Arsenal’s Africans: The tops & the flops

Pepe Kanu GervinhoGetty Images
  • Nwankwo Kanu

    Too Good: Nwankwo Kanu

    The two-time African Footballer of the Year overcame adversity early in his career to become a fan favourite at Arsenal, arguably Nigeria's greatest player of all time and one of the most decorated Africans in history.

    Few could match the technique and unpredictability which made him a hero in North London, and he won two league titles and two FA Cups with the Gunners.

    Kanu wasn't always a starter, but was definitely a success story at Highbury, and remains a key reason why the club are so popular in Nigeria today.

  • Gervinho ArsenalGetty Images

    Too Bad: Gervinho

    An Ivorian legend—and one of the key figures as the Elephants won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015—but it’s fair to say that things didn’t go well for wideman Gervinho following his arrival at Arsenal.

    He contributed 11 goals - directly and indirectly - in his first season, although more had been expected after the Gunners parted with £10.8 million to sign him from LOSC Lille.

    After that, a loss of confidence and form made Gervinho something of a figure of fun in the English game, although his fortunes improved after he quit London for AS Roma.

    He currently represents Turkish giants Trabzonspor.

  • Kolo Toure Sol Campbell ArsenalGetty

    Too Good: Kolo Toure

    Toure was a part of the 'Invincibles' squad that went on a 49-game unbeaten run in the 2003-04 season.

    He was a solid and commanding presence in the heart of defence, and, in 2009, moved to Manchester City at the height of his powers, spending four years there.

    The centre-back was one of the first pieces that were put together to form the dominant City outfit to which we have become accustomed.

    Toure is currently Leicester City assistant manager under his ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, and will surely go down - considering the £150,000 Arsene Wenger paid to ASEC Mimosas - as one of the French coach's greatest signings.

  • Marouane Chamakh Arsenal Premier League

    Too Bad: Marouane Chamakh

    Mullet-wearing Chamakh joined Arsenal on a free transfer from Bordeaux in 2010 and had a promising start to his Gunners career.

    The striker scored 14 goals in 67 appearances before joining West Ham United on loan in January 2013, and later revealed that he felt Arsene Wenger misled him over his first-team opportunities at Arsenal.

    "I played for six months, I scored goals, I was decisive," the Morocco international argued. "In January [2011], Robin (Van Persie) returned from injury and overnight, I landed on the bench without justification.

    "It is clear that I am a little annoyed at [Wenger] because I think I deserved more playing time than what I was given.

    "As the year began, at the start of the season, he told me that we might change tactics and maybe I would be able to play up front with Robin.”

    Chamakh struggled to recreate his Bordeaux form during stints with Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.

  • Lauren Arsenal 2004Getty

    Too Good: Lauren

    A key figure in Arsenal’s Invincibles side of the middle of the last decade, Lauren arguably never truly got the credit he deserved for his contribution.

    He began his career as a winger but was converted to right-back in North London and won the double in 2002. With Cameroon, he won two Afcon titles, and the Olympic gold in 2000.

  • David Grondin, Arsenal

    Too Bad: David Grondin

    Youngster Grondin signed from Saint-Etienne's youth side in 1998 at the age of 18, with big things expected of the youngster.

    However, he would make only one league appearance in five years at the club, before being sold to Scottish side Dunfermline Athletic.

    He made only one league appearance and subsequently represented the likes of Stade Brest, Mouscron and KV Mechelen, but never reached the heights that were once expected of him.

    Grondin, who was born in France, was eligible to represent Caf-associated side Reunion at senior level.

  • Aubameyang Arsenal Getty Images

    Too Good: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

    Aubameyang proved to be a model of goalscoring consistency since arriving at Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.

    In Germany, he was named Bundesliga Player of the Year and knocked Robert Lewandowski off his perch to win the Golden Boot in the 2016-17 season, with a superb return of 31 goals.

    English defences fared little better than their German counterparts when it comes to keeping Auba at bay, with Aubameyang netting 54 league goals across his first two and a half seasons in England.

    Despite leading Arsenal to the FA Cup as skipper, things ended sourly for Auba in North London, although he will surely be fondly remembered by Gunners fans despite the manner of his exit.