The 13 players given debuts by Wenger still playing in Europe’s top leagues

Quick Reads

Arsene Wenger was renowned for his policy of developing youth players during his time at Arsenal, regularly trusting younger players and handing many their first opportunity of first-team football.

Wenger left Arsenal at the end of the season following 22 years at the club, during which time he handed out professional debuts to plenty of players who went on to have successful careers.

We’ve decided to take a look at each player still active away from Arsenal in Europe’s top five leagues and the Championship.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas began making his name in the Arsenal squad the season following the Invincibles as he went on to replace Patrick Vieira in the middle of the park.

The Spain international went on to play over 300 times for the Gunners before returning to boyhood club Barcelona. In 2018, at Chelsea, he joined a four-man club of players who have scored 50 Premier League goals and assisted a further 100.

Francis Coquelin

Coquelin played 160 times under Wenger after making his professional debut for Arsenal in 2008.

He spent time on loan at Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton before eventually leaving to join Valencia for €14million in January 2018.

Serge Gnabry

Wenger had wanted to extend Gnabry’s contract in 2016 but cashed in when the winger was seeking more first-team opportunities, selling him to Werder Bremen for £5million.

He scored 11 goals in 27 Bundesliga appearances, prompting Bayern Munich to activate his release clause, but he spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Hoffenheim, netting 10 times as they finished third.

Kieran Gibbs

After 13 years and 230 appearances for Arsenal, Gibbs finally left north London to join West Brom in 2017.

He featured in 33 Premier League games as the Baggies finished bottom of the league and was involved in a bizarre spat with Wenger in September, claiming he would become a better player now he had left Arsenal.

Wenger responded: “You should ask him what he means about being a better defender at West Brom. He will certainly have to defend more because we are a team that goes forward and they are a team who focus more on defending. Learning is an attitude in life. It doesn’t depend on your geographical status.”

Armand Traore

In the 2006-07 season, Traore played almost all of Arsenal’s run to the League Cup final, during which Wenger was criticised for only playing younger players in the competition as they lost 2-1 to Chelsea in the final.

Now at Nottingham Forest, the left-back played a handful of games on loan at Cardiff in 2018 to help them to promotion from the Championship.

Kyle Bartley

Bartley only ever played once for Arsenal, in a Champions League match against Olympiakos, before a number of loan spells eventually saw him land at Swansea City in 2012.

He stayed in South Wales for six years but made only 36 appearances, spending time on loan at Birmingham and Leeds, before leaving for West Brom in 2018 after both they and the Swans were relegated from the Premier League.

Rui Fonte

Another of the youngsters to play once and once only for Arsenal under Wenger, Jose Fonte’s younger brother has since spent time at both Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, without making a senior appearance for either.

After spells at various clubs, he helped Fulham to promotion from the Championship in 2018 before joining Lille on loan.

READ: Where are they now? Every player to play once for Arsenal under Wenger

Gilles Sunu

Now 27, winger Sunu has made 155 career appearances in Ligue 1, featuring for Lorient, Evian and Angers.

He played just twice for Arsenal and nine times on loan at Derby, joining Lorient initially on a temporary deal before making the move permanent in the summer of 2011.

In 2018 he left Angers to join BB Erzurumspor in the Turkish Süper Lig.

Nico Yennaris

After first appearing in the League Cup, Yennaris then received an unexpected league bow when he came on at half-time of a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in 2012.

“Nico is a fantastic player, but also has an excellent attitude,” said Wenger after the match, but the midfielder only made four appearances for the Gunners.

After a few injury problems, he has now established himself as a regular at Championship side Brentford.

Wojciech Szczesny

“We have identified Wojciech as a future great, great goalkeeper,” gushed Wenger after Szczesny’s debut in the League Cup back in 2009.

A number of errors led to Wenger searching for other options, however, and after two years on loan at Roma the goalkeeper joined Juventus in 2017.

Henri Lansbury

Talking of goalkeepers…

You might know Lansbury as a midfielder, but West Ham fans remember him most for keeping goal for the second half of a 4-1 victory over Blackpool after Sam Allardyce had named no substitute stopper.

Lansbury made eight appearances for Arsenal but spent four separate spells out on loan before joining Nottingham Forest in 2012 and then Aston Villa four years later.

READ: The strange story of the TWO Arsenal outfielders who kept goal for West Ham

Isaac Hayden

Following a loan spell at Hull in which the Tigers were promoted to the Premier League, Hayden joined Newcastle in 2016, playing 33 times in their promotion-winning campaign.

It was a case of what could have been at Arsenal for the midfielder, who was due to start his first Premier League game in 2014 aged just 19, only to damage ankle ligaments in training on the day prior to his debut and sit out the entire season.

Ignasi Miquel

As a youngster Miquel attracted significant attention, with Valencia and Manchester United both chasing his signature before Arsenal snapped the defender up.

He made only 14 first-team appearances for Wenger’s side, though, before spells at Leicester, Norwich, Ponferradina and Lugo. He joined Malaga in December 2017 but could not prevent them from being relegated and so left for Getafe at the end of the season.


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