Alexis Sanchez is a player who is being discussed almost incessantly this summer. Arsene Wenger has insisted he will be an Arsenal man next season, but many fans are not quite convinced of his conviction.
The reason? Our man Arsene said the same thing about the infamous Robin Van Persie a few years ago, only weeks before his transfer to Manchester United.
So, with the memory of the Dutchman now revived, let’s take a look at five players who betrayed Arsenal.
5. William Gallas
The French defender might just be the most hated man ever to play in London. After moving to Chelsea in 2001, Gallas was packaged along with $6.5 million and transferred to Arsenal in exchange for Ashley Cole (more on him later).
Just four years later William Gallas did the unthinkable and signed for Tottenham Hotspur as a free agent. Any player who jumps around between rivals is surely asking for a label of Judas.
However, he makes this list at number five for not only moving across North London, but for his comments he made in November 2008. Following a draw against Spurs, and a win over Man U, the then-captain told the press Arsenal’s dressing room was divided, and that the young players were cowardly.
“We are not brave enough in battle. I think we need to be soldiers. We have to be warriors. There are teams who can do it well against us and we have to be able to face up to these attacks. That is how they (Arsenal’s young players) will forge their character and how they will get experience.”
“When, as captain, some players come up to you and talk to you about a player, complaining about him, and then during the match you speak to this player and the player in question insults us. There comes a time where we can no longer comprehend how this can happen. I’m trying to defend myself a bit without giving names. Otherwise I’m taking it all (the blame). It’s very frustrating.”
His outburst caused Wenger to bench Gallas, fine him, and strip him of the captain’s armband, giving it to a young Cesc Fabregas. The defender did stay at Arsenal for another two years, until his contract expired.
But, as a sort of revenge, accepted an offer to move across North London to play on the wrong side of the Derby.
So, for bad-mouthing his teammates and for joining that little club across North London, William Gallas makes the list at number five.
4. Samir Nasri
Speaking of Cesc Fabregas, he eventually left the club for his boyhood team, Barcelona, in the summer of 2011 after a long transfer saga. While the protracted negotiations took years off the life of every Gooner, when he left it was with class, and with the thanks of many fans.
However, just weeks later, his heir-apparent as the main creative force for Arsenal forced a move to a domestic rival.
For years Samir Nasri had been playing second fiddle to Fabregas; whenever the Spaniard was fit, the Frenchman had to move out to the wings. Despite the fact he only had one year left on his contract, Nasri was still tipped to become the number ten for years at the Emirates.
But, contract negotiations quickly broke down and although he played in the team’s match against Liverpool just days before the deal, he abjectly refused to play in the Champions League qualifiers against Udinese. The reason? He didn’t want to get cup-tied.
So, instead of earning a paltry $117,000 per week to be the main man at Arsenal, Samir Nasri moved to Manchester City to be a bit-part player for the next six years.
I wonder if a trophy means as much if you just sit on the bench? For selling out for a fat paycheck and an easy ride at Man City, Nasri makes the list at number four.
3. Robin Van Persie
Just one year after both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri left the club, Robin Van Persie was considered one of , if not the, best striker in the world. He scored 30 goals in the Premier League, and 37 in all competitions.
However, just as his French compatriot the previous summer, RVP made it very clear that he would not sign a new contract in North London.
In fact, he didn’t even wait a week after the summer window opened to make the announcement on his website on July 4, 2012. In that announcement he spoke about a meeting held in May between himself, Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis about the club’s future.
“This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all. I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”
Less than six weeks later Van Persie was unveiled at Old Trafford, gleaming as he presented his number 20 shirt to the Red Devils faithful. Despite the fact he claimed the move was not financially motivated, it seemed too much of a coincidence that Manchester United paid the attacker $325,000 per week.
So, for selling out to a club rival, Robin Van Persie comes in at number three.
