"I personally feel that Kolo and Arsenal have reached a point now where sadly they must go separate ways, as his relationship with Gallas seems beyond repair."
- Billy Pearson, FootballFanCast columnist
With the arrival of Thomas Vermaelen, speculation rises about the futures of our current centre-backs. Wenger didn't buy him just to be a squad player, so obviously one of Willam Gallas or Kolo Toure are leaving the club. And in truth, the future of both are up in the air.
William Gallas was stripped of the captaincy mid-season, and seems to be headed to Juve or Milan. Kolo Toure put in a transfer request mid-season, and is wanted by Man City. Neither of them can stand each other, and it seems like a matter of WHO rather than IF one of them is leaving.
A lot of people are advocating selling Toure and keeping Gallas. Now, I realise that's an idea with merit - Gallas is the better defender, has more experience, and is French. Once he was stripped of the captaincy, he played pretty well. Kolo Toure, on the other hand, seems to be on the decline.
However, it'll be a mistake to sell Kolo Toure.
Toure IS Arsenal. He's the last member of the Invincibles. He's played a hell of a lot of games for us, and he'll play a hell of a lot more. Yes, he might run around like a headless chook, but he runs around like OUR headless chook. Gallas may be the better player, but he'll never encapsulate Arsenal the way Toure does.
Toure deserves pride of place in our team. It doesn't matter if he's not as good as Gallas. Inasmuch as Raul gets a spot in Real Madrid despite playing poorly of late, or how Shearer became manager of Newcastle despite knowing jack-all about managing, Toure deserves a place in the starting line-up.
Toure is an ornament to the club. When he retires, he's going to go down as a club legend. We'll pay him a retainer and trot him out at club functions, and he'll tell stories about how great the Wenger years were. He'll watch games at the Emirates until he's old and grey, and he'll present first-team shirts to Cesc Fabregas Jnr and Theo Walcott the Third. And when he's too old and decrepit to be of use to us any further, we'll euthanize him, gut and stuff him, and place him next to the bust of Arsene Wenger - that's the Arsenal way.
And that's the real reason I think Toure should stay instead of Gallas. I just can't see William Gallas volunteering to be a stuffed footballing icon in the club museum - he's just not Arsenal enough.