzerland for the first time.
A transfer to Norwich City failed to translate into a single league appearance, and Miquel is now onto his fifth Spanish team in five years by spending the season on loan at Girona from Getafe.
Currently nursing a knee injury that has ruled him out for the season while on loan at Bristol City from Stoke, Afobe has proven a reliable striker at Championship level but has failed to continue that form whenever given a chance in the Premier League.
— Colin Sutton (@sutts007) February 1, 2020
Olsson’s Arsenal career amounted to 37 minutes as a substitute in a League Cup tie at West Brom in which he scored from the penalty spot in the Gunners’ shoot-out victory.
Despite breaking his leg in his first training session with Sweden’s senior side, the midfielder has established himself in the squad and now plays in Russia with FC Krasnodar.
Persistent knee injuries have prevented Eisfeld, who linked up with Arsenal’s Under-23s upon joining as a hot prospect from Borussia Dortmund, from fulfilling his potential.
The attacking midfielder joined Bochum via a brief spell at Fulham in 2015 but has made 20+ appearances in a season just once in Germany’s second tier.
West Ham signed Dobson from Arsenal before the midfielder could break into the first team, but it was a similar story in east London.
He then made the eye-catching move to Sparta Rotterdam before returning to England with Walsall. Now 22, he has been a regular for Sunderland in League One this season.
Arsenal agreed a deal to sign Silva when he was just 16, meaning the forward remained at Fluminense until turning 18. He was then sent on loan five times to Spain (where he was told to stop eating so much pizza by Levante) in order to gain a Spanish passport after being denied a work permit to play in England.
Upon finally gaining a work permit, the forward spent a season on loan at Bolton before returning to Fluminense. At least he’s got that Spanish passport now.
Over 100 appearances for Newcastle, like a proper grown-up.
There was plenty of intrigue surrounding McGuane’s name after the youngster left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2018. He became the first player to represent Barca since Gary Lineker in 1989 when he turned out for the club in the Supercopa de Catalunya but is spending 2019-20 on loan at Dutch outfit Telstar, although reports suggest he is set to join Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal.
At Valencia, boring everyone that will listen about that away game at Manchester City.
Quite possibly one that got away, Malen is beginning to shine for PSV and broke into the Holland team earlier this season. Shortly after his international debut, he scored all five goals as PSV thrashed Vitesse 5-0.
A return to Arsenal has already been speculated.
Every time we read that Gibbs is 30 years old we’re plunged into existential despair.
We’re still busy thinking about Kieran Gibbs’ age and how we’re all hurtling towards death. But anyway: Hull City.
Mourgos was snapped up from Arsenal’s academy by Norwich, spending the last two seasons on loan in Holland with Dordrecht.
Arsenal allowed Bennacer to join Empoli, then of Serie B, for a fee of around £1million in 2017. The midfielder helped Empoli win promotion and then caught the eye in Serie A, despite their relegation, to earn a €16million move to AC Milan in the summer.
Best dribble success rate of players to attempt 30+ in Serie A this season
🥇 Ismael Bennacer (85.1%)
🥈 Sandro Tonali (84.8%)
Two of the top young midfielders in 🇮🇹 Italy go head-to-head tonight
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 24, 2020
You’re a liar if you thought Szczesny was good enough to replace Gianluigi Buffon at Juventus.
After spending two years at Dundee following his departure from Arsenal, Kamara joined Rangers for £50,000 in January 2019.
The midfielder has thrived to such an extent at Ibrox that in January the Daily Mail reported Arsenal are now monitoring the 24-year-old amid suggestions they are one of a number of clubs (including Juventus) weighing up an £8million transfer.
A strange tale, Hinds left Arsenal in the summer of 2017 to join Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg but was sacked the following year after going AWOL for “several weeks”.
The striker joined Watford on a one-year deal in the summer, with the Hornets holding an option to extend the deal by a further year.
A relative unknown to many Arsenal fans, Mavididi made headlines by joining Juventus, making his Serie A debut for the club in April.
The 21-year-old striker is spending 2019-20 on loan at Dijon, where he has scored six goals to date.
“What’s been the best thing about living in Italy since your move from Arsenal to Juventus?”
Stephy Mavididi: pic.twitter.com/3tEjzfrVj0
— Andy Ha (@AndyHa_) May 22, 2019
A Portuguese goalkeeper, Virginia was signed from Benfica’s academy only to be similarly plucked from Arsenal’s youth set-up by Everton.
The 20-year-old was sent out on loan to Reading in the summer only to be recalled in January due to a lack of playing time.
After spending January linked with a potential move to West Ham, Akpom ultimately stayed put at Greek outfit PAOK.
The striker played 12 times for Arsenal’s first team but was loaned out on six occasions before thriving in Greece, scoring the winner in the Cup final victory over AEK last term.
“There were several circumstances,” Reine-Adelaide told Lyon Capitale in December 2019. “When I had the opportunity to get playing time, I achieved good and bad performances. So it’s my fault, I must admit, because I wasn’t always good.
“However, I didn’t really have a chance. I played for the cup matches, with players who didn’t know each other very well… It was complicated.”
The midfielder left Arsenal for around £1.5million in 2018 but, after just a single season at Angers, joined Lyon for €25million last summer.
Still just 19, Amaechi joined the influx of young British players moving to Germany last summer after signing for Hamburg in a £2.25million deal.
According to the BBC, the winger rejected interest from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Nice, Hertha Berlin and suitors in the Premier League and Championship to move to Germany’s second tier.
To date, the England youth international has played just 18 minutes in the league for Hamburg, watching on from the bench for the majority of his new club’s fixtures.
Thompson left Arsenal in the summer after seven years in the academy, failing to make a senior appearance despite travelling with the squad to the Europa League fixture with Vorskla Poltava in 2018.
The left-back was sold to Brentford for a reported fee of around £3million but has played just five minutes in the Championship so far.
Iwobi ended a 15-year association with Arsenal by joining Everton in a potential £34million move in the summer. A hamstring injury has curtailed his progress during a difficult season at Goodison Park, while he’s probably not been helped by being bullied by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“They just do little things,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “One time at lunch, I’d gone to get my juice and my lunch was gone. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve not eaten anything yet, where’s it gone?!’ It took me 10 minutes and I was about to get another plate, but then they said, ‘Oh here it is.’ I was so hungry as well!
“I didn’t get that treatment at school. They do little things like that and it annoys me, but it’s a good laugh.”