New Aberdeen signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was once hailed as an ‘unbelievable finisher’ by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger who also said he had ‘outstanding quality’.
Legend Wenger tipped Emmanuel-Thomas for the top when he was his manager at the Gunners, insisting ‘right foot, left foot, he is unbelievable in front of goal’.
Attacker Emmanuel-Thomas will join Aberdeen on a two year contract when the summer transfer window opens on June 1.
The 30-year-old is Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass’ fourth signing of his squad rebuild and follows Motherwell’s Scotland international defender Declan Gallagher, Celtic captain Scott Brown and on loan Oldham keeper Gary Woods.
Emmanuel-Thomas, also known as JET, came through the youth ranks at Arsenal and won the 2008-09 FA Youth Cup with the Gunners.
Wenger put the then teenage JET out on loan to gain experience at Blackpool and Doncaster but was confident he could become an Arsenal first team star.
In 2010 Wenger said: “Jay is knocking very hard on my door – with two hands.
“He has outstanding quality.
“He works very hard to get his fitness right.
“When his fitness is right, Jay will be not only a good player, but a great player.
“One thing is for sure – he can score goals.
“That is a massive talent you cannot give to people, his right foot, left foot, he is unbelievable in front of goal.
“This guy is an unbelievable finisher, inside and outside of the box.
“He has outstanding qualities, he has the build you dream to have.
“It is down to how far he wants to go because he has big potential.”
Emmanuel-Thomas would go on to have spells with Ipswich Town, Bristol City and QPR before a spell in Thailand.
He signed for Livingston last October and netted nine goals during the 2020-21 season.
Aberdeen fans will be well aware of his scoring potency as JET netted a double in Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup penalty shoot-out defeat of Livingston.
He then netted a sublime volley in Livi’s 2-1 loss to the Dons weeks later.
During his time at Arsenal JET trained alongside French legend Thierry Henry – one of the greatest ever goal-scorers in the Premier League.
In March this year he netted a goal reminiscent of Henry’s legendary wonder-strike against Manchester United in 2000.
JET received the ball from Nicky Devlin with his back to goal then flicked it up with his left foot before unleashing an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
He admitted he took tips from Henry and was recreating that memorable goal.
Emmanuel Thomas said: “Thierry was one of my idols, especially being at Arsenal with him and seeing him in training every day.
“You never think you’re going to have the chance to replicate a goal as legendary as the one he scored against United.
“It just seemed to sit up perfectly for me to execute it.
“I was thinking about it as the ball was on its way to me – it was at the right speed, the defender was on the right side of me, so I was thinking that I could shift the ball up with the first touch.”
Emmanuel-Thomas continued : “I was at Arsenal from when I was seven and that goal against United was one you’ll never, ever forget.
“That and the backheel he scored at Charlton are the two he scored at Arsenal that I’ll remember most.”
The Red Army will be hoping JET can recreate that with Aberdeen.