By Richard Clarke
Kolo Toure will return to the Arsenal side against Bolton on Saturday as captain.
The Ivorian has been subject to much media speculation in recent weeks. It has been rumoured that Manchester City would like to sign him. It is fact that he both submitted and then withdrew a transfer request around Christmas time.
With Cesc Fabregas injured until March, Arsène Wenger had suggested he would be rotating his captain. Manuel Amunia had taken the armband in recent games but Robin van Persie did the job in his absence last weekend.
In total seven players have led out the Arsenal first-team this season - Williams Gallas (15 games), Manuel Almunia (2), Cesc Fabregas (4), Kolo Toure (3), Lukasz Fabianski (2), Robin Van Persie (1) and Mikael Silvestre (1). However it now seems that, when selected, Toure will do the job.
“Our vice-captain is Kolo Toure,” said Wenger at Friday’s press conference. “He will play tomorrow and so when Kolo Toure plays, he is captain. After that it is Robin van Persie or Almunia.”
On the face of it that appears a strange move given Toure seemed to make clear his desire to leave only a couple of weeks ago.
“That again is transfer rumours,” replied Wenger when the question was put to him. “I know in this job what is true and what is not true, believe me. You come in to work and watch him work every day, he works like mad with his commitment.
“He's the longest-serving player at the Club. We all have to go one day but Kolo is 28. I'd hate to see him go because of his quality.
“Apart from not playing him sometimes I never have any problem with him and that's part of being a manager - you can only play 11 not 22.
“For me Kolo is very honest and is a great person. I rate him and I like him.”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 9 Jan 2009