Last night some random names from Arsenal’s past started coming into my head. For all the legends the club has had down the years, there have also been some players that have joined and disappeared very quickly.
I am hoping to do a bit of research into how some players that were limited to just a few appearances for the club did in their football careers and making a series out of it on the blog.
One of the names that popped into my head was a fairly recent one. Amaury Bischoff.
Who? - It’s ok if you’ve never heard of him, his Arsenal career was very brief. The story begins in the summer of 2008. Arsenal lost some key men in midfield that summer. Invincible Gilberto Silva was sold to Panathinaikos, Alexander Hleb left for Barcelona and Mathieu Flamini left the club on a free transfer to AC Milan.
Wenger had signed a very young Aaron Ramsey from Cardiff for £5m as well as Samir Nasri from Marseille but he felt he needed to bring in another midfielder that summer to compete for a place.
The media had linked Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso with a move to the Emirates, a move Cesc Fabregas was very keen on at the time. There was another name being linked with Arsenal that summer though and that was Amaury Bischoff.
Bischoff was born in France but chose to represent Portugal at international because his mother was Portuguese. He started his career at his hometown club Colmar, before switching to Strasbourg in 2004.
A year later and German side Werder Bremen came calling. The 18-year old couldn’t resist the lure of a bigger club and he signed for them in 2005. He spent much of his time in Germany in Werder Bremen’s reserve side but often trained with the first-team. Injuries halted his progress at the club, but he played one first-team game for the club, coming on as a sub in a UEFA Cup tie against Celta Vigo in 2007.
In the summer of 2008, Bischoff’s contract with Bremen expired. He was offered a new one but in July 2008 he revealed that he was close to a deal with Arsenal. At the end of the month, Bischoff put pen to paper and signed a one-year contract with Arsenal.
The next day, the German press stated that Wenger had signed a ‘nobody’ with one newspaper running the story ‘Werder nobody signs for Arsenal’.
Bischoff at Arsenal: Arsene Wenger claimed signing Bischoff was a “gamble on talent” as Bischoff had a bad injury record at Werder Bremen. He had been out of action for a long time and Wenger admitted it would take him a few months to get fully fit.
Bischoff impressed for the reserve team, making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt against Stoke’s reserve team in October 2008. He also scored a cracking goal against Fulham for the reserves and soon after he made his first-team debut from the bench in a League Cup tie against Wigan.
First-team appearances were very rare from then onwards, with Bischoff making two more sub appearances in the domestic cups. He came on in Arsenal’s 2-0 League Cup loss at Burnley before coming in an FA Cup replay against Cardiff in early 2009.
Bischoff’s only appearance in the Premier League came in a comfortable victory at Portsmouth towards the end of the 2008/09 season, replacing Theo Walcott in the 64th minute.
When his contract expired in the summer of 2009, Arsenal didn’t renew it. Wenger has a history of signing youngsters, particularly those from France or around Europe and turning them into superstars. The Bischoff experiment failed though and is one he would probably rather forget.
Where is he now?: It’s fair to say that four sub appearances for Arsenal and a bad injury record is hardly the sort of thing that other Premier League sides are looking for when trying to sign players. Bischoff’s career in the top flight of English football was over.
He found a home in Portugal though, the country he represented at under-21 level. He signed for Academica on a two-year deal in August 2009. He made his debut in October 2009 before being replaced at half-time. That turned out to be his only appearance of the season. He finished the 2009/10 season on loan at second division side Aves. After returning to Academica for a season, he signed with Aves on a permanent basis in the summer of 2011.
In the summer of 2012 he moved back to Germany, where he now plays for third division club Pruben Munster (it translates to Prussia Munster in English, the German spelling is different of course). Having looked at his profile on their website, he is under contract there until the summer of 2014.
Hopefully for Amaury, he has finally found a home he can settle in. He is a player who has certainly travelled around a fair bit for somebody who turns 26 later this month.