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How did Arsenal replace departing stars in the past?

With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil seemingly on the way out of Arsenal we look at how Arsene Wenger replaced departing stars in the past

Alexit Britain is upon us.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil look certain to jump Arsenal’s evermore sinking ship, sparking mass panic on Arsenal Fan TV.

But fear not, Troopz, DT, Claude and the blind bloke they brought on the show the other day. Arsenal have been here before.


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Patrick Vieira (2005)

The blow of Vieira’s move to Juventus was softened by Cesc Fabregas, who continued his meteoric rise and inherited the Frenchman’s no.4 shirt.

The demons were further demolished as he outplayed Vieira when Arsenal met Juventus in that season’s Champions League.

Wenger also plucked Abou Diaby and Alex Song from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 respectively to cope with Vieira’s loss.

You couldn’t write it, but you could take a photo of it

Times Newspapers Ltd
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You couldn’t write it, but you could take a photo of it

Ashley Cole (2006)

“When I heard Jonathan Barnett repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. He is taking the piss Jonathan,” was Cole’s reaction to a new contract offer from Arsenal.

Chelsea swapped William Gallas plus cash for Cashley, with Gael Clichy also stepping up into a more regular role.

Gallas, who took Arsenal’s no.10 shirt, looked like an inspired signing until his mental collapse on the pitch at Birmingham.

Public Enemy No.3

AP:Associated Press
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Public Enemy No.3

Thierry Henry (2007)

How do you replace a club legend in Henry?

By signing Brazilian-born Croatia international Eduardo, obviously.

Eduardo arrived from Dinamo Zagreb to share the striking burden with Emmanuel Adebayor, who had his best season in an Arsenal shirt after Henry left for Barcelona.

Henry was so good that he was able to overrule the laws of gravity

AFP
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Henry was so good that he was able to overrule the laws of gravity

Aleksandr Hleb (2008)

Wenger replaced Hleb not once but twice when the Belarus winger followed Henry to Barcelona.

Andrey Arshavin joined from Zenit Saint Petersburg while French wonderkid Samir Nasri arrived from Marseille.

Arsenal definitely had the last laugh as Hleb failed to settle at the Nou Camp, sparking a journeyman career that took him from Birmingham to the furthest corners of Russia.

Strong tan

EPA
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Strong tan

Kolo Toure (2009)

Kolo’s Arsenal career represented Arsene Wenger at his best- arriving from Ivory Coast for £150,000 and establishing himself as a hero in north London.

But when the riches of Man City lured another Arsenal star up north Arsenal turned to 23-year-old Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Injury aside, Vermaelen was a hit at Arsenal with his versatility covering gaps at left-back and in the heart of defence.

Wrong camera

Action Images - Reuters
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Wrong camera

Samir Nasri (2011)

Nasri followed suit in having his head turned by City when he left the Emirates in 2011.

In came English teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton and everyone’s favourite hairline Gervinho from Lille.

We should probably point out that Andre Santos, Park Ju-yeong and Carl Jenkinson also joined Arsenal in the same window.

Doing his best flamingo impression

Bradley Ormesher - The Times
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Doing his best flamingo impression

Cesc Fabregas (2011)

After years of flirting Fabregas returned to Barcelona and left a gaping hole of creativity in Arsenal’s midfield.

Wenger turned to Mikel Arteta who, although neat and tidy, was hardly the most inspiring player to take Arsenal’s midfield forward.

In fairness to Wenger Alex Song stepped up in Fabregas’s absence, to the extent that he was signed by Barcelona the following summer.

Made with the tears of Arsenal fans

Getty Images - Getty
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Made with the tears of Arsenal fans

Robin van Persie (2012)

One out, two in when Van Persie made the lesser-trodden journey from Arsenal to Man United.

Lukas Podolski’s similarly destructive left foot joined from FC Koln while Olivier Giroud was snapped up from Montpellier.

Wenger was clearly a fan of left feet at the time.

Another pic to please Arsenal fans

Reuters
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Another pic to please Arsenal fans

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