2. Emmanuel Adebayor
Another temperamental striker makes an appearance on the list, this time in the form of the Togolese attacker Emmanuel Adebayor. After impressing at Arsene Wenger‘s former club, Monaco, ‘Ade’ moved to North London in 2006.
Just three years later, after the takeover at Manchester City, the Gunners received an offer they couldn’t refuse. After signing Adebayor for only $4 million, Arsenal accepted a bid of $32.5 million for the forward.
During these early Emirates years, Arsene Wenger had to be careful with the team’s budget, and since Robin Van Persie was still under a long term contract, the offer was too good to pass up.
So, while the transfer itself was relatively free of treachery, Gooners only had to wait until September to find their new public enemy number one.
In his first meeting with his former club, Emmanuel Adebayor scored a late strike, which ended up being the game winning goal. Instead of the usual refusal to celebrate a goal against a former team, the Togolese sprinted the length of the field to celebrate his goal in front of the travelling Arsenal fans.
He was booked, and of course booed, for his antics, but perhaps the even worse allegations arose after the match.
The usually outspoken Cesc Fabregas told reporters he thought Adebayor tried to stomp on him after he went down during the game. Meanwhile Alexandre Song, Ade’s dearest footballing friend, was shocked and hurt when he revealed being slapped in the face by the striker during the game.
Perhaps the most shocking, other than the fact these three other offences were committed, was his kick to the face of Robin Van Persie. Adebayor did receive a three match ban for the incident, but questions were raised as to why and how all of these outbursts did not cause the Togolese to be sent off during the game.
While he did apologize for the celebration, he never even acknowledged his violent outbursts against his former teammates.
So, for being one of the most violent and unprofessional players ever to shame the Arsenal crest, Emmanuel Adebayor makes number two on the list.
1. Cashley Cole
Ashley Cole, as he was known for the first 26 years of his life, grew up as an Arsenal fan. So, when he had the opportunity to join the Arsenal Academy, he jumped at the chance.
After making his debut at the tender age of 18 for his favorite team, it seemed like he would become a one-club player. It also didn’t hurt that he was also one of the better fullbacks in the game at the time.
Cole went on to make 228 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, winning three FA Cups, and two Premier Leagues in his time. He was also a part of the Invincibles team in 2003-04.
Life seemed sweet in North London for the LB by the time January 2005 rolled around, who was by that point a regular in both the England team as well as at Arsenal. However, the honeymoon wouldn’t last.
On January 2 Cashley, his agent Jonathan Barnett, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea executive Peter Kenyon all met at a London hotel to discuss a possible transfer to the Blues. The problem? No one bothered to tell Arsenal about the situation.
That summer Cole, his agent, Mourinho and Chelsea were all given fines for the illegal contact by the FA, and Barnett’s license to practice was suspended for 18 months.
The saga seemed to die down in July 2005 when Cole signed a new one-year contract extension at Arsenal, but just one year later IT hit the fan.
In July 2006 Cashley told the Sun that the Gunners had treated him “like a scapegoat” the previous year when he had made illegal contact with Chelsea. Arsenal, quite rightly, argued their innocence.
Then, on transfer deadline day, the two clubs came to an agreement to move the player, with Arsenal receiving $6.5 million plus William Gallas in exchange for the want-away fullback. Cole later revealed that the Gunners did offer him a longer contract to stay, but did not meet his wage demands.
At least that’s the polite way to put it. Specifically Cole said he was “trembling in anger” over the figure he was offered, which was reportedly $70,000 per week. Granted Chelsea was offering more ($117,000 per week), but surely making more money than an average citizen does in a year each and every week shouldn’t make someone ‘tremble with anger’.
Especially if the club that offers it is the one you have supported you entire life.
So, Cashley Cole makes the list at number one for being the biggest traitor in Arsenal’s storied history.
Okay Gooners time to have your say!
Which former player do you think betrayed the club the most? Do you think I got the list right? Are there any Arsenal Judas who aren’t on here?
Let me know in the comments below