In many ways, it is difficult to believe that defensive-midfieder Emmanuel Frimpong is only 22-years-old, as he seems to have been in our collective consciousness so much longer.
But whilst he is popular amongst the tabloids for having a self-created comedy phrase-cum-clothing brand, it is worth remembering that he was once an exciting prospect amongst the Arsenal fans, as he offered something different to what players representing The Gunners normally do.
Described as â€œa winnerâ€ by Wenger initially despite being a quintessentially â€œun-Wengerâ€ player, Frimpong this week was released from his contract at Championship club Barnsley, despite only lasting there for four months after being signed in January.
On the face of it, Frimpong certainly was not a bad signing for Barnsley. A player who had made several Premier League appearances in his career and even one appearance in the Champions League, and had never looked particularly out-of-his-depth, the prospect of an Emmanuel Frimpong who could stay on the straight and narrow was an exciting one â€“ though this is something clearly more easily said than done.
A player willing to run around, put himself about and give his all for the team is something that certainly holds a lot of currency in the English lower leagues, so to criticise the signing in the first place is slightly naÃ¯ve.
After rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament whilst on loan to then-Premier League side Wolves the previous year â€“ for the second time in his career â€“ the second half of the 2012-13 season was spent on-loan at Fulham, where he made just six appearances. Cumulating an average performance score of 56, he demonstrated a clear drop in his defensive performances, winning just 44% of his tackles, and committing over twice as many fouls as he suffered.
Whilst one can argue that this is just the nature of his game, such a poor tackle success rate for a play intended to break up play clearly is not a functional way of operating.
Having spent the first few months of this season in Arsenalâ€™s store cupboard ready to be utilised if absolutely necessary, Frimpong eventually got a move to Barnsley in January, as he lit up the world with his comedy expression of disappointment as he held up the The Tykes shirt upon arriving at Oakwell.
Followed by a Georgi Hristov-esque comment complaining about his chances with the ladies up North, his mind was obviously still concerned with his off-the-field chances when he played against Sheffield Wednesday on his debut, as he racked up an undeniably impressive performance score of -37 in one game. Lasting 30 minutes before getting sent off for a second yellow card, this very much set the precedent for Frimpong, with the injury-prone midfielder not playing for Barnsley since the end of March
The question really is â€œwhat now?â€ for Emmanuel Frimpong. Try again at another Championship club â€“ perhaps one with better looking ladies? Go abroad and spread of the word of the â€œDENCHâ€ brand? Or just return to the Arsenal training ground and beg Wenger for forgiveness? Whatever happens, Iâ€™m sure it will be entertaining.
Source: By Sam Crocker, Squakwa