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Players who left Arsenal on this day: what happened to Vermaelen and Pérez

The Arsenal History Society is part of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association – a body which gives positive support to the club, and has regular meetings with directors and senior officials of the club to represent the views of its members to the club.  You can read more about AISA on its website.

You can read about and find links to the major series of articles on this site, including the only accurate history of the Henry Norris’ work at the club, on our home page.


On this day in 2014, despite being injured, Thomas Vermaelen was sold to Barcelona for around £15m.  He was not fit to play for his new team until March 2015. In the end he played just one league game in his first season with Barcelona and just 34 in total in the five years with the club.   Not exactly the best investment in a player ever made.

During his time at Barcelona he spent one season on loan to Roma, where he played nine games, before moving on to Vissel Kobe in Japan in 2019, for whom he played eight games in his first season.

On 8 February 2020, Vermaelen was one of nine consecutive players to miss their spot-kick in the penalty-shootout of the Japanese Super Cup; his teammate Hotaru Yamaguchi eventually won the match for the cup winners with a successful penalty.

For details of what happened to Lucas Pérez please see 2018 below.

Here are the anniversaries.

9 August 1757 Thomas Telford, after whom the town is named, and one of the greatest engineers in British history, was born.

9 August 1911: A temperature of 36.7°C was recorded in Northamptonshire – a UK record not beaten in the UK until 1990.

9 August 1914:  Joe Mercer born.  He first played for Ellesmere Port Town before going to Everton in 1932 where he won the League in 1938/9.  After the war he was captain of the 1948 title winning side.  

9 August 1920: With the government and its media allies discussing and invasion of the USSR to take out the communist government, the Labour Party, empowered having made enormous gains in the post-war local elections, but also anxious not to lose supporters to the Communist Party, announced it would call for a general strike if war was declared.  

9 August 1939: Lionel Smith signed for Arsenal, just before the outbreak of war.  He did however play for the club 162 times after the war, and six times for England, later player seven games for Watford before managing Gravesend and Northfleet from 1955 to 1960. 

9 August 1942: Start FC was a team made up primarily of ex-Dyanmo Kiev players duuring the second world war while Kiev was occupied by the Nazis.  On this day Start beat Flakelf, a German team, 5-3.  The team was sent to a labour camp and five were shot.  A film of the episode was made later, but was not historically accurate.

9 August 1944:  George Armstrong born.  He trained as an electrician, being rejected as a footballer both by Newcastle and Grimsby before joining Arsenal as a youth player in 1961 and made his first start aged 17.  

9 August 1955: Leslie Compton benefit match: Arsenal played the MCC at cricket exactly as his brother had done for his benefit.  In 1947/8 he was a near ever-present for the remainder of the season, as Arsenal won the First Division title and Compton finally earned a top-class honour.

9 August 1961: Terry Anderson signed as a professional.  He had come onto the groundstaff in 1959 and made his debut in 1963 and played 25 league games for the club before moving to Norwich City in 1965.

9 August 1972: Alex Graham died aged 82. He finished his playing career playing for Folkestone FC in the Southern League and later became Brentford assistant manager. 

9 August 1977:  Mikael Silvestre born in Chambray-lès-Tours, and  started playing football with the Rennes Football Academy, launching his league career with the French club in the 1995/96 season. 

9 August 1990: Death of Joe Mercer, on his birthday.  His final managerial post was with Coventry City and as a stand-in manager for England. He became an OBE in 1976, and sadly suffered from Alzheimer’s in later life.  

9 August 1997: Leeds Utd 1 Arsenal 1.  Ian Wright scored, Overmars, Petit and Grimandi all started their first game.  Game 1 of the 2nd Double Season    The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.  The start of a 12 game unbeaten run. For pre-season see here

9 August 1998: Arsenal beat Man U 3-0 in Charity Shield, winning it for the ninth time.  Overmars, Wreh and Anelka scored.

9 August 2017: Having left Arsenal in 2003 and then playing for Rangers, Charlton, Blackburn, Ipswich and Everton, Francis Jeffers signed for Sheffield Wednesday, played in a 1-4 defeat to Ipswich who must have been glad they hadn’t got him any more, and got injured.  

9 August 2011: Ryo Miyaichi was granted a work permit, but only ever played one league game for Arsenal.  He went on loan to Feyenoord, Bolton, Wigan, and FC Twente. 

9 August 2013: Ignasi Miquel loaned to Leicester for the season, and played seven league games for them before transferring to Norwich in 2014.

9 August 2014: Despite being injured, Thomas Vermaelen was sold to Barcelona for around £15m.  He was not fit to play for his new team until March 2015. In the end he played just one league game in his first season with Barcelona.

9 August 2018:  Lucas Pérez sold to West Ham after playing just 11 games for Arsenal.and 35 for Deportivo La Coruña on loan.  He went to West Ham for one season and then in 2019 moved again to Alavés in La Liga and played 34 league games for them in the 2019/20 season

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