Jeremie, a product of the legendary Clairefontaine Academy, joined the Gunners at the age of 16 with a big reputation. Indeed, head coach at the Academy, Claude Dusseau, reportedly said that the three best strikers to emerge from Clairefontaine were Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka and Jeremie Aliadiere.
It took the young Frenchman no time to catch the eye in the youth ranks with stellar performances in the FA Youth Cup and later the Carling Cup. His progress was initially hampered by injuries and he eventually made his debut for Arsenal as a substitute in a 4-1 victory over Fulham in the 2001/02 season. He would open his account for the Club the following season in Arsenal’s 5-2 victory over West Brom.
Jeremie was used mostly in the Carling Cup but proved a useful squad player in the Premier League too featuring enough to earn himself a Premier League winner’s medal in 2004.
Injuries continued to frustrate the Frenchman in the subsequent season and, as such, only substitute appearances were forthcoming. However, Arsene Wenger saw enough in his reserve-team performances to offer him a long-term contract in 2005.
A lack of first-team opportunities prompted the manager to send Jeremie in search of first-team football in a series of loan moves throughout 2005 and 2006. First, he joined Celtic on a season-long deal but West Ham took up the reins of the contract after he failed to make an impression north of the border. He finished this rather nomadic period with a spell on-loan at Wolves scoring twice in 14 outings.
The 2006/07 campaign was Jeremie's final season at Arsenal and it included arguably his finest moments in an Arsenal jersey. Again, his main first-team involvement came in the Carling Cup but he did feature sparingly in the League. On January 9, 2007, the Frenchman scored once and assisted twice as Arsenal romped to a 6-3 victory at Anfield in the Carling Cup Quarter-Final. He then scored a crucial stoppage-time goal in the Semi-Final victory against Tottenham.
An injury to Robin van Persie seemed to have opened the door for Jeremie to mount a prolonged first-team assault but it was not to be. The Frenchman made his last Arsenal appearance on the final day of the 2006/07 season against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
WHAT THE FANS SAID:
"In the summer, my friends and I would go and play football long into the night. One of my mates longed to be Jeremie Aliadiere. Forget Thierry Henry, forget Robert Pires, he wanted to be like Jeremie Aliadiere. Whenever Aliadiere scored, my mate proclaimed he was the best in the world. It was a sad day when he left for Middlesbrough, summer football would never be the same again."
"My lasting memory of Jeremie will be the fact that, for some reason, when me and my mates used to play cricket instead of shouting "owzat!" we'd shout "Aliadiere!". For that Jeremie I will always be grateful."
"I have always been a Jeremie Aliadiere fan despite his lack of success. I remember always trying to convince friends that he was going to be great if he ever got a proper chance. Hopefuly he can still fulfill his potential elsewhere."
Niall Manley, Cork, Ireland