Wellington Silva..

What happened to the 17-year-old Brazilian prodigy who Arsenal signed in 2010

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Love it or hate it, Arsene Wenger has something of a reputation for taking major risks with bringing young players to Arsenal.

Some youth stars such as Hector Bellerin, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain go onto succeed, while the likes of Yaya Sanogo and Thomas Eisfeld proceed to populate the Frenchman's 'worst signings' list.

Nevertheless, one of the most justified transfer decisions Wenger made came in the form of a young player called Wellington Silva, a winger popularly dubbed the 'New Neymar' across UK newspapers.

He first agreed his Arsenal move on Arsenal on December 31, 2009, with a fee of £3.5 million eventually agreed.

It didn't exactly break the bank at the Emirates Stadium but when you consider Arsenal's record signing at the time was Andrei Arshavin for £14.45 million, it was quite the investment.

Six loan spells after FA withdraw 'Special Talent Visa'

Moreover, Wellington has had an extremely confusing and eventful career since that fateful move to north London and even eight years on, it's difficult to put your finger on where it's headed.

After signing for Arsenal, Wellington was moving straight into the club's youth teams and instantly impressed with a brilliant strike against Manchester United on his debut for the reserves.

He then feature in a friendly behind-closed-doors in which he starred against Dagenham & Redbridge, bagging a brace. However, one year later and the FA decided to reverse their decision to grant Wellington a "Special Talent Visa."

UD Almeria v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

As a result, Arsenal were forced to loan out their Brazilian talent and he wouldn't permanently return to the club until 2015.

The now 25-year-old spent time out with Levante, CD Alcoyano, SD Ponferradina, Real Murcia and Almeria before the FA finally resolved his via issue and accommodated time with Bolton Wanderers.

It was at this point that Wenger remarked: “He’s a creative, tricky, quick player. He’s absolutely stunning to watch and I believe Bolton will be surprised by his quality."

Finally leaves Arsenal in 2016 after Bolton spell

Bolton Wanderers v Eastleigh - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay

Two goals in 22 appearances in the Championship looked to have been enough for him to be given his long awaited chance at Arsenal. However, it wasn't to be, with Wellington finally leaving the club on a permanent basis in 2016 to return to Fluminese.

Re-signing for Arsenal, then leaving again weeks later

This is where things get seriously complicated, though, with Arsenal actually deciding to activate his buy-back clause in 2017 after Bordeaux expressed interest in buying him for £3 million, according to the Mirror.

What happened next? Arsenal signed him, Wellington failed his medical in France and he returned to Fluminese for a third time who have now loaned him out to Internacional.


And breathe.

Interestingly, Wellington is now performing well in Brazil but you have to wonder whether he's missed his big opportunity now that time is escaping him.

A potential move to Inter Milan was mooted as recently as December, however, and in a career as bonkers as Wellington's, you wouldn't write it off.

Who do you think is Arsene Wenger's best surprise signing at Arsenal? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Arsene Wenger
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