How Arsenal missed out on Yaya Touré and Nwankwo Kanu wishes the Gunners well
I’ll start with some tidbits from the aftermath of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City.
The match between the moneybags and the shrewd spenders ended in a victory to the home side and as expected, a few words have emanated from the Arsenal camp.
Thomas Vermaelen had a good game against Manchester City and he almost salvaged a draw for his side late on with a superb curling effort that was tipped over by Joe Hart. The Belgian told Arsenal Player that Arsenal was made to rue lost chances:
“I think Man City played a good game to be honest and after all they got the three points, they had a few chances but I felt we could have scored as well. It doesn’t matter how much possession of the ball you have, it’s about the three points”
To wrap it all up, Alex Song will be suspended for the Aston Villa game after picking five yellow cards, Mikel Arteta is a card away from a one-match ban (four bookings), Johan Djourou is out for three weeks with a groin strain but Kieran Gibbs is back in contention for a first team place.
On the 19th of July 2003, a certain lanky Ivorian was offered a trial by Arsenal in a game against Barnet that ended in a goalless stalemate. The chance of the game came his way and he spurned it to the disgust of Arsenal’s manager that had half an eye on him.
Eight years on, this Ivorian has notched up 58 caps for the Elephants and has enjoyed a glittering career filled up with trophies. After missing out on the trial with Arsenal, Gnégnéri Yaya Touré moved to Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine before he was snapped up by Greek champions Olympiakos two years later.
After a brief spell in Athens that saw him score three league goals in 26 games, the new “Patrick Vieira” as tagged by his elder brother Kolo Toure, secured a move to the Principality of Monaco and played for a single season before he signed for the emperors of modern day football, FC Barcelona.
Toure’s three-year spell in Barcelona saw him become a vital piece of the club’s jigsaw puzzle and he was part of the legendary class of ’09 that won all trophies club football as a sport had to offer in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the club.
He won the Liga BBVA in stunning fashion, the Copa del Rey and Supercopa dey Espana against Athletic Bilbao, the UEFA Champions League against Manchester United, the UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk and the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes La Plata.
He has also gotten a FA Cup winner’s medal for his new side Manchester City and he has become synonymous with the club since his £24m move.
The Telegraph reports that Arsene Wenger had this to say on the “one who got away”:
“Yaya Touré played for us in a pre-season game as a second striker and he was completely average on the day.”
Wenger also explained that the Ivorian failed to secure a work permit but when he was close to applying he moved to Ukraine.
I wonder how Toure would have fared if Wenger played him as a defensive midfielder in that trial match. Toure would never have thrived well as a supporting striker and his stats (goal scoring wise) are glaring for everyone to see.
In a career total of 246 football games, he has managed 29 goals but it can’t be compared to his fellow African defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel that has played 217 games for Chelsea and has scored…two goals. 😀
Nwankwo Kanu is a Gunner legend that will forever be remembered for his exquisite hattrick against Chelsea that came just under 15 minutes and he was the third ever player to score at the Emirates; after Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Thierry Henry in Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial in 2006.
Kanu spent five years at Arsenal and I can’t deny that he was among the reasons why Arsenal has a great fan base in Nigeria. He notched up 119 appearances for the Gunners and smashed 30 goals into the opposition’s net.
He was having some nostalgia about his Arsenal days and in the wake of Arsenal’s loss to Manchester City, the Nigerian still predicts a ‘gainful’ season for the Gunners:
”If you ask me, I will say Arsenal can win it this season, they still play the best football in England. Man City is strong and loaded but we are not yet sure of what they will do in the second round.”
“Unlike Arsenal, City players cover the ground, run around the pitch and that tells on them from the 75th minute upwards. In Arsenal, players are taught about group movement and I am happy Arsene Wenger keeps that tradition”
It’s always heartwarming to see Arsenal legends take out time to talk to the media Vultures about their favorite club and he referred to Arsenal as “we”.
The quote of the day undoubtedly goes to Nwankwo Kanu, or Papillo as he’s called in this part of the world:
“Once a Gunner, always a Gunner”
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