Kolo Toure – The Last Invincible Leaves
We bid farewell to the last of the Invincibles with the departure of Kolo Toure to Manchester City.
Kolo’s departure brings to end a chapter in our history that had us not only playing some breathtaking football but also winning trophies and creating Premiership history. We look back on those days when the squad was full of established stars that were coming to their peak and we hope that it will not be long before those days are once again with us.
Toure joined for around £100K and spent three or four months in the reserves. His first full season saw Kolo play everywhere, from right-back, left-back, central midfield, on the wings and even in one game as the second striker. Eventually he settled in at the back where he partnered Keown or Campbell.
Toure was a solid defender; he was fast and a good tackler. His style was sometimes “amateurish” but he was not a player strikers often got the better of. Some pundits claim that his best years were when he had a solid partner alongside him like Campbell or Keown; personally he always looked accomplished to me and was rarely rattled.
Toure always fancied himself as a striker and would always saunter up field looking to score, but not a five yard tap-in, for Kolo it had to be a 30 yard screamer. The fans would be on the edge of their seats as he lined up his shot and invariably he would trouble the poor ball-boy by the corner flag! But that was Toure for you and we all love him for that. His other favourite was lining up to take a free kick. He could not bend the ball around or over the wall, for him it was sheer power. If the free kick was within 30 yards, you knew it was Kolo-time. In all his attempts he managed one goal from free-kicks, and no matter how wild the kick was the fans thought it was hilarious!
Over the last couple of seasons Toure has not been Wenger’s first choice and he spent the early part of last season on the bench. The smile soon disappeared and then we had the public falling-out with Gallas. At that point it was inevitable that one had to leave. Toure requested a transfer in January but Wenger persuaded him to stay, or at least until the end of the season. This is the same agreement he struck privately with Cole and Henry.
So Toure leaves us and leaves behind many memories. We cannot wish him luck at Manchester City as they will be challenging us next season, but we do say thank you for everything he has done for Arsenal and only time will tell if Wenger was right in selling him.