Kolo Toure finds a Second English Home In Liverpool FC

August 18, 2013 3:28 pm0 comments by:

toureThe European transfer season will close on 2nd September 2013.The majority of signings so far are mostly offensive players. Offensive players grab the media headlines in the current market. The defensive signings occupy the media headlines on the final or beginning day of a transfer. A typical example is in the English premiership league, which has been dominated by the offensive player such as Gareth Bale, Suarez and Wayne Rooney. They have not moved to a new club but rumors about whether they will go to Real Madrid, Arsenal or Chelsea occupy the back pages, more than actual transfer signings. It is more than a month since the rumor mill started and there is no sign of ending. In contrast is Liverpool’s signing of Kolo Toure from Manchester City on 1st July 2013 that took everyone by surprise.

In February 2002 Kolo Toure made the headline, when he signed for Arsenal from ASEC Mimosas. He was signed for £150,000 after a short trial spell with a potential to play in various positions. He played in his first game as defensive midfielder against Liverpool in a community Shield in August 2002. He showed an abundance of energy to burn with offensive instincts. Arsenal manager Wenger decided to switch him to a centre back in 2003/2004 season. The squad had more established wingers but less cover in the defence.Kolo Toure, a professional did not complain and embraced the new role. He quickly became a mainstay in the defense alongside Sol Campbell, Martin Keown.It is difficult to describe the feat to change from midfielder or right back to central defender.

I play competitive football and have experience playing as a striker, midfield and defender. You spend more energy the further field of play. The concentration and risk is required more as defender. A defensive error is more likely to cost a goal for your team.
The 2003/2004 season proved to be successful both at club and international level. Ivory Coast started to build a reputation as a strong nation on the African stage. At club level, Arsenal won the premier league and also went undefeated for a whole season. In life and especially in sports, success is difficult to sustain as pretenders raise their game. If you are part of a successful team,you are tempted by new challenges. It is difficult to keep your motivation, after experiencing success and then without that feeling for a long period. It is easier to decision , if the team loses the wonderful team spirit and creative players that make life easier for defenders.

Kolo Toure found himself in this position and so was looking for a new challenge and motivation. Therefore, it was no surprise when he signed for Manchester City in July 2009. The club had new owners who wanted instant success and with financial muscle. City wanted to assemble established, experienced and technical players to challenge for the title. Kolo Toure was on the list and the project came at the right time. He was not getting enough games in the 2008/2009 season. Arsenal were doing okay as a club but not winning titles or cups.

He decided to leave the club that gave him first taste of success in English premier league. He was excited about another potential, to become part of another championship team. The project started okay but at the end of the season, it was regarded as a failure because the club missed out on champion’s league place to spurs. The owners wanted success immediately and decided to sack the manager. This was the start of bad spell on the bench.

It got worse after failing drug test in March 2011 and he was suspended for 6 months. He served the punishment and came back with renewed vigour. However, a new manager with different ideas, he had few starts to impress the manager. He had to look for a new challenge and motivation. This time, he had to prove to potential clubs that he was capable of doing a job. This is not a new scenario for Kolo Toure, who had to pass trial with Arsenal. He has found an understanding manager in Brendan Rogers. This was a surprise to football analyst  including Liverpool fans.

The comparisons between the Arsenal in 2002 and Liverpool at this present moment are  similar. The play possession style of football . They have an understanding owners that will give the manager time to succeed, a young squad with lots of creative options . These are the attributes that helped Arsene Wenger to build a good team spirit and winning team. This was lacking in Kolo Toure’s spell at Manchester City from 2009 to 2013.

Fast forward, to August 17th 2013 and he starts for Liverpool and is part of a winning team. The project is to challenge for champions league in a few years time. It might be a tall order but Kolo Toure is back and appears to be at home in Liverpool Team. Life at Merseyside appears rosy and I hope this is not a false dawn.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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