Every Player Who Has Left Arsenal to Win Trophies and Actually Won Trophies

Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie won the Premier League with Manchester United | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Players leave clubs in search of silverware all the time. It’s totally normal. However, for Arsenal, it’s turned into a bit of a curse.

The Gunners have been on a steady decline for a good (or bad) few years now, and they have seen plenty of their top stars jump ship to go and win trophies elsewhere, all while Arsenal have been restricted to the odd FA Cup.

Arsenal fans don’t really like talking about it, but there’s no denying that there have been a whole lot of former players who have gone on to shine elsewhere.

Ashley ColeAshley Cole
Cole controversially left Arsenal in 2006 | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: Premier League (2), FA Cup (3)
Honours After Leaving: Premier League, FA Cup (4), Champions League, Europa League

The start of this exodus trend was probably Ashley Cole’s move to Chelsea in 2006. It’s not like he was unsuccessful at Arsenal, but he managed to win the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.

Cole was perhaps the best left-back in the world for a good few years after leaving Arsenal, which is why they should have just handed him a better contract.

Lass DiarraLass Diarra
Lassana Diarra is the epitome of a journeyman | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: FA Cup, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Ligue 1, Coupe de France

Arsenal didn’t see much in Lassana Diarra when they sold him to Portsmouth after just five months in 2008.

He won the FA Cup with Pompey before picking up trophies for both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Mathieu FlaminiMathieu Flamini
Flamini returned to Arsenal after a successful spell with AC Milan | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup (2)
Honours After Leaving: Serie A

Mathieu Flamini never really managed to hold down a regular place in the team at Arsenal and eventually walked away for free in the summer of 2008, with AC Milan his next destination.

He spent a few years as a rotation option at San Siro but became a core part of the team who won the Serie A title in 2010/11.

Alexander HlebAlexander Hleb
Hleb won the treble with Barcelona | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League

During his three years with Arsenal, Belarusian winger Aliaksandr Hleb never managed better than a third-placed finish in the Premier League. So, when Barcelona came calling, the chance to win a trophy was too much to turn down.

He barely even played for La Blaugrana but was still part of the treble-winning side in his first season. Not bad.

Emmanuel AdebayorEmmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor joined Real Madrid on loan from Manchester City | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: Copa del Rey

Sure, the Copa del Rey isn’t exactly the pinnacle of footballing achievement, but it’s better than nothing.

He picked up that trophy on loan with Real Madrid, but his best post-Arsenal moment was easily his celebration when he scored against the Gunners in 2009.

Eduardo enjoyed a successful spell with Shakhtar Donetsk | EuroFootball/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: Ukrainian Premier League (4), Ukrainian Cup (4)

Eight trophies in Ukraine is hardly the best way to make Arsenal jealous, but at least Eduardo has an enormous trophy cabinet from his time with Shakhtar Donetsk.

He did come face to face with the Gunners in 2010, scoring in both legs of their Champions League clash to remind Arsenal of what could have been.

Gael ClichyGael Clichy
Gael Clichy was part of the Arsenal Invincibles | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: Premier League
Honours After Leaving: Premier League (2)

Injuries weren’t kind to Gaël Clichy during his time at Arsenal. He was part of the Invincibles as Cole’s reserve, but apart from the 2007/08 season, he struggled to show his best form.

Manchester City lured him away in 2011 and gave the Frenchman a platform to pay a major role in a title victory, and he responded by steering City to two trophies.

Cesc FabregasCesc Fabregas
Fabregas won the Premier League twice with Chelsea | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup
Honours After Leaving: Copa del Rey, La Liga, Premier League (2), FA Cup

Arsenal had Cesc Fàbregas at the club when he was 16 years old, and he was supposed to stay until he was 36. He was supposed to be the man to lead Arsenal to trophy after trophy after trophy.

The Spaniard soon decided that doing so would be impossible and went to join an unfathomably strong Barcelona side. He then came back to England, with Arsenal declining the chance to sign him again, and Fàbregas won two Premier League titles with Chelsea.

