Arsenal’s African Players Number 9 – Armand Traore

Due to the pressure of paying off stadium debt, Arsene Wenger was happy to give youth a chance, some would say too much of a chance. It became an ideal destination for many youngsters around the world, a big club where you knew you were going to get a fair chance.

Armand Traore Played 32 Scored 0

Arsenal Wenger used the League Cup to blood some of his reserve players. Many, including Traore ,impressed on our run to the final, which included wins at Goodison, Anfield and beating Spurs over two legs. Not realising we were about to go on a trophy drought, our manager kept faith with his fringe players in the final even though he knew Chelsea would be fielding their strongest line up. Despite defeat, several of our youngsters, including Traore, were given rave reviews for how they handled such an occasion at such an age.

A loan move was not a demotion but part of a club’s policy to develop young talent. Having done well in cup ties, now was the time to prove he could handle the Premiership every week. Pompey mainly used him on the left of midfield, while injuries meant it wasn’t enough to be picked ahead of Clichy.
The full back was still getting interest from the likes of PSG but was now behind Gibbs in the role for even back up for the left back position.

Unlike his first loan move, a season long stay at Juventus was no longer for his progress but based on his playing time blocked at the Emirates. Starting only 10 times in Serie A wasn’t going to help his chances in North London. Ironically his last game as a Gunner was his worst. At that point you could say he had been a decent understudy who maybe was unlucky with the loan destinations he chose.

Yet he was ripped apart at Old Trafford to such an extent that most gooners remember him more for that then any other display. Knowing he was being transferred to QPR days later, his lack of professionalism showed he didn’t have the mentality for this level. At lotus Road he was part of a squad, eventually relegated twice. He then went to Forest who loaned him to Cardiff, meaning the Championship is the only division where he had ever played weekly.

He’s perhaps an example of how picking the wrong club at the wrong time can stop your momentum and grind down your confidence. Portsmouth, Juventus and QPR were clubs all in a mess when he arrived, yet ones he was trusting to guide his future. To sum up his bad decisions, he’s currently forced to play for a Turkish under 21 side due to a restriction on foreign players

He chose to play for Senegal in 2011. His father had played for them, but you could argue having played for all the other age groups, the player had realised a call up from France was unlikely. Rewind back to that League Cup run we had, you would have predicted more from him.

Dan Smith


  1. This guy was dreadful in defending.I remember him doing very well when it came to going forward.He was terrible for most part in his last season and his career went downward after leaving Arsenal.If he became good he would really have been good

  2. These Arsenal`s African players series really do bring up an overwhelming response !………………………f##k the rest, just do the Iwobi one ! 😆
    😆 😆

  3. I’m not really sure it was him who picked the teams he was loaned to but I saw him play a few times and was mainly a decent back up. Slightly off topic but is the name Armand Traore common in Africa as I think Nigeria had two in the same team the other day?

  4. The truth is that Arsenal has had no TOP quality African players at all. Not one. Not KANU, though he was a good dribbler only but little more than that, even though he was certainly our best African but not among the top two hundred among ALL our players ever, imo. . Not Adebayor either. Nor, obviously, IWOBI! As for Traore, only dedicated Gooners would have a clue who HE is. This theme of best African players suffers from the fact that NO African at all has ever been remotely among the long list of real top quality players who have worn our shirt. Thus, this is a futile attempt to make a series of articles from something that does not even exist. However, I hope it may soon happen but so far it has not done so and to pretend it has, is self foolery of the most silly kind.

      1. Then why compare ordinary players to other ordinary players? (BTW, I forgot to mention Auba of course who must be one of our better ever Africans despite his short time so far in our shirt.) In any case, all comparisons to other players for ANY INDIVIDUAL, whether in sport or in life in general, are pointless and rather daft, interesting though they may be. You may, or may not, care to look at my post about false comparisons on the thread comparing us with Spurs, which sets out, in more detail what I think about pointless comparisons. I do so wish that the thinking on this football site and many other ones too, were more all encompassing and deeper thinking than so many on here, which make false assumptions on some people and which also exclude some possible points of view, especially when polls are featured. I feel that site moderators need wider vision than Martin sometimes shows. I do acknowledge though that he tries his best under difficult circumstances.

        1. Because it’s Africa Nation Cup
          So I wanted to acknowledge the history of African Payers , simple as that
          You have assumed I thought they were World Class
          Assuming what others think is dangerous and foolish
          I feel that site moderators should ban bullies but I too accept they try under difficult circumstances

          1. Bullies will be banned when the sites admins identify bullying. I see a lot of passion and some strong words but do not feel there is bullying.

          2. Dan,I am incredulous that you mistake plain speaking for bullying. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. I of course understand that you know nothing of me – how could you and as you say yourself, assumptions are dangerous – BUT anyone who actually does know me knows full well that a bully is the last thing on earth that I am. I am however plain speaking as I prefer STATING WHAT I FEEL CLEARLY, ACCURATELY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY. BECAUSE THAT LEADS TO THE TRUTH BEING UNDERSTOOD, NOT MISUNDERSTOOD. PRECISE LANGUAGE IS VERY HELPFUL. I WOULD SUGGEST EVEN VITAL.

        2. Jon, please do not assume that I am the only one that moderates the comments, I am not.

          1. Ok , but then please tell us who else now does that too. I assume Pat is busy elsewhere as his name is absent these days.

            1. You will see no names when a comment is deleted, I may be more vocal on here but you can be assured I am not the only one moderating the comments.

    1. @ jonfox
      Lauren and Kanu are not top players really .
      this is straight from the Arsenal website

      Nigerian Premier League: 1992–93

      Eredivisie: 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
      UEFA Champions League: 1994–95
      UEFA Super Cup: 1995
      Intercontinental Cup: 1995
      Inter Milan

      UEFA Cup: 1997–98

      Premier League: 2001–02, 2003–04[50]
      FA Cup: 2001–02, 2002–03
      FA Community Shield: 1999

      FA Cup: 2007–08

      FIFA U-17 World Cup: 1993
      Olympic Gold Medal: 1996

      Afro-Asian Cup of Nations: 1995
      African Cup of Nations runner-up: 2000

      African Footballer of the Year: 1996, 1999
      BBC African Footballer of the Year: 1997, 1999

      I will abstain from calling you a racist but to say a player with a CV like this is not a top player is crazy talk

      1. GIZZLE, JUST AS WELL THAT YOU WISELY CHOSE NOT TO CALL ME A RACIST. Be assured that had you done so, a legal writ for defamation of character would have been with you via this site very quickly. FYI, I care nothing of skin colour, religion, or any other superficial difference in physical appearance of any human being on this planet. Had you not been so new on here you would have certainly known this fact, as so many others already do and on which the overwhelming majority also share my view and life philosophy that racism is evil and Neanderthal. I trust that you believe this too and will assume so for the benefit of anyones possible doubt.

        Further , I regard LAUREN as a very good, though not great player and should have remembered to say so in my original post. My opinion is that so far , excluding possibly Auba, (if he proves his form over a longer period than to date) the reason we have had no great African players thus far, is purely down to the relatively FEW Africans who have worn our shirt. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL ONE AND HOPEFULLY MANY MORE GREAT AFRICANS WEAR OUR SHIRT. I trust you now see how wise you were to refrain from calling me a racist, even though you chose to link me and racism in a single sentence. Think on my friend and think deeply, is my well meant advice to you.

  5. Jon Fox
    Just feel that you are negative on purpose which doesn’t work as people know it’s a gimmick to get attention therefore making your opinions not serious
    You can’t give criticism without knocking people , judging them
    Don’t get me wrong you don’t bother me so carry on
    Think enough people on here are aware of what you are doing

    1. @Dan
      That’s just a nice way of saying he’s a bully! Don’t worry, we all see it too!

    2. I am sorry that you seem to honestly feel I am being negative. I don’t doubt your sincerity but you are mistaken. I seek only to suggest where things can be improved.I DO speak plainly it is true. Perhaps you would prefer the “double speak” and half truths that politicians are so expert in hiding their true thoughts behind? Do you? You will also notice, if, as you seem to say, you follow ALL my posts as closely as just the ones that rile you, that I often praise comments and sometimes articles too , including some of your own. I am always totally honest as I see things. That does not mean that I am always right or that my views deserve greater weight than other Gooners. OF COURSE THEY DO NOT. But , I must assume that as a site moderator you seek to encourage all opinions, as that is healthy and encourages diversity of opinion. In a free world we should all be free to take others to task on their opinions without being accused, falsely in my case, of seeking to bully. I like and prefer plain speak, both with my own comments and with others. Whether or not other Gooners use ambiguous language at times -and some most certainly do – I do not and so people know where I stand on all my opinions. To me , that is healthy and progressive. Most fans who are worth their salt can answer for themselves and I would respectfuly suggest , do not need you standing up for them by accusing me of bullying. You mistake plain opinions for bullying and that is very common in todays snowflake world among younger people, I regret this but can do nothing to change the way so many people react. I would hope that moderators are less super sensitive though. Truth as we ALL SEE IT IS BEFORE ALL ELSE!

    3. I really tried hard to ignore him but its getting harder by the day .
      this will be my last comment on here till an actual signing is made or certain players let go

  6. Back to the topic…one of those players who never really buckled down and used his talents, forgotten all about him to be honest.

    The only positive thing I can say is that he made a living out of playing football, something that most fans would give their back teeth to have done…and to have played for The Arsenal as well!!!

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