After Eisfeld departure, a look at the nearly men of Arsenal's #42 shirt

Thomas Eisfeld left Arsenal for Fulham last week, becoming the latest in a long line of prospects to wear the number 42 shirt at the club who have failed to showcase their potential.

Thomas Eisfeld was and is a midfielder held in high regard among the Arsenal support, with several declaring themselves 'gutted' the young German was sold.

Eisfeld was unlikely to force a himself into the first team picture, and a drop to Championship side Fulham could be just what he needs in order to kick on.

He vacates the number 42 shirt at Arsenal, and joins a cast of 'nearly men' who have failed to use getting a squad number into going onto bigger and better things at the club.

Here's a look at those who preceded him:

Daniel Boateng

Boateng held the squad number the season before last, vacating it in 2013/14, sent out out loan to Hibernian. He was officially released this summer, and remains a free agent.

Cedric Evina

Cameroonian midfielder Evina was released in 2010, and joined Charlton, before switching to Oldham Athletic. The 22-year-old became a free agent this summer, and has recently signed with Doncaster Rovers, who beat competition from Crawley Town for his signature.

Kerrea Gilbert

Kerrea Gilbert once played in the same Arsenal side as Theirry Henry, and even set up a goal for the Frenchman. His career has been on a downwards spiral ever since however. He dropped down the league ladder to Yeovil Town after a series of loans at Cardiff, Southend. Leicester and Peterborough, before playing in Ireland with Shamrock Rovers. Currently 27, he now plays for non-league side St Albans City, and is taking courses to become a personal trainer.

Fran Merida

Merida jumped at the chance to leave Arsenal for Atletico Madrid, but struggled for game time at the La Liga side. He dropped down second division side Hercules, in an ill-fated spell which saw him sold after being red carded. Merida signed with Brazilian side Atletico Paranaense, where he remains, and is still attempting to force his way into the side and become a regular.

Henri Lansbury

Former England under-21 star, Lansbury is among the most talented of the bunch. Like Eisfeld however he found the route to the top at Arsenal blocked and chose to move to the Championship. The 23-year-old is a key part of a promising Nottingham Forest side who will be aiming to win promotion this coming campaign.

Vito Mannone

Vito Mannone appeared at one stage like he may grasp the first team spot as Wojciech Szczesny did, but he failed to improve on a promising second appearance against Fulham in 2009. A series of loans followed, and he left on a free in the summer of 2013, where he signed with Sunderland and played a key role in them reaching the Capital One Cup Final. 

Quincy Owusu-Abeye

A Dutch youth international while at Arsenal, the once highly rated Quincy went onto represent Ghana at senior level. He signed with Spartak Moscow in 2006 but failed to build on his much hyped potential, which saw him score two first team goals for Arsenal in the League Cup. The forward has been without a club since being released by Panathaniakos in 2013, and failed to earn a contract after a trial with Crystal Palace.

Justin Hoyte

Justin Hoyte was a regular in Arsenal's academy and under-21 sides before being sold to Middlesbrough for £3 million in 2007. He has gone onto have a relatively successful career in the Championship, and returned to London when he signed for Millwall earlier this year. Hoyte was a former England youth international, but in 2013 accepted a call-up to play international football for Trinidad and Tobago.

Steve Sidwell

Midfielder Steve Sidwell won two FA Youth Cups with Arsenal before switching to Reading in 2003. His excellent form there earned him a big move to Chelsea, where he struggled to hold down a place. He has gone onto prove a solid Premier League performer with Fulham, and has recently signed with Stoke City. This potentially has vacated the spot for Eisfeld to win a regular place for the West London side.

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