Jérémie Aliadière a player who in his youth had substantial promise but ultimately failed to cut the grade at Arsenal. Signed at 16 in the summer of 1999, Aliadière was a graduate of the famous Clairefontaine academy and continued his fine form whilst rising through the youth ranks of Arsenal. Till this day he still holds the record for goals scored in the FA Youth Cup.
After spending his time honing his skills on the training ground and in the reserves Aliadière made his debut replacing Thierry Henry in a 4-1 win against Fulham in the 2001/02 season, he would have to wait till the next season to score his first goal against WBA in a 5-2 win. In his first two season in the first team squad he had just six appearances and one goal.
The 2003/04 season saw more time on this pitch as Aliadière made 10 appearances in the league which meant he claimed a Premier League Winner medal, which no Arsenal players at the moment have. He didn’t manage to score in the league but played 4 games in the League Cup scoring a good brace against Wolverhampton in the 4th round before scoring against West Brom in the quarters, unfortunately Arsenal’s run ended against Middlesbrough in the semi-final but Aliadière was voted the best young talent from the League Cup.
The 2004/05 season saw Aliadière stall in his progress as injury curtailed him till February and then he made six substitute appearances with no goals but he did sign a long term contract securing him to Arsenal till 2009.
In a weird start to the 2005/06 season Aliadière initially joined Celtic on a season long deal before ending it after just two substitute appearances he returned to London to join West Ham on loan. Again injury hampered him and he made just one start before returning to Arsenal at Christmas. He joined Wolves in the Championship on loan for 6 months and got some game time but just 2 goals in his 14 appearances.
The 2006/7 seemed like Aliadière last chance at Arsenal and he managed to make 23 appearance scoring 4 goals but none in the Premier League. He scored a hat-trick in the famous 6-3 victory over Liverpool in the League Cup and a goal in the 3-1 win against Tottenham in the semi-final as Arsenal made the League Cup final. Though he lasted 80 minutes in the final against Chelsea his performance was underwhelming and disappointing as Wenger had chosen to stick with Aliadière rather then put his first choice strikers in. He had almost joined Middlesbrough in the January transfer window but the deal fell through due to him being required at Arsenal to cover for injuries.
In the 2007 summer he finally did join Middlesbrough for an initial fee of £2 million. His first season was disappointing as he scored just 5 goals in 29 Premier League appearances though he did manage to score at Old Trafford and against Arsenal. The 08/09 season managed to get worse as he scored just 3 in 34 appearances and Middlesbrough finished joint bottom of the League getting relegated. In the championship Aliadière fell out favour with fans but won back their support after coming off the bench to score two against Ipswich, again he finished the season with an uninspiring 4 in 21 appearances. He had the option to sign for another year at Middlesbrough but decided to leave in June 2010 after scoring just 12 goals in 86 appearances.
He almost joined West Ham but again injury struck him down in his trial period, he spent the 2010/11 season recovering from injury not playing. UAE club Al-Ain announced though had signed him in February but he was quick to dismiss this. In March 2011 he played in an Arsenal reserve game striking fears he may be resigned, fortunately this was not the case. He built up fitness with Arsenal for the rest of the season before signing for Lorient in the 2011/12 season.
Arsene Wenger revealed he had rung the Lorient manager to reassure him of Aliadière potential, he had a slow first season with Lorient scoring 4 in 19 appearances but signed a new three year deal in November 2011.
He managed to get a proper pre-season before the current season and managed to score in their impressive opening day 2-2 away draw to PSG. He scored in the next game as well in their 2-1 win against Montpellier. Unfortunately he has been injured since then but Lorient have had a strong start to the season and with 8 games after 4 points sit 3rd. If Aliadière can avoid injury and keep up his good start to the season he will be a key player for Lorient.
Aliadière is another unfortunate individual where injury limited his chances at Arsenal, though it can be argued he did get enough appearances to show his worth he ultimately didn’t convince Arsene his place was at Arsenal. Hopefully now settled at Lorient he can begin to show his talent.
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