Flash-forward to 2013 and Toure has struggled to get into City manager Roberto Mancini’s team. The 32-year-old Ivorian has made just 12 Premier League appearances this term, and 4 of those from the bench. He’s actually started just 8 games for City in the league this season.
Last season wasn’t much better for the former Arsenal man who was considered back in 2009 as one of the very best defenders in the league. Last season he made 14 league appearances, of which only 8 were starts.
He has fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad under intense competition for his place in the Citizens backline from the likes of captain Vincent Kompany, and Joleon Lescott and if fact it was only in the absence of both those centre-backs that Kolo Toure has featured. He even filled in at right-back to cover for Pablo Zabaleta and Maicon.
Conveniently, his contract expires at the end of this season and, at 32, he’ll want to play as regularly as possible. He must have one eye on the 2014 World Cup where he’ll want ensure he represents the Ivory Coast for what will be his final international tournament.
Having not committed his future to City, where could he go? He has only ever played his senior career in England. He broke through Arsenal’s youth ranks in 2002 after transferring as a 21-year-old. He arrived that year from Ivorian club ‘Les Mimosas’ of Abidjan.
He played in Arsenal’s 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in Paris alongside centre-back partner Sol Campbell and flanked by fullbacks Emmanuel Eboue and Ashley Cole. Thierry Henry, Freddy Ljungberg, Robert Pires and a 19-year-old Cesc Fabregas were all starters in that team.
Toure would have, like his aforementioned teammates, been considered a Gunners’ legend had he have not taken a big money move to City. Like Cole, his image was tainted the moment he put on a blue shirt.
Meanwhile, Arsenal might just require the services of a centre-back in the likelihood that both Johan Djourou and Sebastian Squillacci depart permanently from the Emirates this summer.
Where on Earth could they find an experienced Premier League centre-back with more than 100 international caps and already established a relationship with Arsene Wenger and the club? They can have one for free if they move fast enough. The only question is would they want him? In my estimation, they could do a lot worse than Kolo Toure.