Although Kolo Toure has had a wonderful career in the Premier League, playing for top clubs like Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool. Kolo is well known as one of Arsenal’s all-time best players. The Ivorian was an integral part of ‘The Invincible’ Arsenal squad.
Kolo Toure has on multiple occasions been overshadowed by his brother Yaya. But he was able to impress Arsene Wenger better. Whereas, Yaya could only showcase a merely average performance in a trial game against Barner. However, Kolo’s trial at Arsenal had a more hilarious side to it.
Toure was one of the best defenders of his time. And was well known for his sliding tackles. It was more of a physical impulse for him than a strategic move. Arsenal was in search of a strong defender when the Ivory Coast star came in for a trial.
Ray Parlour, Toure’s former teammate, was the one to share the hilarious story behind Kolo’s trial. Where he almost left two of Arsenal’s best men injured, risking his selection into the squad. But he was able to impress Arsene Wenger well enough, urging the French manager to sign him.
Ray Parlour’s tale
The tale, according to Parlour, goes back to 2002, when Toure came to trial at Arsenal. It was a training session and Wenger was asking him to mark the strikers. The ball first came in the possession of Thierry Henry, the then top striker at Arsenal. Instead of gently marking Henry, Toure came clattering into the striker. Tackling Thierry with a two-footed tackle from behind.
Parlour remarks the foul as a red card worthy tackle. Thierry Henry was obviously left on the ground in excruciating pain. Ray then adds that Arsene quickly asked Kolo to refrain from tackling, and Toure apologizes. As the session went on, Dennis Bergkamp was next in possession of the ball. Kolo repeats the same thing again and two-foots into Bergkamp leaving him on the ground as well.
Arsene warns him again not to make any more tackles. However, as the next ball comes in, Kolo does his sliding again and gets a clean tackle this time. But the ball goes flying up in the air and Kolo’s eyes are fixed at the ball. The ball comes down and lands at the right foot of Arsene Wenger. But Toure does not stop and slides into Arsene making a clean tackle and retrieves the ball.
Arsene was however forced to see the medic to check on his ankle after the tackle. Toure feels he has blasted away his chance to play for the Gunners. Instead, Arsene Wenger chose to sign the Ivorian defender in the coming days. Ray Parlour is enthusiastic to describe this story. It surely is a wonderful way to announce his arrival at Arsenal. Taking out two of their best men and the manager on a single day. Well, only Toure might be able to do that much on a single day.
Wenger confirms the story
Ray Parlour revealed the tale around last year. But Arsene Wenger recently made the confirmation on the story via an interview with 11Freunde. The Frenchman remembers the tale as one of his fond memories from his time as Arsenal manager. And also reveals that he did not take Kolo’s actions the wrong way.
“Yes, he tackled us but it was more for reasons of enthusiasm than aggressiveness,” Arsene Wenger.
Arsene despite having had to see a doctor after the tackle. Saw Kolo Toure’s tackles as an act of passion and enthusiasm rather than an act of aggression. Hence, the then Arsenal boss handed him a contract to play for the Gunners. The duo then went on to win big for Arsenal in the years to come.
Arsene and Kolo have had a great relationship since then as well. Toure has even addressed Wenger as ‘Mr. Arsenal’ on several occasions for his dedication to the club. The current Arsenal squad would also love to see players have a similar passion for the club. The Mikel Arteta headed Arsenal is now 11th in the table. Arteta and co are on a three-game winning streak and hope to win more games to promote up the PL table.