Amaury Bischoff: Arsenal’s gamble which never paid off

The former Arsenal midfielder made just one first team appearance for the Gunners but is currently enjoying his football in the German third division


It will be ten years ago in July when Arsenal confirmed the signing of a French-born Portugal Under-21 international from Werder Bremen on a free transfer.

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The move came about amid little fanfare and supporters at the time questioned why Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had decided to take a gamble on an injury-prone player with just one senior appearance to his name for the Bundesliga outfit.

"Amaury is a young, promising player who we have taken a gamble on because he has been out for a long time,” Wenger told the club website.

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"We have to get him to a very good (fitness) level.

"He has talent but we’ll have to wait two or three months to get him competitive. He has had two surgeries on his groin so it is a gamble on his talent." 

Bischoff, who currently plays in the third tier of German football for Hansa Rostock, is a technically-astute midfielder with an excellent set piece range, but his qualities were unbeknown to many Arsenal supporters who saw his arrival as another ‘cheap’ addition to a squad which required big-money signings.

Amaury Bischoff

Now 29, Bischoff, who made just one Premier League appearance for Arsenal and left the club following a troublesome injury problem in the summer of 2009, admitted in an exclusive interview with Goal that he still keeps in contact with Wenger and looks out for the team’s results.

“Playing for Arsenal is something every players dreams of,” said Bischoff.

“When I was a child a dreamed of playing for such a club. I made seven appearances for the first team and it was a great feeling. The whole club is fantastic and I enjoyed playing with those players. It was a dream come true to wear the Arsenal shirt and it was an overwhelming feeling to play together with all those players. 

“I follow every game. I’m interested in football in general, and I follow every league. But of course, Arsenal is a bit more important for me.”

Being described as a ‘gamble’ by the man who signed you isn’t necessarily the biggest compliment you could be given, but Bischoff says his relationship with Wenger was excellent throughout his time at the club and says he continues to keep in contact with the Frenchman who plucked him out of relative obscurity.

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“When I came to Arsenal I was injured and it took me two months to be back on pitch. But the rehab there was great, they did everything for me. I didn't have any pressure and it was arranged with Arsene Wenger this way.

“Yes, we still have contact sometimes. When Arsenal played the German teams in the Champions League in recent years I was in the hotel and talked to him. We still have a good relationship although we don't talk each day. But I see him once or twice in a year.

Wenger's decision to take a gamble on Bischoff never paid off and after eventually returning to fitness he found himself low down in the midfield pecking order. In the summer of 2009, Bischoff met with Wenger and decided that he needed to leave the club in search of regular playing time.

"It wasn't easy [to decide to leave], because I was injured. But I came back and gave it all. Then the question came up whether to stay or to leave.

"I talked to Wenger and then we decided that it might be better to leave the club, because I wanted go play more games for the first team.

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"I wasn't injured that often, they only heavy injury was at Arsenal. Three years ago I had a mental coach because I received three red cards in three months. This helped me a lot and certainly could be a good solution for other players, because football is very often just about what is going on in your head."

Following spells with Academica and Aves in the Portuguese second division, Bischoff joined SC Preußen Münster in 2012 where he made over 100 appearances for side who ply their trade in the third tier of German football.

After injuries, red cards and disappointments, it appears that Amaury Bischoff is now finally enjoying his football at Hansa Rostock, a team hoping to get promotion to the German second division this season. 

"I am feeling good right now even though I've only been here for a short time. It's getting better day by day.

"I received a warm welcome here and I am happy. We want to get 45 points first and stay in the 3. Liga but our aim for the future is promotion for the 2. Bundesliga. The conditions here are great and this club belongs to 2. Bundesliga."