Samir NasriSamir Nasri
Nasri was one of many players to join Manchester City | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: Premier League (2)

One of countless Arsenal players poached by Manchester City, Samir Nasri was a Player of the Year nominee when the left the Emirates, but he was nowhere near a Premier League champion.

He needed just one year and one AGUEROOOOOOO to win the title in Manchester, and he even added one more before his time was up.

Van Persie stunned many by swapping Arsenal for Manchester United | ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup
Honours After Leaving: Premier League

The poster boy for leaving Arsenal, Robin van Persie committed the ultimate act of treason when he joined Manchester United in 2012, but his Premier League title triumph in his debut season was all the justification he needed.

The Dutchman, who was 29 years old at the time, knew that he was running out of time to live his dream, and he knew he needed to leave Arsenal to achieve it.

Alex SongAlex Song
Alex Song won La Liga with Barcelona | John Berry/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: La Liga

Alex Song earned himself a move to Barcelona in 2012, and although he was never a first-team regular, he still managed to add the La Liga title to his trophy cabinet in Spain.

He’s probably most famous for assuming he was more deserving of lifting the trophy than club legend and cancer survivor Eric Abidal. The GIF bank will never forget.

Thomas VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen’s time at Camp Nou was plagued by injuries | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup
Honours After Leaving: La Liga (4), Copa del Rey (2)

Thomas Vermaelen didn’t even play when Arsenal won the 2013/14 FA Cup, instead watching the whole thing from the bench. But if you think that’s bad, just look at his Barcelona tenure.

Across five years, the Belgian managed just 53 appearances in all competitions, but still came away with four La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey trophies to his name.

Serge GnabrySerge Gnabry
Gnabry is now a prolific winger for Bayern | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: None
Honours After Leaving: Bundesliga (2), DfB-Pokal

A disasterous loan spell with West Bromwich Albion was as good as it got in England for Serge Gnabry. Arsenal were reluctant to hand him a regular spot in the first team, and off he went to Germany.

Werder Bremen took a chance on him and quickly proved that he was a real talent, and now he’s one of the best wingers in the world at Bayern Munich. Nice one, Tony Pulis.

Wojciech SzczesnyWojciech Szczesny
Szczesny has been dominant for Juventus since leaving Arsenal | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup (2)
Honours After Leaving: Serie A (2), Coppa Italia

Arsenal decided it was a good idea to bench Wojciech Szczęsny for David Ospina in 2015, before pushing him out the door by signing a soon-to-be-retired Petr Čech.

While the Gunners were busy messing this one up, Juventus decided that Szczęsny was good enough to replace the iconic Gianluigi Buffon. So, good enough to fill the boots of one of the all-time greats, but not to oust David Ospina.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto FirminoAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino
Oxlade-Chamberlain has won huge trophies with Liverpool | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup (3)
Honours After Leaving: Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup

Winning three FA Cups in four years is nothing to sneeze at, but that achievement has got nothing on what Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has managed with Liverpool.

One of Jürgen Klopp’s favourite players, Oxlade-Chamberlain has gone from a young player full of potential to a world champion, and all he needed to do was leave Arsenal.

Olivier GiroudOlivier Giroud
Giroud scored against Arsenal in the Europa League final | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup (3)
Honours After Leaving: FA Cup, Europa League

Olivier Giroud might not have won as many trophies since leaving Arsenal, but it’s that Europa League triumph in 2019 which means the most.

Starting for London rivals Chelsea, Giroud scored once and assisted another in a 4-1 victory over the Gunners just 18 months after being shipped off. Karma.

David OspinaDavid Ospina
Ospina helped Napoli win the Coppa Italia | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Arsenal Honours: FA Cup (2)
Honours After Leaving: Coppa Italia

What’s that? You want an underwhelming ending to this list? Well, you’re in luck.

Reserve goalkeeper David Ospina permanently left Arsenal for Napoli last summer, and he has cemented a place in the first team at Stadio San Paolo. He played every minute of Napoli’s run to the Coppa Italia final, but was suspended for the final and had to watch from the sidelines as his side beat Juventus.

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