Arsenal have a proud history of bringing though young talent and making them stars, with some surprisingly excelling and others destined for the top since a very young age.
However, football is a cut-throat business and nothing is guaranteed. That’s shown by these four youngsters who were once heralded as the next best thing in North London but never quite made it, despite being regarded as the best prospects within the club at that time.
These four players, selected by Jonathan Kaney, have gone on to achieve other things elsewhere but their time at Arsenal can be put down as a black mark as they were never up to scratch!
Hit the navigation buttons to see FOUR highly-rated youngsters that never made it at Arsenal!
In the early 2000’s Arturo Lupoli was one of the hottest young prospects in Europe, making a name for himself by scoring a record-breaking 45 goals in 22 games for Parma in the Italian Under-17 League.
When he signed for the Gunners over many other suitors he carried on his goal scoring form at youth team and reserve level, but for whatever reason, while his partner Nicolas Bentdner went on to play in the first team, things just didn’t work out for Lupoli.
He followed the same path out of the club as many of the young Gunners who didn’t make it at the club. He was loaned out to Derby County where he failed to prove himself and since then his career has been on a steady decline as he has played for nine different clubs in the lower leagues in England and Italy. He currently plays for struggling Seria A side Frosinone.
Poor Francis Jeffers will forever be remembered as one of the worst signings in Premier League history. After being a goal-machine wonder kid at Everton, at 20-years-old he signed for the Gunners in 2001 for £8m and was labelled England’s next superstar.
Arsene Wenger, who had labelled him the “fox in the box”, had great faith in his talents, and made him one of his most expensive signings at that point. Unfortunately for everyone it just didn’t work out for Jeffers. His time at the club was blighted by injury and poor form and over time the fans and management lost all faith and patience with him.
Jermaine Pennant signed for Arsenal in 1998 from Notts County for £2 million when he was just 15-years-old, which was a huge amount in those days for such a young player.
He became Arsenal’s youngest ever youth team player (a record later broken by both Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere) when he played in the League Cup on 30 November 1999 and looked to be a promising winger that could learn from and eventually replace Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungerbg.
It wasn’t to be. With the strength of the Gunners forward line his chances in the first team were limited to just five starts in his seven years at the club. He was also plagued by bad attitude problems, indiscipline and off the pitch behaviour which resulted in him shipped out.
Senderos signed for the Gunners in 2002 aged only 17 and as a youth prospect he was seen as our next great defensive hope.
Nothing could be further from the truth. He rose through the ranks to the first team, but he looked vastly out of his depth in the Premier League and never looked equipped with the ability or mentality to play at the top level.