On this day in 2002, Arsenal signed Kolo Toure from ASEC Mimosas after a short trial.
The defender set Arsenal back a reported £150,000 and he ended up spending seven years in north London before signing for Manchester City in 2009, only to be joined a year later by his younger brother, Yaya, from Barcelona.
Kolo’s debut for Arsenal didn’t come until August 2002 against Liverpool in the Community Shield, after he had to secure a work permit, which he managed due to his status as an Ivory Coast international.
He scored his first goal against Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge and went on to score 13 more over 326 appearances.
During his time at Arsenal, Kolo went from being a utility player, initially being played as a defensive midfielder, to right-back, to centreback alongside Sol Campbell and even made 37 Premier League appearances during the Gunners’ Invincible season, netting a goal against Wolves.
The Ivorian would later become Arsenal captain on led Arsenal for the first time on 9 January 2007 against Liverpool in the League Cup, which the Gunners won 6-3.
On 28 July 2009, City bought Kolo for a reported £14m. Speculation over his future at Arsenal had been rife since April, after he supposedly had a fall-out with William Gallas and handed in a transfer request, which he reversed until the summer when he moved to Manchester.
Kolo started his career at City positively, instantly becoming a regular first team player under manager at the time, Mark Hughes. However, after failing a drug test and receiving a six-month doping ban, he saw himself become a squad player, only making 14 league appearances when City won the Premiership for the first time in 44 years.
In 2013, Kolo signed for Liverpool, making a total of 46 league appearances over three years.
He now plays for Celtic but has only made six league appearances due to injury.