Liverpool FC defender Kolo Toure has revealed that the move to the Emirates cost Arsene Wenger and Arsenal FC quite a few league titles.
Toure was a part of the last Arsenal FC side that went on to win the league, being ever present in the side that went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten. The Ivorian will be drafted in the Liverpool FC XI when they host Arsenal FC at Anfield, owing to the the injury crisis at the Merseyside outfit.
Toure reckons stadium move cost Arsenal FC titles
Arsenal FC won the league, then the FA Cup, then reached the Champions League final, before moving to the new stadium in 2006. The Ivorian, who played for the Gunners till 2006, reckons the financial implications of the move curtailed the competitive edge of Arsenal FC.
When asked about the reason for the decline, he was quoted saying by the Daily Telegraph: “The new stadium.
“I am not inside any more but there has been a lot of change. A lot players left the club, guys like Patrick Vieira, leaders left the club and it was quite difficult, but this policy started when they started the new stadium.
“Everything changed. They needed to sell some players, cut the wage bill and that is all about it.
“I think they lost so many experienced players. Patrick Vieira was a leader, Robert Pires was a top player, Thierry Henry left and sometimes you need experience at the club and then a young player can learn, that is one of the things.”
Toure labels Wenger as a “top manager”
Citing his ability to identify talent and mould them into top players, Toure labeled Wenger as a top manager.
He said: “Wenger is a top manager, he has shown that unbelievably. The thing I like is this manager can make an average player one of the best players in the world. He did that with so many players.
“He made a lot of players into top players. He is a fantastic manager.
“He did that with me because I started from nowhere. He took me to the next level and I always respect him for that.”
The Ivorian signed for Arsenal from ASEC Mimosas and went on to become an integral part of Arsenal FC between 2002 and 2009. Fellow African George Weah, who went on to win the 1995 Ballon d’Or, rose to prominence following his tenure with Wenger in Monaco in 1988. Vieira and Henry are also instances that Wenger made household names when they were bought, having had little impact during spells with AC Milan and Juventus respectively.