There was a lot of expectation when Francis Jeffers arrived at Arsenal.
Having splashed out up to £10million on him in 2001 to sign him from Everton (Telegraph), many had been hoping the exciting English striker would be the man to help them fire the goals they needed at Highbury.
Arsene Wenger had certainly hoped he would be the centre-forward he needed and immediately seemed to put the knockers on him as soon as Jeffers arrived at the club.
“He is obsessed with scoring goals,” he told the Telegraph before adding “Some foreign strikers take longer to adapt to the Premiership, to the hardness you need in the box. He knows what it’s like, he knows what it takes to play away at Southampton and Newcastle.”
And, at the time, those comments would not have been misguided regarding the then-20-year-old as he had been making a big name for himself with Everton.
An England Under-21 international at the time, the Goodison Park man had thrived in front of goal as he had scored 20 goals in less than 40 starts.
But, his time in north London proved to be nothing but a disaster.
He was ravished by injuries during his time at Arsenal and failed to build any momentum and consistency, which limited him to just 22 appearances in three years between 2001 and 2004. He managed to score just four goals during his time under Wenger and was clearly not the ‘fox-in-the-box’ that the manager had hoped he would be (Telegraph).
Things did not get much better from then on either, as a loan spell with Everton did not help him rediscover his form before making a permanent switch to Charlton Athletic for a £2.6m fee (BBC); what a huge loss!
Jeffers failed to make an impact at The Valley and scored three Premier League goals in his first season, however, he joined Rangers on loan but didn’t trouble any opposition goalkeeper during the first half of the 2005 campaign. He was then released by the Addicks at the end of the 05/06 season and joined Blackburn Rovers.
But, as you guessed, he failed to get on the scoresheet for them in the top-flight and was sent to Ipswich Town where he netted four goals in nine games in the Championship. Staying in the division, the forward joined Sheffield Wednesday but managed to find the net just five times in 54 appearances across three seasons.
A year at Motherwell either side of two different spells in Australia with Newcastle Jets followed before time in Malta with Floriana. Jeffers eventually finished his career in League Two with Accrington Stanley. Who are they?!
Injuries troubled him wherever he went and it seemed he just completely forgot how to play football following his initial move to Arsenal.
For a player who holds the record for the most goals at the Under-21 international level for England, the fact that he had earned just one senior cap (in which he did score) probably just goes to show how bad things went for his career.
Arsenal fans, what do you remember of Jeffers? How disappointed are you with how things turned out? Let us know what you think below!
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