Kolo Toure is an Arsenal man - and he intends to stay that way.
The 28-year-old has been at the Club for seven years but was considering his future earlier this season following a dip in form and the team's poor start to the campaign. Arsène Wenger revealed that Toure had handed in a transfer request but withdrew it after a heart-to-heart with the manager.
Since then the Ivory Coast star has been back to his best and was a cornerstone of the side which went 21 games without defeat in the Premier League. Toure's love for Arsenal is as strong as ever but, speaking to the Official Arsenal Programme, he explained why his future was up in the air in January.
"I have been here a long time, and when I saw some players leaving the Club last year that was difficult for me," he said.
"Then when we didn’t start the season well I was scared. You start to think that maybe the Club don’t need you anymore. When it's like that and you are 28 you have to think about yourself as well. But I came back, I'm playing at the moment and I hope that will carry on. There is still time on my contract and I hope the Club will show me that they need me.
"When you love somebody it's important that they love you back. I have loved this club for years, and I always give everything for the team. Since I've been here I've just tried to do my best but you can't be at the top all the time. Sometimes your level will drop a bit. That's when you need to be strong and bounce back and that's what I tried to do this season.
"People know I love the Club, nobody can say I don't. I believe you can only truly love one club in your career, and my club is Arsenal. It doesn't matter if I ever move onto another team, Arsenal will always be the one in my heart. When my career is finished and I'm older, I will always think of myself as an Arsenal man."
This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 12 May 2009