5 Players to have played for both Arsenal and Spurs
When it comes to rivalries between football clubs, the North London derby contested between Arsenal and Tottenham comes right up there with the most fiercely contested derbies, not only in the Premier League but in the entire world of football.
Be it in any competition, we have seen over the years that the coming together of these two clubs always becomes a monumentous occasion at the capital of the nation, with no love lost between the fans on the red and white halves of North London.
And considering the bitter rivalry between the two North London clubs, not too many players have dared to represent both Arsenal and Spurs in their footballing career due to the fear of getting a lot of stick from the fans.
Yet, we have seen a few instances of players switching boats and taking that unfamiliar step of joining Spurs from Arsenal or vice-versa.
Now, it is a no-brainer that transfers between the two North London rivals do not go through all that easily, and even when such deals are completed, the new arrivals hardly receive a warm round of applause from the fans.
Even for top professional footballers, returning to face their old clubs is often an emotional occasion and we have seen that things get a bit unpleasant when the clubs in question are Arsenal and Spurs.
Without further ado, let us take a look at some of the players who have played for both Arsenal and Spurs since the turn of the century.
Only players with senior competitive appearances for both the clubs are considered for discussion, meaning Harry Kane’s brief spell in the Arsenal academy as a kid doesn’t come within the bracket.
Here are 5 players who have represented both the North London giants since 2000:
1. Sol Campbell
A two-time Premier League winner, a Champions League finalist and a widely revered former England international, Sol Campbell has to be at the top of this list.
In fact, it might surprise a few of the fans of the current generation but Campbell was very much an established player on the white half on North London before making the infamous decision of joining Arsenal in 2001.
Born in East London to parents of Jamaican descent, Campbell started his career in the youth ranks at Spurs before making his senior competitive debut for the Lilywhites back in 1992.
After gradually rising to prominence, Campbell became a hero amongst the fans when he captained Spurs to victory in the 1999 League Cup final against Leicester City.
However, Campbell’s stocks amongst the Spurs’ fans plummeted dramatically when he refused to sign a new contract despite the club ready to make him the highest paid player in their history.
His eventual Bosman transfer to rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2001 put a dagger in the hearts of one and all on the white half of North London.
Campbell, though, went on to enjoy a trophy-laden spell at Highbury and lifted the Premier League and FA Cup in his first season at Arsenal, thus immediately establishing himself as a popular figure amongst the new fans.
The towering centre-back was a key component of Arsene Wenger’s famous ‘Invincibles’ in the 2003-04 season and was also a driving force in the Gunners’ run to the 2006 UEFA Champions League final.
He left to join Portsmouth and had a brief stint at Notts County in League Two before returning to Arsenal in 2010, although he was very much in the twilight of his career by then. Campbell is currently the manager of League Two side Macclesfield Town.
2. Emmanuel Adebayor
A 2003-04 Champions League runner-up with Monaco, Emmanuel Adebayor was a relatively unknown commodity in England when Arsene Wenger brought him in from Ligue 1 back in 2006.
He primarily came in as an understudy to Thierry Henry but the powerful Togolese centre-forward took the Premier League by storm following the Frenchman’s eventual departure to Barcelona.
Adebayor managed only 4 and 12 goals respectively in his first two seasons at Arsenal but he subsequently bettered those numbers in the 2007-08 campaign, racking up a staggering 30 goals in 48 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions.
After scoring 62 goals in 142 appearances over the course of four seasons at Arsenal, Adebayor had his head turned by a big-money offer from Man City and he completed a switch away from North London in 2009.
However, he never managed to replicate the same kind of form at his new club, and following a brief and fruitful loan stint at Real Madrid in the 2010-11 season, the Togo international took that dreaded step of joining Spurs on loan in the summer of 2011.
A return to North London worked wonders for him, as Adebayor rediscovered his mojo with 18 goals for Spurs in all competitions in the 2011-12 season, thus propelling the club to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.
Adebayor’s stay was made permanent and although his time at White Hart Lane was blighted by injuries, a strike rate of 42 goals in 113 appearances looks impressive on paper, nevertheless.
Now 35, Adebayor is still active in professional football and currently plies his trade with Istanbul Basaksehir in the Turkish top flight.
3. William Gallas
A two-time Premier League winner and a 2006 FIFA World Cup finalist with France, Gallas might not have produced his best football for either Arsenal or Spurs but he is still one of the most high-profile inclusions in the list.
The Frenchman made his move to England with Chelsea from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille back in the summer of 2001 and went on to win plenty of silverware over the course of his five illustrious seasons in West London, winning back-to-back Premier League titles with the Blues in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Gallas moved to Arsenal in 2006 on a part-exchange deal which saw Ashley Cole head the other way. The Frenchman went on to establish himself as a regular face at the back for Wenger and made 142 appearances in all competitions over the course of four seasons, although he never really hit top form and failed to inspire his team to a major trophy.
The Frenchman’s relationship with Arsenal turned sour towards the end, as he refused to sign a new contract. And in a twist of fate, Gallas joined Spurs on a free transfer in 2010 but the fans on the white half of North London hardly got to see the best of him given that his best years were already behind him by that time.
Gallas made only 78 appearances for Spurs over three seasons and struggled a lot with injuries before ending his career at Perth Glory in the A-League.
4. Rohan Ricketts
Let’s shift our focus to some of the lesser known players to have featured for both the North London giants. A product of the Arsenal academy, Ricketts won the FA Youth Cup with the Gunners in 2000 and 2001 before making a solitary first-team appearance for his boyhood club in a League Cup tie against Man United.
Ricketts was a relatively unknown commodity amongst the fans when he switched boats to join Spurs in 2002 but his abrupt emergence and rapid development evoked plenty of interest.
The attacking midfielder established himself as a regular for the Lilywhites in the 2003-04 season and his impressive performances even led to him being considered for a call-up to the England senior team, although the sacking of then Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle saw his first-team opportunities reduce thereafter.
Ricketts scored for Spurs in the Premier League and also in the League Cup before departing for Wolves in 2005.
He subsequently had a spell with Barnsley before going on to become a widely travelled footballer, featuring for various clubs in Hungary, Canada, Moldova, Ireland, India, Thailand and Bangladesh.
5. David Bentley
David Bentley was regarded as one of the burgeoning young talents in English football in the early 2000s but recurrent injuries coupled with inconsistent form meant that he never really went on to fulfil his vast potential.
A youth product of Arsenal, Bentley found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Highbury and made only 9 appearances for the Gunners, spending time on loan at Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers before joining the latter in 2006 on a permanent basis.
Bentley’s spell at Ewood Park proved to be a fruitful one and the versatile attacker starred with 21 goals and 23 assists in 139 appearances for Blackburn in all competitions over the course of four seasons before making a controversial move to Spurs.
His career looked to be heading in the right direction but stiff competition for places and a patchy injury record didn’t help him settle down at Tottenham.
Instead, he spent time on loan at West Ham, Birmingham City and FC Rostov before returning to Blackburn for a final hurrah in 2013. Without a club, Bentley announced his retirement at the age of just 29.