Tottenham host bitter rivals Arsenal in what looms to be another enthralling North London derby early Monday morning (AEST) as both sides continue their fight for the remaining European places.
Arouna Kone was one of Roberto Martinez’s first signings at Everton, the Spaniard bringing the powerful Ivorian with him from Wigan Athletic for a fee of 7 million euros. However his first two seasons were blighted by injury.
In October 2014, Kone suffered horrendous knee cartilage damage, forcing him to miss out on the rest the 2013-14 season. He made his return in December 2014 and went on to make 16 appearances for Everton in 2014-15.
He is a fine player, with most remembering his stellar performance in Wigan’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final. It’s a shame his career stalled in such an unfortunate manner.
However Arouna Kone is back, spitting venom and fire shooting out of his nostrils. What a start he has had to the season – a dramatic late equaliser from the bench to hold Watford at 2-2, and a superb performance against Southampton in a 3-0 victory.
He has had stints at Sevilla, PSV Eindhoven and Levante, played in the Champions League, and made 39 appearances for his country scoring nine goals – he’s no mug. Therefore we should not be too surprised to see Kone excelling. Sometimes we maybe forget what a successful player he is.
He was developed at local club Rio Sport d’Anyama in the Ivory Coast, before making a move to Belgium where he was the top scorer for Lierse S.K, helping them to a fifth-placed finish in the league.
Then came his move to the Netherlands, signing with Dutch club Roda JC, scoring 15 goals in the 2004-05 league campaign, which convinced heavyweights PSV to sign him in 2005.
This was a very successful move for Kone, with 21 goals in 53 appearances helping him to a nomination for Ivorian Footballer of the Year in 2006.
During his PSV stint, Kone reportedly returned late from his post-season holiday as a result of a mixup of dates. Also he was sick with Malaria – but he made a full recovery before a 12.5 million euro move to Sevilla.
He was inconsistent and eventually went out on two loan moves, the first to Hannover, before joining Levante where he was prolific, scoring 17 goals in the 2011-12 La Liga, including a 1-0 winner over Real Madrid.
Clubs in England battled for his signature and he eventually signed with the expansive style of Wigan Athletic for 3.5 million euros. Kone flourished in the 2012-13 season under Martinez, scoring 11 goals in the English Premier League and leading the line in the FA Cup triumph.
Making driving runs with his butterfly feet, Kone has the ability to seduce a defensive line or charge through it like a raging bull. His short, bleached-white hair is like a halo, making him look like an angelic fiend of a striker.
His return is a big boost for Everton, as they no longer rely so heavily upon the powerful boot of Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku himself will appreciate Kone’s presence, as it gives opposing defenders another man to mark, and the Belgian will enjoy the Ivorian’s remarkable ability to create a chance.
Everton’s big problem last season was that Lukaku was their only real source of goals. Opposing defenders would often mark the giant out of the game, making Everton rely upon their ageing defence to take points from a game.
I except Everton fans to see a reinvigorated striker trying to make up for lost time in what was meant to be his peak years. A major factor in the success of Everton’s season lies upon Mr Kone’s shoulders.