Arsenal’s African Players Number 6 – Kolo Toure

So, here’s a classic example of how Arsene Wenger could spot a gem and turn him into an Arsenal superstar. It also makes a myth of the notion he couldn’t spot a defender, apparently lucky that he inherited George Graham’s back 4. In 2002, for just 150 000, we signed an unknown player from ASEC Mimosas in the Ivory Coast whilst our rivals were splashing out millions. While often in his brother’s shadow, he went on to win 2 Premierships, 2 FA Cups, 1 SPL and an African Nations Cup.

Kolo Touré – played 326 Scored 14

Debuted during the 2002/2003 season as the ultimate utility squad player, featuring in numerous defensive and midfield positions and quickly became a fan favourite due to his work ethic. Thanks to him his baby brother Yaya came to London for a trial. Yaya had a bigger reputation then his sibling, but our manager felt his display at Barnet in a friendly was ‘average’.

Having failed to retain our title and the signing of Pascal Cygan having not worked out the club were under pressure in 2003 to spend serious money on a centre back with Keown ageing. At a time when Roman Abramovich had purchased Chelsea, many gooners were not satisfied that our solution was to ask Kolo to play out of position. The outcome was an ever present in a title campaign where we didn’t lose a single match.

In his role, he had a knack for getting goals, scoring the last ever European goal at Highbury. During the move to the Emirates he stepped up as one of our main leaders in the dressing room. His age and injury record in his final 12 months made his transfer to Man City work for everyone. He is developing as a coach under Brendan Rodgers at Leicester meaning a place in our staff one day is a possibility. Internationally he was part of Ivory Coast’s golden generation always accused of underachieving until he won the Cup of Nations in 2015.

Unlike other ex gooners who moved to Manchester, Kolo always gets a positive reaction on his return to North London.

Dan Smith


  1. One of my best African players at Arsenal. I was gutted we missed out on his brother, I still am

    1. Kolo the legend.
      The reason we missed out on Ya Ya was when he had a trial with us Wenger wasn’t impressed and said he wasn’t good enough!
      Mind you, Wenger even had the cheek to ask Zlatan to come to Arsenal for a trial, which of course he refused to do.

  2. OT, this opinion resonates my thoughts about our players are valued during transfer.
    You know what I can’t stand about Arsenal in the transfer window? If Torreira played for anyone else and we were being linked with him, the stories in the papers would be that his club are demanding £90m, or something like that. It always happens. A good season, a young player, and when Arsenal are interested, they want mega bucks. But when it’s our player, we hear some ridiculous stuff going round. I’m not saying the rumours are true; they’re almost certainly not. Why the actual F would we even think about letting Torreira go (unless some truly outrageous offer came in)? But it always happens in the papers, they seem to think – rightly or wrongly – that we are total shit at selling players for good prices, and total shit at buying players for good prices. It just pisses me off. Which is partly why I now try to avoid as much of the transfer speculation as I can. Copied

    1. Media took his words out of context and all of a sudden agent starts making noise and we start hearing from media how Torrreira wants to leave and read some days ago about how he submitted a transfer request.All this is ridiculous because he hasnt said he wants to leave directly or indirectly.He might be open to a move away but that doesn’t mean he is pushing for a move away

  3. As stated days ago and I repeat Torreira does not want to leave Arsenal.All these noises are coming from his agent who wants to get him a new contract.Of course it’s still possible he leaves but media took his word out of context.A player implies he’s feeling the pressure and all of a sudden he wants to leave.
    AC Milan structured their bid to total €50m.Bid was rejected because of the structure.If they want to sign him they must give a better offer.But the fact should be made clear that Torreira never said anywhere directly or indirectly that he wanted to leave Arsenal

      1. Bid must have been submitted spiritually so we couldn’t hear of it??
        I don’t know why but the same guy who confirmed the first bid(£17m) being rejected before many sources said we would submit a 2nd bid on Monday.He was wrong or maybe club have decided to meet the £25m asking price and not include any youngsters and Carl Jenkinson as part of the deal

  4. Loved the story about his trial.. about how he took Henry & Bergkamp out.. and then Arsene!! Arsene had an ice pack on his ankle – Kolo was close to tears as thought he’d blown it.. Arsene said I don’t think he meant it, we’re signing him tomorrow as I like his desire!! ?
    He was brilliant.. and what I love now, is at the PDC darts, the crowd are always chanting Kolo & Yaya Toure.. I have no idea why, as it’s darts, but it brings a smile to my face every time I hear it!!
    Thank you, Kolo ?

  5. A player who benefited from playing with defensive partners who made him look far better than what he was in my opinion.Sol Campbell first and then William Gallas.As soon as we mugged Citeh off for £24m he was found out.Good player but not as good as he was made out to be

  6. I am totally with Phil and his opinion of Toure. Great bloke, BUT good only and nowhere near a great player who definitely benefited by playing with the impressive CAMPBELL AND WITH A TOP DEFENCE AND GREAT TEAM. What deeply frustrates me as a truth and perspective lover, is how so many try to superhype merely decent or even good players as world class. Koscielny is an example of a very good, at his peak, but not great player, foolishly and regularly claimed on here by Gooners as WC. If we accept ,as I do, that Adams, Bould, Campbell, the younger O’Leary and McLintock at his peak were world class, then to compare Koscielny to any of those is nonsensical. I have even laughably seen Kanu called WC and despair at the lack of judgement and constant hype of the hype merchants . Most of these hype merchants are still too young to have seen a true WC Arsenal player in the flesh, wearing our shirt. Henry, Bergkamp, Pires were WC;Ljungberg was merely very good. There is a key difference. Think on, you hype merchants (who almost to a man or woman happen to be very young and inexperienced.

    1. Exactly Jon-such a huge difference between very good and World Class and you are correct that it is a term used far too often when completely unwarranted.Was Tony Adams world class?I believe he was.Steve Bould?Very Close But not in the same class as TA.Same with Martin Keown.Exeptional defender but not world class.But what I would give now to have any two of those three at the back next season.Add the three of O’Leary Mclintock and Campbell and you just have to ask the question.Why have we allowed a defence to represent Arsenal without ever having players of this Calibre in the side?

      1. PHIL, The shambolic defence which has been increasingly so each coming season has been a sick joke for a decade now. This is the PRIME REASON, AMONG MANY OTHERS TOO,THAT I SO DESPERATELY WANTED WENGER SACKED A FULL DECADE AGO AND EVER SINCE, TIL HE FINALLY, AND GLORIOUSLY, FOR US, GOT SACKED. Ooops, I mean resigned, BUT ONLY IF KEN IS READING THIS. The last great outfielder defender we had here was Sol Campbell, ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. A total disgrace for a club of our world wide standing.

  7. A key player in our Invincible team, a man who loved the club and the fans.
    As admin says, another player who benefitted from AW trying players out of position to see if they could/would improve.
    So pleased he proved he was an excellent player in his own right and didn’t need to hang on to his brothers coat tails, unlike (for us older fans) Mel and John Charles.

  8. He always plays with passion and a great servant of our great club, will love to have him all day, don’t understand the beef, he was a massive bargain!

  9. Actually Robert pires was world class the best winger I’ve seen in my life time .and one of my all time favourites.
    Kanu while being a very tricky player was no where near world class ,a good player yes .
    So does that border on racism aswell ?
    Does it border on racism when I’ve said auba was our best player last season while others have said they would sell him ? You know the African origin player
    You Abel my friend need to calm your shit down ,you had a pop about me on another post because of Iwobi .
    You always get defensive and look for any excuse to use the shit words you come out with ,we see it a lot on here and it’s usually the same people .

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs