Nine Arsenal wonderkids who never lived up to their potential in North London including Eddie Nketiah and Serge Gnabry

ARSENAL have been responsible for producing some of the Premier League’s finest young talents over the years.

Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have been the latest to take the league by storm in the last couple of seasons.

Nketiah is expected to leave Arsenal at the end of the seasonCredit: Getty

However, some youngsters have not lived up to expectations.

Ian Wright recently slammed Eddie Nketiah, 22, for not making the most of his chances at the club.

In a passionate rant on the Arseblog podcast, he said: “If you’re at Arsenal, in London, a team that’s so capable, the manager has got something, you could be that f***ing centre-forward there for f***ing years.

“Something has happened somewhere along the line.”

Aubameyang sale blasted by Sokratis, Xhaka to stay until he wins major trophy
Paddy Power betting offer: Get £40 in FREE BETS when you sign up and stake £10

With Nketiah running the risk of becoming another failed Arsenal wonderkid, SunSport looks at eight others who failed to make an impression.

Chris Willock

Chris Willock was sold to Benfica in 2017

Chris Willock was sold to Benfica in 2017Credit: Getty – Contributor

Brother of former Arsenal midfielder Joe, Chris was expected to become a club hero after his consistent performances for the U23’s.

However, things did not quite go to plan.

He made just two appearances for the club in the 2016/17 season – both in the Carabao Cup.

He was eventually sold to Benfica in 2017, when Arsene Wenger decided that there was no permanent place for him.

In 2020 he signed for QPR on a three-year deal for a fee of around £750,000.

Willock has since revealed that he is determined to return to the Premier League to play alongside his brother, who is now at Newcastle.

Fran Merida

Fran Merida joined from Barcelona in 2005 but never established himself

Fran Merida joined from Barcelona in 2005 but never established himselfCredit: Bradley Ormesher – The Times

Merida broke into the Gunners’ first team during the 2007/08 season – two years after he joined the club from Barcelona.

He was loaned out to Real Sociedad once during his three-year stint at the club, but on his return he still struggled to secure a regular place in the first team.

In 2012 he joined Atletico Madrid, but that spell was just as unsuccessful.

He was sold by Atletico in 2012 but remained in Spain by joining second division side Hercules, but he was there for a matter of months.

He moved on to Atletico Paranaense, then Huesca, then Osasuna before settling at Espanyol, where he is currently playing.

Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela made most of his appearances in the League Cup

Carlos Vela made most of his appearances in the League CupCredit: Jamie McPhilimey – The Sun

The Mexican international was tipped for greatness when he burst onto the scene in the 2008/09 season.

He scored a hat-trick on his full debut for the Gunners against Sheffield United in the League Cup.

Vela failed to nail down a regular place in the starting line-up and his appearances were limited to the league cup.

He was loaned out five times whilst at Arsenal.

In 2011 he joined Real Sociadad, where he found some form in the six years he spent at the club.

He is currently at Los Angeles FC, where he has scored an impressive 71 goals in 106 games.

Arturo Lupoli

Arturo Lupoli is now playing in Serie D

Arturo Lupoli is now playing in Serie DCredit: PA:Press Association

The Italian striker joined Arsenal in 2004 from Parma after an impressive season for their U17’s side.

He continued his impressive form the following season, scoring 27 goals or Arsenal’s youth squad.

Lupoli was loaned to Derby in 2006, where he scored seven goals in 35 games.

The next season, Arsenal decided to sell him and he returned to Italy to play for Fiorentina.

He is now with Serie D side Borgo San Donnino.

Wellington Silva

Silva did not make an appearance for the Gunners

Silva did not make an appearance for the GunnersCredit: Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow

Wenger praised Silva’s talent when the Brazilian joined Arsenal in 2010.

However, the winger never appeared for the first team.

Until the 2015-16 term, he failed to obtain the necessary work permit in order to play in England.

That year he joined Bolton on loan, but he failed to secure a spot in the starting line-up.

He then moved back to Brazil with Fluminense before going out on loan to Gamba Osaka, where he currently plays.

Gedion Zelalem

Zelalem made his debut at the age of 16

Zelalem made his debut at the age of 16Credit: Getty – Contributor

The midfielder made his Arsenal debut in 2014 at the age of 16.

In doing so, he became the first player born after Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 to play for the Gunners.

Injuries prevented him from permanently featuring in the first team and he was loaned out twice to Rangers and VVV-Venlo.

He is now playing for New York City FC, where he is still limited by injuries.

David Bentley

Bentley scored a fantastic chip against Middlesbrough

Bentley scored a fantastic chip against MiddlesbroughCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

Bentley joined Arsenal in 2001.

Many compared him to Dennis Bergkamp after his sensational chip against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup in 2004.

But, he failed to impress after that and was sold to Blackburn in 2006.

His career failed to take off again during his time at Rovers, and after a poor spell at Tottenham he retired in 2014 at the age of 29.

Serge Gnabry

Gnabry has become a Bundesliga superstar

Gnabry has become a Bundesliga superstarCredit: Getty

Gnabry joined the club in 2012 and spent a four-year spell in North London.

During his stay he was loaned out to West Brom where Tony Pulis infamously claimed that he was “not at the level” to play for the Championship club.

He was sold to Werder Bremen in 2016.

Ukraine snatches Putin's pal 'Prince of Darkness' & offers trade for POWs
Rylan in shock feud with I'm A Celeb star as she tells him to 'get real!'

He was with the Green and Whites for a year and made 27 appearances.

Gnabry then signed for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, where he has become a key asset, scoring 61 goals in 160 appearances.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts