18 Africans to play for us – ranked worse to best by Dan Smith
There will be no African side in the knock out stages of the World Cup, and it’s looking further away then ever for that part of the world to get to a semi final for the first time. To cheer up fans of Nigeria, Senegal Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, I thought I would reference players from that part of the world who have contributed to the past, present and future of Arsenal FC. 18 different players who represented the gunners played in the Premiership. Let’s rank them from worst to good. Enjoy African gooners !
Kabia Diawara -Guinea 18
When you think how many young gems Arsene Wenger would bring to England in the late 90’s, only natural there would be a few duds. Only employed for 6 months but made a few cameos to squeeze onto this list.
Frimpong -Ghana 17
He was good friends with Jack Wilshire in the youth team, I remember I liked what I saw from Frimpong. Being loaned out was something Arsene Wenger did to season his talent but a bad ACL break at Wolves proved to be a huge setback. Has played in Russia, Sweden and most recently in Cyprus. A free agent, now seeking his 10th new club.
Akpom -Nigeria 16
Played for England’s under age groups but in March 2017 did tell the president of the Nigerian football federation he would be interested in switching. May need to leave Arsenal to have an international career. At numerous loan spells has proved can score at certain level but unlikely to get a chance at Emirates.
Muamba- DR Congo. -15
Played and captained various age groups for England. Having established himself with Bolton was asked numerous times by DR Congo to align himself with them. Sadly will be remembered for a heart attack that ended his career young, as well as the great charity work gaining awareness for the condition.
Traore- Senegal -14
A graduate from our academy who was given every chance to impress. Loan spells were designed to give him first team football. At time he was highly regarded in France. His last game as a gooner was the 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford, the day before leaving to join QPR. He found his level in the Championship. Realising his limitations he asked to play for his parent’s native country, Senegal.
Quincy Owusy Abeyie -Ghana -13
Frustrating thing with this talent is when you saw him he excited you, Thierry Henry one afternoon was very complimentary. Liam Brady warned us at the time, the youngster needed to add discipline to his skills. Fact he is out of contract and known as a journeyman should tell you how that worked out.
Christopher Wreh- Liberia -12
For a striker who scored only 5 goals in 46 games, it’s crazy this man is a cult hero among gooners. The few goals he got were all vital. As we put together a winning sequence in 1998 most victories were suddenly 1-0 to the Arsenal, meaning Wreh’s contribution was valuable.
Iwobi – Nigeria -11
Some feel harshly judged, others feel given too many chances, both opinions based due to breaking through our youth team. We were told that he’s better for country then club but.. He was dropped by Nigeria after their first game. No confidence in final third and should be sold.
Chamakh- Morroco -10th
Might be hard for fans to think that we battled Liverpool for this man’s services. Can’t be described as a flop as we never paid a transfer fee, perfect when paying off stadium debt. Started well, scoring in 6 consecutive Champions League games. He summed up mentality of that squad at the time, once he lost confidence, he went missing. Not sure he ever refound it?
Gervinho- Ivory Coast -9th
Erratic. When good was unplayable but that happened every 5 games. At another time he would have added more to the club but playing for one of the worst gunner squads of all time. We had too many wingers like Gervinho.. Showed better form at Roma. Currently earning big money in China.
Elneny – Eygypt -8th
Closest we have to a reliable DM A solid squad player who never lets you down. Been rewarded with a new contract and his form was the reason why Coquelin was allowed to leave in January.
Adebayor – Togo -7th
Trust me, I wanted to put him much lower on the list due to the lack of respect he’s shown this club but I have to use head not heart though, so I have to acknowledge his goal to game ratio. One of the few men to have a bad word to say regarding working with Arsene Wenger. It showed when we faced him that he had made enemies with ex teammates and his former fans. If he heard abuse from away fans that’s wrong but he surely must know he has earnt the money he has due to Arsenal giving him the platform. It remains where he’s done his best work.
Aubameyang – Gabon -6th
Can’t rate him higher due to only been playing in this country for 5 months. He has a reputation throughout Europe though as one of the very best strikers. Some question his attitude with his fast cars and fashion sense. So far though so good and at least this time he can play in the Europa League.
Eboue- Ivory Coast -5th
Became a cult hero due to his work rate which maybe wasn’t always matched with talent. Had incredible pace but his final ball often was so bad, it became his gimmick. I always remember he was the one man you could gurantee would stay and thank the fans, often going on a lap of honour.
He’s had hard times in the last couple of years and my prayers are with him.
Song – Cameroon -4th
The closest we had since Gilberto to a proper DM but not always disciplined. Had loan spells which hinted he would leave the Emirates when a young talent. But when given the chance due to injuries, ran with it to become a regular. Left in the same summer as Van persie and hasn’t been replaced. Going to Barcelona must have been heart over head. Too good an opportunity to turn down but never likely to break into their midfield. On loan at West Ham, you sensed he regretted leaving us. Has trained with us while regaining fitness.
Lauren – Cameroon -3rd
A signing which sums up the brilliance of Arsene Wenger but also highlights what our current squad is lacking. Lauren arrived at Highbury as a right/central midfielder. Like he did with many of his players, the Frenchmen had the vision to teach him a whole new position. His boss recognised with his pace, the African would be perfect for what a modern full back was becoming. It was his personality though as well that which made him a legend. Lauren’s strengths are the 2018 Arsenal’s weakness! While he was technical, fast and a good crosser of the ball, he could mix it with being physical, in your face and a fighter. He had everything.
Kanu – Nigeria 2nd
Not a great goal scorer but instead a scorer of great goals. Kanu didn’t score tap ins. He had this unorthodox style which saw him put away chances far harder then the ones he missed. Perhaps underestimated for how he helped his teammates. He had the strength to hold up the ball, would dribble in small areas and had the vision to see space. In his late thirties was still scoring in an FA Cup final for Portsmouth.
Kolo Toure- Ivory Coast -1st
Exemplified everything wonderful about Arsene Wenger. Used his knowledge of the World game to find a raw talent no one had heard of. At first was a versatile member of the squad. Eyebrows were raised in the summer of 2003 when Toure was chosen to play at CB instead of the club buying anyone to partner Sol Campbell. Not just did he learn the role, he started every game of the Invincible season. So the idea Arsene Wenger inherited a good back 4 but could never create his own was some sort of a myth. We could have brought Kolo’s baby brother as well…… He was pretty decent I think?