Arsenal have had many players come and go over the years but very rarely does an academy prospect make the cut at the Emirates Stadium.
And whilst that trend has slightly improved in recent seasons with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah part of Mikel Arteta’s first-team, there are still plenty of reminders out there.
None more so than Crystal Palace’s new attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze, who the Gunners released at the age of 13 back in 2011.
That rejection has fueled his ambition and desire to succeed, speaking to the Independent about the ordeal, he said: “That was the worst one. I remember crying in my room for a solid week, my mum telling me that it’s going to be OK but not being able to get over it.”
Now he’s in the Premier League and will likely feature against the north Londoners at some point this campaign.
After impressing in the Championship for Queens Park Rangers, the 21-year-old sealed a huge £16m move to Crystal Palace this summer.
During the 2019/20 campaign, Eze provided 14 goals and eight assists whilst averaging a massive three dribbles, 2.2 shots and 1.8 key passes per game, via WhoScored.
It’s no wonder the Eagles were one of many clubs pursuing his signature.
He’s since started twice in the Premier League this season.
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand believes Eze is “one of the best” he has ever seen, which is a major statement to make given his own playing career.
The Gunners have certainly been proven wrong over their premature call on Eze back in 2011. They’ll just have to hope that it doesn’t come back to bite them at the turn of the year.