Eisfeld was born on 18th January 1993 at Finsterwalde, Germany. He began his footballing career at SV Quitt Ankum then joined VFL Osnabruck before heading to Borussia Dortmund in 2005. In 2009 he suffered a cruciate ligament injury that set his youth career back. After his return he scored 6 goals in 12 games for the Dortmund U19 youth team in 2011.
During the winter of 2012 on January 31st he joined Arsenal as the only winter signing which led to a heavy criticism of the Arsenal manager from the armchair know it alls. The fee is thought to be in the region of £500,000. From his exploits with the nextgen squad and the reserve team he could turn out to be another shrewd buy and Arsene gem. His contract was coming to an end in summer of 2012 and we could have got him for free, but with Dortmund preparing to offer him a bumper contract to stay in Germany, Arsenal had to move with speed in January to secure his services. He joined Arsenal on a long term contract following in the footsteps of Tomas Rosicky and Jens Lehmann. On completing the signing Thomas is quoted as saying he was proud to have signed for a great club with great players like Arsenal. He grew up watching Rosicky at Dortmund although he is the first to admit their playing styles are different. He thanked Dortmund for a fruitful 7 years and the coaches who had made him the player he is today.
He describes his move as a dream come true, a great club that nurtures and gives young talent a chance. He was mightily impressed with the training centre and enjoys the atmosphere. According to Arsene they had watched and liked him for sometime, the scouts were particularly impressed with his prolific return from injury which hastened the bid. On signing him Le Prof said he had all the right ingredients that would allow him to integrate into our quality team.
In the summer of 2012 he was selected for the 24man Asian tour squad. He went on to score the 1st goal after replacing Theo in a 2-1 comeback win over Malaysia xi. In the final game of the tour he again came on as a substitute to score the equalizing goal in a 2-2 draw with Kitchee SC. He made his professional début on 30th October in the Capital One cup, helping as the team overturned a 4-0 deficit to win 7-5 against Reading. He has featured regularly at youth levels for German youth teams as well captaining the U15, showing leadership and pedigree. He made 3 appearances for reserves last season and scored once. He made his début as Arsenal reserves beat Swansea away 2-0 in February. He impressed in the midfield despite not getting on the score sheet.
After his début, like many a Gunner before him he suffered a long term injury that ruled him out until April. On his return from injury in the penultimate game of the season in April he scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Newcastle reserves.
At the start of the 2012 revamped U21 reserve league Eisfeld scored again in a 3-0 win over Blackburn reserves at the Emirates. With Arsenal joining the Nextgen series Eisfeld was named in the squad and has since helped Arsenal qualify to the knock-out phase. Jack returned from injury in a reserve game against Everton and gave us a glimpse of the future with Eisfeld scoring an impressive double in a 2-1 away win. The second after a clipped assist from our future captain. On Guy Fawkes night in early November Arsenal got an explosive start in a 2-1 win over Bolton as Eisfeld got on the score sheet. After beating Norwich 4-2 with the mercurial German at the end of a fantastic double Arsenal qualified to the Elite group stage. This win guaranteed Arsenal at least third place in group 1. In the final game against Reading he struck a fine effort but an injury time leveller from Keown’s son Niall earned Reading a 2-2 draw which saw both teams through.
Eisfeld played well in the 1-1 home draw against West Brom U21. This game saw the return of Diaby from a long term injury. Frimpong, Jenkinson, Coquelin and Chamberlain also got much needed game time. Eisfeld played his last game in early February before being out for over a month, against Manchester United U21 at Moss lane. During this time he missed key games such as the 4-2 away loss to Tottenham U21 and the 1-0 second round nextgen away win against Inter. Eisfeld made his return after this injury lay off on 15th March against West Ham at Upton Park. He had a superb assist for Henderson in a 1-1 draw. On 20th March he was part of the U21 side that beat Manchester United U21 2-1, Bellerin with a late gasp winner.
March 25th saw Eisfeld come on as a sub against CSKA Moscow in the nextgen quarter final. The game was won 1-0 courtesy of a Gnabry goal while Eisfeld had further chances to extend our lead with a couple of well taken shots. Eisfeld was part of the scintillating semi final at Lake Como which tilted 4-3 AET in favour of Chelsea. To be frank he didn’t have a game to smile about by his lofty standards. In the 3rd and 4th place play off against Sporting Lisbon he showed great poachers instinct to pounce on a loose backpass and finish well. However couldn’t prevent a 3-1 loss and we settled for fourth. Eisfeld was not included in Steve Gatting’s U21 side that lost 2-1 away to Southampton U21 in early April. On 8th April he had a good game away to Liverpool U21 but could do nothing as we lost 3-2. Still in early April he missed the away 3-2 away win to Wolverhampton U21 and the 1-0 home loss to Tottenham U21 with an injury. April 30th saw him named on the bench against Wolves U21 which we won 2-1. He scored a cracker in his final season game at Underhill against Liverpool U21. The hard fought match ended 2-2.
A diminutive, intelligent and technically gifted playmaker who is also a clinical finisher, Eisfeld is a rare gem. He is not the most physical at 5ft 10inches slight frame but his movement makes him quite a weapon. He is an attacking midfielder who can operate on either flank or as a second striker. He is predominantly right footed. From those who oversaw his development at the Dortmund academy he was rated higher than his team mate Gotze before that ill-fated injury. His exploits on the right wing have seen comparisons with Ljungberg made. To a lesser extent he has traits of both Freddie and Cesc as wellas his own.
Arsene has described him as having a good attitude and technical ability to add value to the squad. In November in his match day programme notes the boss stated Eisfeld should make the first team before end of season. Terry Burton has described Thomas as a very intelligent footballer who plays better with better players . He notes Eisfeld gets in good positions, has excellent technique and can finish things off.
Eisfeld hails his team mates who have helped him settle down well especially Mertesacker and now joined by compatriot Podolski. He says he has always scored a lot of goals and made a lot of assists. In an interview with the official Arsenal Magazine he says it is important a player in his position has to do that. He reckons his best position is number 10 and he can play well on either flank too. However he casts a doubt on his ability to play as the target man or central striker due to his slight physique. He adds he has learnt a lot at Arsenal like playing the ball quicker while passing and moving with more effectiveness. He has also become stronger with us. Going to the Asia tour he was confident as he believes in his own ability although he did not expect to have that much impact. It gave him a real confidence boost.
VERDICT: Has the potential to be a future first team regular and can slot into the role of a free scoring midfielder or a second striker