VIDEO: £1m former Arsenal prospect scores but suffers Europe League heartbreak

Stathis Tavlaridis scored yesterday for Atromitos, but his team went out of the Europa League to Sarajevo.

Not many Arsenal fans will remember Greek defender Stathis ‘Steve’ Tavlaridis. Spotted by the clubs vast scouting network playing for Greek outfit Iraklis back in 2001, he was snapped up by The Gunners for a fee of £1 million at the age of 21.

He spent time on loan at Portsmouth during their promotion campaign of 2002-03 and the second half of the 2003-04 season on loan at French outfit Lille.

He agreed a permanent move to the French outfit in the summer of 2004, leaving Arsenal with just one game to his name against Southampton in the Premier League.

But he soon forgot about that, after becoming a regular with Lille. He had the best years of his career with the side, earning the nickname ‘Taureau’ with the French media - translating into ‘The Bull’ for his aggressive and strong style of play. It was during this time he earned his two caps for Greece.

Soon his first-team opportunities ended with Lille, and he moved to Saint-Etienne. His time with St-Etienne was similar, and after ten years away from his homeland he returned to Greece with Larissa after three years with Les Verts.

When Larissa went into financial turmoil he left, spent a season at OFI Crete, and then moved to Atromitos - where he remains today.

And last night he almost wrote his name down in the club's history. Atromitos were 2-0 down against Sarajevo in their Europa League qualifying fixture, when Tavlaridis popped up in the 85th minute to send the game into extra time. It was his first ever European goal and just the tenth of the 34-year-old's career.

However it did not prove enough for victory. An extra-time goal from Nemanja Bilbija sent the Greek side and their former Arsenal starlet crashing out of Europa League.

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