Arsene Wenger’s ‘big player’ and four forgotten Arsenal stars who are now playing in the EFL

Arsenal have been able to boast some of the world’s best players over the past 20 years of their history – but not all of them go on to write their names into football legend.

Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie have all produced stunning moments of brilliance in an Arsenal shirt and won huge trophies, either with the Gunners or with their next clubs.

But for each legend there are a handful of players it simply does not work out for in the top flight.

Many of them are still playing, however, so with that in mind takes a look at five former Arsenal players currently plying their trade in the EFL.

Carl Jenkinson

Arsenal plucked Jenkinson from the famous Charlton academy for £1 million back in 2011 and he showed plenty of promise at the Emirates Stadium, but a mixture of injuries and loan spells limited him to just 55 appearances across five seasons.

The summer of 2019 saw the right-back leave north London for Nottingham Forest where has remained since, but has played just five times in two seasons.

Henri Lansbury

Lansbury was one of Arsene Wenger’s brightest hopes in the Arsenal academy and even after being sent out on loan to Watford, Wenger kept faith in the midfielder.

“He will be a big player for me,” he told Arsenal’s official website in 2010.

“He is at the moment having a very interesting experience [at Watford] that we judge to be very successful.

“He will come back at the end of the season and practise with the first-team in the next pre-season. Then we will assess the situation with him together.”

But two years later, he was off to Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal where he stayed for five years before spells with Aston Villa and Bristol City eventually led him to Luton Town.

Chuks Aneke

Aneke joined the Gunners as a seven-year-old in 2001 but things could have been very different for him.

In 2009 Barcelona gave the then teenager a chance to tour their training grounds as they looked to tempt the attacker to the Camp Nou. But he instead decided to sign professional terms at the Emirates the following summer.

Things did not work out for him in north London, however, but he continues to work his way back up the pyramid, currently playing under Lee Bowyer at Birmingham City.

Benik Afobe

Afobe joined Aneke on his trip to Barcelona with the Catalan giants looking to raid the Gunners but, like his teammate, he also signed professional terms with the Gunners.

The striker has enjoyed success in the Championship, however, most notably helping Wolves back into the Premier League with six goals in 2019.

Officially still a Stoke City player, Afobe has spent spells on loan with Bristol City, Trabzonspor and Millwall.