Three times Arsenal sold a key player to a direct rival

Alexis Sanchez becomes the latest in a long list of players who has left Arsenal and joined a direct rival. Here are three other players who have done this and whether the move was a success.

Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea (September 2006)

Ashley Cole was one of the first Arsenal players to leave the Gunners and join a direct rival. He was part of the Invincibles squad at Arsenal and won three FA Cups but left following a pay dispute. After his departure to London rivals Chelsea for £5m, he was given the unflattering name ‘Cashley Cole’ and was pelted with fake money when he first returned to the Emirates.

Cole became Chelsea’s first choice left-back following his move and in 2009/10 he won the Premier League with the Blues. Also, Cole became the first player in history to win seven FA Cups as he picked up the trophy in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 as a Blues player. As if this wasn’t enough, Cole won the Champions League, the Europa League, the League Cup and the Community Shield. Cole had a very successful career in England and left for Italy in 2014 where he joined Serie A side, Roma.

Success rating of the move: 5/5

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Samir Nasri – Arsenal to Manchester City (August 2011)

In his last season at Arsenal, Samir Nasri finally showed his true potential. He scored 10 goals, his highest total in any Premier League campaign that he featured in. Following his superb form, Nasri was signed by Manchester City for £25m for the 2011/12 season where he won the Premier League in his first season.

He was an excellent midfielder for the first three seasons at City. He won his second title in three years under Manuel Pellegrini. After that triumph, his form dipped in the 2014/15 season and never really recovered. Nasri finally parted ways with Manchester City in August 2017 when he joined Turkish side Antalyaspor.

Success rating of the move: 5/5

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Robin Van Persie – Arsenal to Manchester United (August 2012)

A year after losing Samir Nasri to Manchester City, Arsenal sold Robin Van Persie to Manchester United for £24m. Van Persie’s last season at Arsenal was his best as he scored 30 goals in 38 appearances. Cue Man United and Sir Alex Ferguson swopping in to bring him to Old Trafford.

The Dutchman was integral in his first season at Man United, scoring 26 league goals, as they reclaimed the title from arch-rivals Man United. Just like Nasri, Van Persie left Arsenal and won the Premier League in the next season. He left Man United for Fernebache in 2015 with a Premier League winners medal under his belt.

Success rating of the move: 4/5

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Featured image credit: ctwino

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