Stathis Tavlaridis

Stathis Tavlaridis

Stathis Tavlaridis may not have made the grade at Arsenal, but his career certainly did not enter a downward spiral after his departure from Highbury.

The defender made the move to north London from Iraklis Thessaloniki in 2001, emerging as a highly-rated talent in the Greek Super League.

But the 21-year-old was restricted to just seven starts in Arsenal colours - six of them in the League Cup - and a move to Lille after a successful loan spell eventually followed. Ousting Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell from Arsene Wenger's tried and tested backline was simply a bridge too far.

Tavlaridis featured once in the Premier League, coming on as a second-half substitute in Arsenal's 6-1 victory over Southampton in May 2003.

His introduction to English football was a harsh one - a 4-0 League Cup defeat at Blackburn - but the defender's career soon picked up.

After leaving Highbury he won the first of two Greek caps in 2004, before enjoying a six-year spell in Ligue 1 with Lille and Saint-Etienne respectively. A move back to Greece with Larissa followed, before Tavlaridis eventually made the switch to Crete outfit OFI in 2011.

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