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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Aliadiere guns for glory
Jeremie Aliadiere made his Premiership debut against Fulham
Aliadiere made his Premiership debut against Fulham

Jeremie Aliadiere's arrival at Arsenal three years ago caused quite a commotion across the English Channel.

The loss of one of France's most exciting young talents provoked outrage in Gallic footballing circles, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger cast as the villain in chief.

Wenger had faced similar accusations of poaching when he snapped up the unknown teenager Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain.


Since I arrived at Arsenal I have put all my trust in Arsene Wenger
Jeremie Aliadiere

And if Aliadiere's impact at Highbury turns out to be half as dramatic as Anelka's, if a little more lasting, Wenger will consider the earbashing to have been well worth it.

Like Anelka and his Arsenal replacement Thierry Henry, striker Aliadiere was groomed at France's prestigious Institut National de Football at Clairefontaine.

His coach there, Claude Dusseau, was so impressed that he rated Aliadiere, Henry and Anelka as the best strikers France had produced in a decade.

After representing his country at under-15 level, and with Barcelona and Inter Milan vying for his services, Aliadiere joined Arsenal on a reported seven-year contract worth 1.3m.

Now 19, he has done enough to suggest he will buck a trend which has seen Arsenal's youngsters consistently struggle to force their way into Wenger's first-team plans.

Jeremie Aliadiere in action for the Arsenal youth side
Aliadiere equalled Owen's FA Youth Cup record
Aliadiere's goalscoring potential became apparent during Arsenal's march to their second straight FA Youth Cup triumph in 2001.

The pacy striker finished the campaign with nine goals, equalling Michael Owen's record haul for Liverpool in the competition in 1996.

He top scored for Arsenal's reserve team last season, and was handed his first-team debut as a substitute in the Worthington Cup victory over Grimsby.

Another cameo followed in the next round against Blackburn, and Aliadiere made his Premiership debut against Fulham at Highbury in February, replacing Henry eight minutes from time.

There was even a taste of European action as he was named as an unused substitute in Arsenal's Champions League games at Schalke and Juventus.

Aliadiere's status as a star in the making is reflected in the fact that he already has a fan club and, like his more illustrious countrymen Fabien Barthez and Marcel Desailly, his own personal website.

And he is convinced he is ready to make his mark after being called up to train permanently with Wenger's first-team squad.

"I hope to play as much as possible in the league next season, and even the Champions League," Aliadiere announced on his website.

"I always expect more for myself. When you see a player like Djibril Cisse take part in the World Cup at 20 years old, it makes you jealous.

"Since I arrived at Arsenal from Clairefontaine, I have put all my trust in Arsene Wenger. I know that under his guidance I can only improve.

"It looks like he will give me a chance next season. We have talked tactics together. I think he wants me to play as a striker.

"I'm not a pure goalscorer, like David Trezeguet. I like to get involved in a game and see plenty of the ball, like Thierry Henry."

If Wenger can achieve the same results with this young Frenchman that he has with Henry, he might just persuade his old enemies in Clairefontaine to make Highbury their official finishing school.


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