Alexandre Lacazette and Arsenal have confirmed that the French striker will leave north London at the end of this month for free, with the attacker joining a growing list of players to depart the Emirates for absolutely nothing.
From Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey to real Arsenal legends like Nicklas Bendtner and Andre Santos, the Gunners have lost a tremendous amount to letting high-paid players let their contracts expire and walking away from the club for free.
Indeed, Lacazette is the latest name to leave for Arsenal for free, but he certainly won’t be the last. Yet in this feature, we want to look at those who left for nothing and continued to flourish away from the Premier League giants.
The earliest entry on this list, Nwankwo Kanu remains a cult hero with Arsenal supporters for his incredible story and his impressive goalscoring record, not to mention that the Nigerian was a member of the Invincibles.
Despite a glittering career with the Gunners and leaving for free in 2004, Kanu’s story in English football didn’t end there, with the striker going on to win Portsmouth the FA Cup in 2008 as the attacker scoring the crucial goals in both the semi-finals and final against West Bromwich Albion, the side the forward originally joined after departing Arsenal.
From one FA Cup hero to another, Lukasz Fabianski spent the majority of his Arsenal career as a backup keeper, with the Polish international’s main claim to fame with the Gunners coming in the 2014 cup win where the shot-stopper won Arsene Wenger’s side the semi-final penalty shootout against Wigan Athletic.
Leaving Arsenal that summer, Fabianski was immediately snapped up by Swansea City and quickly became one of the best keepers in the Premier League, with the now-36-year-old veteran still West Ham’s main man between the sticks after joining the Hammers in 2018.
Another player who is intertwined with Arsenal and the FA Cup is Santi Cazorla, with the little Spanish magician arguably one of the best technical players to ever represent the north London side, which is what made his final injury-ridden years with the club so heartbreaking.
Alas, when many thought his career was over, Cazorla moved to Villarreal at the end of his Arsenal contract in 2018, and was absolutely sensational for the La Liga side, becoming one of the best midfielders in his two seasons back in Spain as well as returning to the national side on the back of his incredible form in his homeland.
One of the more recent free departures at Arsenal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s exit was one that was not met with tears or outcry from supporters, and since signing for AS Roma, the Armenian superstar, just like Cazorla, has been phenomenal.
The winger has adapted well under Jose Mourinho and was key to the club’s recent UEFA Europa Conference League triumph, and rumours now suggest that Inter Milan will now sign Mkhitaryan as a replacement for Ivan Perisic, who has signed for Tottenham this summer.
It might be strange to add Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to this list given how recent the striker has left Arsenal, but the Gabon international has simply been outstanding for FC Barcelona since joining the club for free in January, much to the dismay of one Piers Morgan.
The attacker was part of the Barcelona revolution in the second half of the European season under Xavi Hernandez, and the following campaign looks to be an even better one for Aubameyang if the striker can maintain his spot in the starting XI and his incredible goalscoring form.