Who is Arsenal’s invincible legend?

Some Arsenal legends lined up a few days ago for a photoshoot to promote the upcoming legends game against Real Madrid to raise money for the Arsenal Foundation.

Faces were instantly recognisable, except for one.

Pat Rice, Robert Pires, Ray Parlour, David Seaman, Nigel Winterburn  and Bob Wilson were in the line up.

Thos 6 players have a medal haul of 13 league titles and 15 FA Cups between them, playing over 2,700 games for The Arsenal.

But it is the player wearing glasses, standing infront of Pires and Parlour that has caused some mystery, plenty of giggles, and a lot of questioning.

Jeremie Aliadiere joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old back in 1999 – the same Arsenal signed another legend in Thierry Henry.

In 2001, he led the line as Arsenal romped to FA Youth Cup victory, a side that contained the likes of Jermaine Pennant, Steve Sidwell, Rohan Ricketts and Jerome Thomas.

He would make his Premiership debut for Arsenal against Fulham in the 2001–02 season, replacing Thierry Henry in a 4–1 victory, scoring his first goal for the club the following season, in a 5–2 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Big things were expected of the young Frenchman, but in 7 years in North London he played just over 50 games.

Injury curtailed his promising career, alongside less than impressive loan moves to Celtic, Wolves and West Ham.

In 2007, he joined Middlesbrough for £2 million, who he would stay with for 3 years before joining Lorient and then Umm Salal in Qatar.

He returned to Lorient before leaving again at the end of 2016/17, returning to Arsenal to use Arsenal’s London Colney training ground in order to build up his fitness.

Now 35, Aliadiere is without a club and playing for the Arsenal legends team.

It is during his return to Arsenal that he got involved with the legends side.

Robert Pires – who over the last 3 or 4 years has used the training ground as his personal gym, would have spent some time training alongside his fellow Frenchman. Pires, in his role as Arsenal Ambassador, is heavily involved with the foundation, representing the club at home and abroad.

This friendship has seemingly opened the door to Aliadiere to play in the legends games.

A few people have scoffed at the term “legend” being used to describe a team that contains someone like Aliadiere, and whilst he in himself is certainly not a legend, do not forget that he is an invincible.

In the 2003–04 season, Aliadiere made 10 league appearances for Arsenal ,enough to get him a Premier League medal in the unbeaten season.

That medal sits alongside 2 Community Shield victories in Aliadiere’s trophy cabinet.

At 21, Aliadiere could call himself an invincible. Not too many players in world football can do that. Certainly not Harry Kane, who despite his goal scoring antics for Tottenham and England is still yet to win a major honour.

Kane turns 25-years-old in a couple of weeks, and is at risk of wasting his talent by remaining at Spurs for his entire career.

The World Cup golden boot winner has just signed a new deal with Tottenham keeping him at the club until he is 31. With Tottenham being trophyless for the last decade, no amount of individual honours and hat trick balls will make up for a lack of team trophies in his cabinet.

Aliadiere might not be an Arsenal legend, but he is an invincible.

Fair play to him


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