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|Birthday||March 19, 1981|
Manchester City captain Kolo Toure is a commanding centre half who offers Manchester City a wealth of experience having established himself as one of the Premier League’s best defenders during a seven-season spell with Arsenal.
One of Arsene Wenger’s best value signings after his reported £150,000 purchase from Ivorian side Asec Mimosas, Toure was an integral part of Wenger’s 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ side, forming a solid defensive partnership with Sol Campbell.
Toure had already earned 17 international caps when he joined the Gunners, aged 20, winning his first against Rwanda in 2000. He helped Ivory Coast to the 2006 African Nations Cup final, where he scored a penalty in the shootout defeat to Egypt, and played in the Elephants’ inaugural World Cup appearance in 2006.
At Arsenal, Toure formed a useful partnership with William Gallas after the Frenchman signed in 2006, but after being passed over for the captaincy in favour of Gallas following Thierry Henry’s departure, Toure reportedly had a bust-up with the Frenchman. His performance levels dipped and he demanded a move away from the club in January 2009.
That summer, Manchester City signed Toure for £16 million, with Mark Hughes valuing his experience so much that he appointed him club captain to lead his side’s charge as they looked to challenge the Premier League’s top clubs. His first season did not work out quite as hoped but, with brother Yaya among the players to have moved to Eastlands, he will be hoping for much more success in his second.
Strengths: Exceptional tackler and an all-round powerful centre back, with a great ability to intercept and solid aerial presence.
Weaknesses: Toure has often been criticised for occasional lapses in concentration and, particularly as he is the captain, he takes some of the blame for City’s lack of organisation in defence in his debut season.
Career High: Winning the 2003-04 Premier League title with the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ team.
Career Low: Losing the final of the 2006 African Nations Cup on penalties.
Style: Commanding centre back with bags of experience.
Quotes: “From the manager down, we are all determined to take this club as far as we can, but it won’t be easy. Success doesn’t just come like that – you have to go through some hard times, and that’s when you have to be strong and stick together, to fight for each other” – Kolo Toure, March 2010
Trivia: Toure was the final regular starter from Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ to leave the club when he departed for Manchester City in July 2009.