Emmanuel Eboue’s rollercoaster time at Arsenal looks set to come to an end as speculation mounts that the Ivorian international will move to Turkish side Galatasary in a deal worth £4 million.
Moving to the Gunners in January 2005 from Belgian side Beveren, Eboue quickly proved himself a useful squad member during the following season’s Champions League campaign when he featured regularly at right-back as the club set a new record for the most amount of consecutive clean sheets (10 in all) on their way to the final against Barcelona.
A dynamic operator in the wide right position, Eboue appeared to have a bright future in North London with Arsene Wenger even describing the energy expounded in one appearance against Aston Villa as similar to that of Brazilian legend Garrincha.
Unfortunately, after an injury hit first season at the Emirates, Eboue eventually lost his place in August 2007 to new arrival Bacary Sagna and has struggled for first team minutes ever since.
Capable of exasperating the crowd with his lack of concentration and frequent turf-rolling antics, he hit rock bottom in December 2008 when he was famously booed from the pitch following a disastrous 20 minute cameo appearance against Wigan in which he tackled teammate Kolo Toure before threading a near perfect through ball to an opponent. Although he did bounce back to earn cult hero status amongst a section of the fans, and a new contract at the Emirates, he struggled to win back the majority of doubters.
A popular and likable character but never a leader, Eboue perhaps represents much of what has been wrong with Arsene Wenger’s sides of recent years. More often than not he has been nothing more than a passable mediocrity; capable of delivering the goods when it suits him, but all too often liable to make costly mistakes when under pressure.
New signing Carl Jenkinson will take over the duty of providing back-up in the right-back position.
Eboue isn’t the only Emmanuel to follow namesakes Petit and Adebayor out of the club. According to Young Guns 20-year-old midfielder Jay Emmanuel-Thomas looks set to seal a £1.1 million deal with Ipswich this week with the Gunners inserting a sell-on clause should he attract the interests of bigger clubs in the coming years. A mercurial talent who helped steer Steve Bould’s under-18 side to FA Youth Cup glory in 2009, JET has struggled to follow the lead of Jack Wilshere by breaking into the first team and spent much of the last two seasons on loan.