Anders Limpar Super Swede

Anders Limpar

Anders Limpar was a truly exceptional player for Arsenal. He signed for the club in 1990 from Italian side Cremonese. In a period of George Graham, the football was never the prettiest but with Graham signing the Swede the club had a player who could thrill and excite the supporters.

The club were looking for a replacement for winger Brian Marwood, who had gone off the boil. For manager Graham, the idea was that Limpar would provide the chances for Alan Smith from the left wing. At £1m, back in 1990, it seemed an expensive signing for a player not many had heard of on these shores.

If Limpar needed any introduction he did so in preseason, impressing the Arsenal faithful in the Makita Tournament against Aston Villa scoring a screamer past Nigel Spink.

In his first season, he was at times unplayable. The Swede may not have been the biggest in terms of size but his skill and speed on the ball was a different class. The 1990/91 season, Limpar would set up goals and chances for strikers Alan Smith and Paul Merson as well as getting on the scoresheet himself. Limpar finished with 11 goals that season.

Despite his small frame, the Swede was a battler. He was in the middle of the brawl against Manchester United, which saw the club docked two points and fined.

But it did not matter, and Limpar finished the season off in style as he scored a hat-trick on the final day of the season against Coventry City.

He may have tailed off for a period after Christmas but there was no denying Limpar’s contribution that season as Arsenal won the League title.

Disappointingly for Limpar and the Arsenal supporters, George Graham’s faith in the Swede waned after another season and Limpar was eventually sold to Everton in March 1994 for £1.6m.

But who will forget his goals and magic on the left wing for the club? His fantastic chip from just inside the halfway line over Mike Hooper against Liverpool was extraordinary, or his strike against Sheffield Wednesday hit left footed on the edge of the area.

He had terrific pace and had such quick feet that he could bamboozle defenders and leave them in his wake. Limpar was a flair player which Arsenal longed for out wide and for years failed to replace as the team lost and missed his creativity.

He may have only been at Highbury for three seasons but for me, he was an exceptional player who stood out time and time again, especially in his first season. He played 116 times for the club in total scoring 20 goals. But it was the flair and excitement that wowed the fans. Every time Limpar received the ball, you always felt something would happen.

Ian Wright who joined the club in 1991 was on the end of some wizardry wing play from the Swede on many occasions. Wright loved playing with Limpar and the amount of goals he set up for the striker, it was no surprise as to why.

I still wonder if the club could have got more out of Anders Limpar, and in my opinion, yes they could. Fans still love him even though he was only at the club for a short time, but everyone only has good memories of him.

He was a strange George Graham signing because of his flair and creativity but how we loved Graham for bringing him to the club, even if it was short-lived.

An amazing player to watch and a nightmare to defend against, Limpar was truly a super Swede.