Kolo Habib Touré

A great man asked me yesterday whether or not I believed any of the reports linking Kolo to Manchester City. Based on the papers that were reporting it, I was fairly certain that there was some legitimacy to the reports.

The advent of NewsNow has produced a massive amount of resources available for Arsenal stories. Most of them re-hash the same stories, and there are numerous silly blogs on it. I read roughly half of the stories on there, and I’ll even read the same story on different news sources. My roommate follows Wigan, and their NewsNow page updates maybe four times a day, as opposed to the constant stream of Arsenal information.

Generally speaking, the Independent, the Guardian, and the Times are fairly reliable. They won’t publish complete rubbish. That being said, more and more, I read stories in the Guardian that attribute their source to shit papers like The Sun and The Daily Mirror. Let’s just attribute that to the downward spiral that sports journalism in England has become. When I read literally all of the papers reporting the potential transfer of Kolo to City, I knew it was going to happen.

Of course, being the Arsenal junkie that I am, I do read publications like The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, and others. Most of the time, when they’re talking about a player linked to us (a player that could logically fit), I’m convinced they’re usually fabricated 85% of the time. However, when one of these publications posts a story so outlandish that they almost have to be true, it’s of interest. That has happened three times in the past twelve months.

The first case is the reported transfer of Mikael Silvestre. This link came completely out of the blue, and I hated Silvestre with a passion cause he’s associated with Manchester United. I remember my roommate saying, “that’s almost so ridiculous that it’s probably real.” He was right.

The second case was the story of Emmanuel Adebayor getting ripped by an Arsenal fan at an airport. I immediately dismissed this as being completely fabricated. I remember talking about it at the pub and when somebody suggested that it was obviously fabricated, I thought to myself, of course it is, but why would they make up a story like that? Usually, when papers make up stories, it’s usually about transfer gossip. When they report on personal lives of footballers, it’s always usually a drunken affair or things of that nature. There are lots of stupid things that footballers do. I don’t think these should be reported, but it’s the world we live in. I’m not saying this event actually occurred, but I’ll say that I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually did happen. I’m also not writing this to rip Adebayor. I liked him as an Arsenal player, and I hold no grudges.

The last case is the transfer request put in by Kolo. It was reported that Kolo put in a transfer request because he was upset with his playing time and because he hated William Gallas. I, of course, rejected this immediately. Kolo is a player who bleeds Arsenal, and has never shown anything other than 100% effort on the pitch. Then, Wenger came out and said that players do not need to get along in order to play with each other. That was followed by Kolo saying that he did put in a request, but he’s fully committed to the club. This rubbed me the wrong way. It gave me the impression that Kolo was a quitter. Where was the fight in him that made him an Arsenal legend in the first place? He wanted to leave because he didn’t get along with Gallas? That’s juvenile, and what’s more, the animosity towards Gallas increased due to it.

The truth is, Kolo has not been the same player since he contracted malaria while playing for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations. At that point, we were still top of the league and flying high. When he returned, he was asked to fill in at right back due to the ankle injury that Sagna suffered. If you look back at the crucial stretch of games, you’ll see that most of the goals were created or conceded through that right hand side of defense. Now, Kolo was playing out of position somewhat, so we can’t completely pin that on him.

Last year, more of the same from Kolo. An inconsistent reading of the game, in which he was frequently bailed out by his athleticism and all out hustle. The problem is, he’s no longer as fast as he once was. He now looks like a mountain as opposed to a tank.

As it remains, he is not an automatic choice in the first team XI. And the truth is, I’m more than happy for Kolo that he’ll be able to reap so much financial reward from City’s moneybags. If he can make 120,000 pounds a week, start for Manchester City, and we’re willing to sell him, everybody benefits.

Now, I’m reading some criticism of Wenger from certain Arsenal boards. They claim that we’ve just made City stronger and that we’ll finish fifth. That kind of talk is both silly and counterproductive. What we know is this, Manchester City has equipped us with the funds to acquire the players that Wenger wants. Now that the heavyweight transfers are out of the way, Wenger has time to do what he does best. I’m sure he has targets, and I’m sure players will come in. If not, that means we are in some financial trouble, but I trust Arsene to get it done.

A final word on Kolo Touré. The man is an Arsenal legend. Losing him is a bittersweet proposition. But, I have experienced the departures of Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, and others. The only man who stayed until the end in recent times was Dennis Bergkamp. All of these names mentioned are proper legends. I salute Kolo for his service to our beloved club, and the world will know that his best years were with us. I wish him a happy life, but I hope van Persie and Arshavin clown him on the pitch when we play City twice this year.

PS A few days ago, I wrote that you should only trust what proper legends say. Yesterday, Thierry had to say this:

“I am Arsenal through and through. I’d never advise anyone to sign for Tottenham. I can’t have Arsenal fans thinking I am helping Tottenham in any way.”

I love Thierry.

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