Where Are They Now: Francis Jeffers

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In 2001 Arsenal signed the then 20-year-old Francis Jeffers for a staggering fee of £8 million. The figure raised some eyebrows at the time, but could be vindicated as he was a huge prospect, with twenty Premiership goals already under his belt. Competition in the Arsenal forward line was fierce, and Jeffers struggled for consistent opportunities in the first-team. After only 2 seasons with the club, in which he scored 8 goals, the Englishman was allowed to leave on loan, rejoining the Toffees for a second spell. From this point onwards Jeffers career gradually went downhill, and now at the age of 32 he finds himself unattached after a rather turbulent career.

After his second, and rather underwhelming second spell at Everton, Jeffers was allowed to leave for £2.6 million to Charlton Athletic. This was seen as the move to get his career back on track, but after only year he was loaned out to SPL side Rangers. During his time at both clubs he played just under 30 league games, scoring only three league goals.

After being released in 2006, Blackburn Rovers were the next side to take a chance on the Liverpudlian. His one and only goal came in the Uefa Cup and within 7 months he was on the move again, this time joining Ipswich on loan. Here he managed his best goal to game ratio at any club he played for, notching up four times in 9 games. Championship side Sheffield Wednesday signed Jeffers up in 2007 and he stayed in Yorkshire for 4 seasons, playing 54 league games but scoring only 5 times. After Wednesday were relegated to League One, Jeffers left England permanently for the first time in his career, joining Australian side Newcastle Jets.

He played 10 times for the club, but after both parties failed to agree a new deal he moved back to Britain and linked up with Scottish side Motherwell. His stay with the ‘Well’ was short-lived and in October 2011 he returned to Australia to play for Newcastle Jets once more. In his second spell he struggled to adapt , and with only one league goal to his name at the end of the campaign, Jeffers was soon on the move again.

This time he joined Maltese champions Floriani. Jeffers managed two games for the club before mutually terminating his contract and returning to England. Towards the end of the 2012/13 season he joined League 2 side Accrington Stanley, plying 7 league games and scoring twice. To date this was the last professional club he played with.

At the age of 20 Jeffers had joined Arsenal for a monstrous fee and had also completed his debut for the England national side, scoring in the process. At this point it looked like he was going to have a highly successful career, but now at the age of 32 and club-less, his football career has hit rock bottom. Unfortunately for him he’ll be remembered as one of Arsenal’s biggest ever flops, never reaching the goal scoring standards in his career that he could’ve and probably should’ve done.

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