Six former Arsenal players we can’t believe are still playing in 2022

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Arsenal have many former players who have retired from the game, but some of them continue to play professional football after their careers are over.

With advances in nutrition and conditioning over the past few decades, more players than ever are continuing into their thirties. But that doesn’t mean everyone has had the longevity of those former Gunners.

We found six former Arsenal players who we couldn’t believe were still playing football in 2022.

Mathieu Debuchy

Despite remaining with the club for four years after signing in 2014, Debuchy suffered an inconsistent time at the Emirates which was marred by injury.

Although he did with the Community Shield and the FA Cup with the Gunners, the full-back lost his place to Hector Bellerin in his first season and never regained Arsene’s trust Wenger.

Debuchy returned to France on loan with Bordeaux before signing for St Etienne in 2018. He joined Valenciennes last summer on a two-year deal and made 29 appearances for the club as they finished 16th in Ligue 2.

Alex Song

He may only be 34, but we’re surprised to read that Song is still performing.

It may be because he ‘didn’t give a damn’ about playing football when a lucrative contract offer from Barcelona guaranteed he would become a ‘millionaire’.

Or maybe it’s because he was one of nine players dismissed by Swiss club FC Sion when the pandemic hit.

But the midfielder continues and plays for the Djiboutian team Arta / Solar7 since November 2020.

The streets will never forget Song’s performances in the 2011-12 season, especially that assist for Robin van Persie’s iconic volley against Everton.

Gael Clichy

Clichy then established himself as a member of Arsenal’s first team following Ashley Cole’s controversial move to Chelsea in 2006.

After being part of the Invicibles squad, the full-back won two Premier League medals with Manchester City and won the Turkish Super Lig with Istanbul. Basaksehir in 2020

The former France international now plays for Servette in Switzerland and has spoken about his plans after his playing career comes to an end.

“The idea is to become a manager,” he told the Guardian in July 2021, “but I don’t know if I’ll be good or if I’ll like it, so the first step is to learn.

“I’m talking to the coaches, I’m going to start my badges and from then on I’ll see if I have that feeling and the urge to do it. For the moment I do but when I am available and have my badges, maybe I will feel that it is not really for me.

The left-back was recently seen scowling after covering himself in beer at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of Man City’s 2012 title win. He now has his UEFA A license and will surely be soon seen by canoe:

Jay Bothroy

Bothroyd was part of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2000, but never played a first-team game for Arsenal after throwing his shirt at Don Howe in anger at being substituted in a a youth game against West Ham.

The striker was sold to Coventry for £1.3million, marking the start of a nomadic career. Over the past two decades, Bothroyd has appeared for *takes a breath* Coventry, Perugia, Blackburn, Charlton, Wolves, Stoke, Cardiff, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, Muangthong United, Jubilo Iwata and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

Bothroyd, 40, only left Sapporo earlier this year and has yet to announce his retirement. He has lost none of the ability that earned him an England cap under Fabio Capello.

Sebastien Larsson

It may seem like Larsson has been around since the dawn of time, but the evergreen midfielder shows no signs of retiring just yet.

After spending his career in England with Arsenal, Birmingham, Sunderland and Hull, Larsson spent the last four years in Sweden with AIK and made 130 appearances for the club.

He even played at Euro 2020, starting all four of Sweden’s matches, but announced his international retirement after their last-16 loss to Ukraine. With four goals in 11 matches for the Allsvenskan in 2022, he obviously hasn’t lost it.

Fran Merida

Merida only made a handful of appearances for Arsenal in the late 2000s before being shipped off to Atletico Madrid. He has spent his career in Spain, Portugal and Brazil and currently plays for Espanyol.

He may have only scored one goal for Arsenal, but at least Merida made it a special one.



a group of men playing a football match: Fran Merida walks away in celebration, arms outstretched, after scoring for Arsenal against Liverpool in October 2009.


© PA Images
Fran Merida walks away in celebration, arms outstretched, after scoring for Arsenal against Liverpool in October 2009.

READ: Fran Merida at Arsenal: High hopes, a wonderful goal and a very long way back

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