Speaking to talkSPORT, former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson slammed current Gunners star Theo Walcott, claiming the winger is a 'liability'. Walcott has been at the Emirates since he was 16 following his multi-million move to north London from Southampton in 2006, but now 23, Robson believes Arsenal should let him go. Like Walcott, the players below all had praise lavished on them from a young age, but for a variety of reasons were never as impressive as they were in those early years…
Liverpool striker Fowler looked like a world beater when he burst on to the scene at 17 in 1992 and quickly became a hero at Anfield following his exploits in front of goal. A hat-trick on his debut for the club in a 1993 League Cup tie against Fulham was followed by five against the same opposition in the second leg. Then, at 19, Fowler netted a four and half minute hat-trick in 1994 against Arsenal - he would go on to score 31 goals that season, then 36 and 31 in the next two seasons. A serious knee injury cut short a run of 13 goals in 13 games the next campaign and Fowler would never score 20 goals or more in a season ever again - in fact, he would only reach double figures twice, in 1998/99 and 2000/01. The emergence of Michael Owen didn't help, neither did the appointment of Gerard Houllier, who was never as big a Fowler fan as Roy Evans. In 2001 Houllier went against the wishes of Liverpool fans and shipped Fowler off to Leeds for £12m. The 26-year-old never scaled the heights of the 90s and stints at Man City, Cardiff, Blackburn as well as spells in Australia and Thailand followed. He did have one more go with Liverpool when Rafael Benitez snapped him up for six months in 2006.
Giovani Dos Santos
In 2005, Mexican Dos Santos' performances, along with Carlos Vela, stole the show at the U17 World Cup as Mexico romped home with the trophy and he finished second behind Brazil and Man United's Anderson for the Player of the Tournament award. In 2008, Spurs splashed out an initial £4.7m on the 19-year-old, rising to £8.6m depending on appearances but at Tottenham, despite wowing fans in pre-season, Dos Santos has not been able to hold down a regular starting berth. Now 23, the player has a year left on his contract in north London, and having already been loaned to Ipswich, Galatasaray and Racing Santander, while making just 17 league appearances at White Hart Lane, it's unlikely that Dos Santos, once coveted by a host of top European clubs, will be staying there much longer.
Arsenal paid Notts Country a record £2m for trainee Pennant in 1999 when the winger was just 15 and he scored a hat-trick against Southampton on his full Premier League debut in 2003. Pennant showed flashes of his potential, but was sold by Arsenal, with ill-discipline and brushes with the law plaguing his career. Liverpool gave him an opportunity in 2006, after a string of loan spells at Watford, Leeds and Birmingham, and he starred in the 2007 Champions League final defeat to Milan, but after two years with the Reds he was moved on again. A spell at Portsmouth was followed by Real Zaragoza and Stoke, where he is currently plying his trade.
Alex Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox snapped up the 17-year-old from Torquay in 1988 after going to watch him play in the south of England. Before Ryan Giggs broke into the first team, Sharpe's displays down the wing lit up football grounds and he was the young star of Man United's 1991 Cup Winners Cup triumph - English football's first European trophy since the ban was lifted in 1990. Sharpe scored a brilliant hat-trick at Arsenal in late 1991, but like George Best before him, he developed a reputation as a party boy. In spring 1992 Ferguson famously broke up a party at Sharpe's house, giving his young star and the impressionable Ryan Giggs an ear bashing, which was made worse when United blew their hopes of a first title in 25 years on the run-in. Sharpe and United recovered to win the Premier League the following season, but while Giggs went from strength-to-strength and became the latest Old Trafford poster boy, Sharpe became more of a peripheral figure, despite picking up a title and FA Cup-winning medals. By the time he was 25, his time at Man United was finished as the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes broke into the first team and, after leaving the club in 1996, he played for Leeds, Bradford, Exeter, Portsmouth and Icelandic side Grindavik.
For a moment it looked like the young Spaniard was set for a glittering career at the highest level with the world's best footballing side. After graduating from Barcelona's academy the striker became the club's youngest scorer when he netted against Villarreal in October 2007 at the age of 17 years and 53 days old. He finished the 2007/08 season with 10 goals in his debut season, but following the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager in 2008, Bojan was confined to the bench, with Lionel Messi, Pedro and David Villa all ahead of him. He finally left the Nou Camp in 2011 for Roma when he was 20, with Barcelona being paid £10.5m for the youngster, though they have the option of buying him back at the end of the 2012/13 campaign for £11.5m. Roma, however, can block the deal and in one of the most ridiculously complicated transfers ever, that would mean the initial transfer fee rises to £35.2m. In Italy in the 2011/12 season he scored seven times in 33 games.
At 14, he was feted around the world as a superstar in waiting. Nike reportedly threw a £1m at him to sign with them and at 16, he made his debut for the US national team against Canada in 2006. That year he also began a two-week trial at Man United, though nothing materialised and he went back to America and signed for Real Salt Lake from DC United before heading back across the Atlantic to Benfica in 2007. His stay in Portugal was short-lived and Adu, by now 19, joined Monaco on loan and spent the next few years being loaned to various clubs. Philadelphia Union snapped the forward up in 2011.
Do you agree with Stewart Robson - should Arsenal sell Theo Walcott?