ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15:  Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie of Arsenal warm-up during training at London Colney on February 15, 2011 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

7 Players Who Improved to the Next Level After Leaving Arsenal

Over the years, Arsenal have had some pretty high profile departures – the Gunners losing some of their best players has always seemed to be far too common a feature with the club.


To list a few, the likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, and most recently, Alexis Sanchez have all left whilst playing brilliantly in red and white. Quite often, it seems that the players who leave north London struggle to recapture their best form at the new club.


However, there are some players who go on to do great things once they leave Arsenal.

1. Ashley Cole

Despite his flaws, Ashley Cole is one of England's best ever left-backs - racking up over 100 caps for the Three Lions. At one stage, he looked nailed on to become an Arsenal legend.


Having graduated from the club's youth academy in 1999, Cole won the Premier League twice with Arsenal and was part of the Invincibles side. He seemed destined for greatness with the the Gunners, until Chelsea came a-calling.


Money was said to play a big part in his departure, with Arsenal offering a 'measly' £55,000 a week contract to Chelsea's £90,000. Cole took the money and never looked back. At Chelsea he won the Premier League, the FA Cup (four times!), the League Cup, both the Europa and the Champions League trophies, truly fulfilling his potential - just not at Arsenal.

2. Lukasz Fabianski

The Polish keeper once seemed a player indicative of the worst in Wenger's spineless mid-latter era teams. Nicknamed 'Flappy-hand-ski' by his harsher critics, the shot-stopper never looked convincing when he stood between the sticks at Arsenal.


However, following his departure to Swansea in 2014, he has gone on to become one of the Premier League's safest pair of hands. Fabianski played all 38 league games for the Swans in 2017/18 and was voted player of the season by their fans. 


When the club was relegated at the end of that season, the Pole was one of the few players to go down with his head held high. His performances earned him a £7m to West Ham, where he continues to impress this term. 

3. Serge Gnabry

The decision to let Serge Gnabry leave still baffles large numbers of Arsenal fans. It wasn't like they had to fight off competition from big name clubs to keep him – the German snuck off to Werder Bremen for just £5m in 2016 having not been given enough game time with the Gunners.


He was an instant hit in Germany, scoring 11 times in 27 league games for his new club. This caught the attention of Bayern Munich, who signed him before loaning him out to Hoffenheim, where he once again impressed. 


The 23-year-old now features regularly for Germany and Bayern and looks like he could be capable of finally helping his new club replace the ageing duo of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the flanks. You can't help but wonder why Arsenal prioritised someone like Theo Walcott ahead of Gnabry all those years ago. 

4. Robin van Persie

Obviously this is a controversial one. RvP left Arsenal at his peak. In his final year with the Gunners he managed a massive 30 league goals with the club...and then he moved to Manchester United.


But he did get better there, if only for just one season. In that one season, he achieved what he could not in eight with Arsenal. He won the Premier League title - scoring 26 goals along the way. 


Unfortunately for the Dutchman, at the end of the season, Sir Alex announced his retirement. Van Persie was said to be devastated by this, and considering his (and United's) form in the following years, it's easy to see why. Although his career has gone downhill ever since, he will still cherish that one magical season. RvP was brilliant at Arsenal, but he was a champion with United. 

5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

It's funny to think Chambo was at Arsenal for six years. Could it have really been that long? Perhaps it's odd to consider simply because during his time with Arsenal he never seemed to develop. Under Wenger he was an inconstant player, capable of moments of real class, but far too often unreliable in his performance.


When he moved to Liverpool for £35m in 2017 it initially seemed like good business for the Gunners. However, in his first season with the Reds, Jurgen Klopp transformed the Ox into the dominant midfield player he always had the potential to be. No longer banished to the wings, Chambo was asked to apply his energy and dynamism at the heart of Liverpool's high pressing midfield - and how he delivered. 


The Englishman was outstanding during his first season at Anfield and looked like a player reborn, right up until a dreadful knee injury ended his season prematurely. 

6. Wojciech Szczesny

Another Polish keeper but, for a while, one who actually looked like a very good player at Arsenal. So much so, in fact, that he kept Fabianski out of the team when they were both at the club.


However, immaturity and ill-discipline seemed to be an issue for Szczesny and eventually Arsenal – or specifically, Arsene Wenger – had had enough. In 2015 he was loaned out to Roma. He spent two years at the Italian club and impressed enough to keep Liverpool's new man Alisson out of the team. 


Arsenal didn't seem to pay much attention to his form, but Juventus did. The Italian giants snapped him up for just €12m in 2017. At Juve, the Pole spent a year as understudy to the great Gigi Buffon before the legend retired last season. Szczesny is now first choice there and has done pretty well considering the considerable boots he has to fill.  

7. Cesc Fabregas

It's hard to know if Fabregas has truly become the player he could have been once he left Arsenal, but he's certainly won enough to suggest he has. At Barcelona and Chelsea, Fabregas has won league titles - and it seems unlikely he would have managed the same with the Gunners. 


But for some, considering the leader he was at Arsenal, Cesc's career has been a touch disappointing. At 22 he was captaining the Gunners, and was the focal point in the team. When he moved to Barcelona he was nowhere near as important. He played second fiddle to the likes of Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi. Although he enjoyed great success with the Catalan giants, he was never the star man. 


Despite this, Fabregas has had a marvellous career: he is a World Cup winner after all (even nabbing an assist in the final), only Ryan Giggs has more Premier League assists than the Spaniard. As his career enters its autumn, there is no doubt that he is one of the best players to grace the game in the last couple of decades.