'Next Robert Pires' Thomas Eisfeld reflects on Arsenal career

03 April 2021 04:40

Even the most ardent Arsenal fan would have to rack their brain when asked about Thomas Eisfeld's time at the club.

The midfielder's arrival at the Emirates Stadium from Borussia Dortmund on deadline day of the 2012 January transfer window went somewhat under the radar, though that's to be expected with the world's eyes firmly set on Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll's respective bumper moves.

Thomas Eisfeld spent over two years with Arsenal | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Eisfeld has described the whirlwind of a day he joined the club he'd always dreamt of playing for, adding that he couldn't quite believe Arsenal wanted to sign him.

“The deal was quite last-minute,” he told the Mirror. “I was on a plane over, did the medical then was sat in Arsene’s office.

“Obviously as a young player it’s very, very exciting to meet someone of the calibre of Arsene Wenger. Especially because at the time I played for Dortmund Under-19s. I hadn’t had much to do with the first team yet, I had trained with them only two or three times."

However, in more than two years at the club, Eisfeld failed to make a single Premier league appearance for the Gunners.

He did, however, produce an eye-catching display in a League Cup win against West Brom in 2013, scoring the opener and looking lively throughout, and the performance led Wenger to pay him a compliment which has stuck in his mind ever since.

Thomas Eisfeld moved from Arsenal to Fulham in 2014 | Harry Engels/Getty Images

“I read at the time that Arsene Wenger had compared me to [Robert] Pires after the game,” he added. “Obviously that was very, very special but I’m really not one to read too much in the media about games or performances.

“I’ve always known that football is a very forgetful environment - one day you are the hero then the next time you can be the villain, so I tried to stay away from that. But I remember the Pires thing very fondly because it came from Arsene Wenger, who, for me is such an important person in football."

Despite Wenger lauding the youngster's performance in the League Cup, Eisfeld couldn't cement his place in the first-team setup and eventually move to Fulham.

“We had Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey then Mesut Ozil joined as well, and they’d all proved they could perform at a high level," he said.

"I had a very good conversation with the guys at Fulham, including Felix Magath who was manager at the time, and got the feeling I would feature there much more regularly. In hindsight, the move to Fulham was maybe not the best."

Thomas Eisfeld moved on from Arsenal having failed to cement his place in the first team | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

During Eisfeld's spell with Arsenal he shared a dressing room with now Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

He believes the Spaniard has always displayed the characteristics needed to become a top manager, and that Arteta will turn things round at the club if he's given time.

"From my point of view, it was always clear in the dressing room that Arteta had the ability to move on and become either a manager," he said. “He’s an intelligent individual, extremely committed. He was always one of the earliest guys at the training ground, he would do things extremely diligently and correctly.

“Obviously Arsenal had a lot of change after Arsene Wenger, but I think Arteta has got what it takes if he’s given time to bring the club back to the level that they belong."

Source: 90min