The life of a young footballer is a difficult one, as more often than not, promise doesn’t translate into production at the highest level.
So went the career of one-time Arsenal wonderkid Arturo Lupoli, who after joining the Gunners as a 17-year-old moved on at age 20 and saw his career sink into obscurity.
A phenomenal first campaign for Lupoli in the Arsenal reserves – 27 goals in 32 games – saw him shoot to prominence and be touted as a star of the future.
But after a lacklustre loan spell at Derby County in the 2006-07 campaign, Lupoli made a fateful decision to return to Italy with Fiorentina and saw his stock plummet.
Though Lupoli, now 27, certainly hasn’t forgotten his relationship with Arsene Wenger – a manager renowned for his ability to develop young talent.
He described his relationship with the Arsenal boss in an interview with gianlucadimarzio.com this week, in which he reflected on his Gunners experience.
Lupoli said: “At Arsenal I started on the right foot. About the beautiful relationship I cultivated with Wenger: upon arriving I was thinking about the reserves, and instead he immediately wanted me with the first team.
“I made my debut in the Premier League at just 18-years-old, in a team of stars like Fabregas, Henry and others.
“The coach gave me so much confidence and spoke to me a lot, treating me like all the other great players that were there.”
His first team debut against Blackburn in the 2005-06 season would stand as his only appearance for the senior squad, despite having Wenger’s confidence.
Lupoli revealed that he was offered a four-year contract renewal by Arsenal after his subsequent loan at Derby, but turned it down for Fiorentina – for whom he played only 45 minutes total.
“I came from a season as a protagonist with Derby County, where I scored and contributed to the Premier League promotion.
“For this Arsenal had suggested a renewal for four years, but I wanted to return to Italy – I chose Fiorentina because I was offered a five-year deal with good wages.
“Then I realised I was in a team that was aiming high and that the attack had players like Mutu, Pazzini, Osvaldo and Vieri – that’s why for me there was little space.”
Lupoli’s tale is a cautionary one in some regard – he’s played for eight clubs since leaving Arsenal, finding himself in Serie B with Varese at the moment.
Perhaps things would’ve turned out differently had he remained under Wenger’s tutelage, though at this point in time one can only wonder how his career would have panned out.
He did score a brace at the weekend in a positive turn, however, and says he’s found his feet at Varese, ready to flourish.
“Here I’ve found my place. I’m playing with continuity. I did well in pre-season and in the Coppa Italia.
“The double for me was important – for a striker, scoring is everything.”