One to Watch - Arouna Koné
Name: Arouna Koné
Date of Birth: 11/11/1983
Nationality: Ivory Coast
Former Clubs: Rio Sport, Lierse, Roda, PSV, Sevilla, Hannover 96, Levante
League Appearances (Goals): 272 (98)
International Appearances (Goals): 37 (9)
Stat of the Day: All four of Arouna Koné`s Premier League goals have come from inside the penalty area
Player Profile: There are three recurring themes with the modern Wigan side - they play decent football, they leave survival until the last possible minute and they haven`t had a decent striker since Nathan Ellington managed 24 goals in the 2004/2005 season (which is not only a very long time ago, but 'decent striker` and 'Nathan Ellington` used in the same sentence is almost definitely some kind of footballing faux pas). Roberto Martinez has therefore turned to Arouna Koné, a striker who was made for the traditional football epithet 'well-travelled`, to succeed and help Wigan where the likes of Franco di Santo, Mauro Boselli, Hugo Rodallega, Connor Sammon, Jason Scotland, Marcelo Moreno, Marlon King, Henri Camara, Ahmed Mido, Marcus Bent, Julius Aghahowa and Caleb Folan have so epically failed. In fairness to Koné, he has scored goals wherever he has played. In fact, while recently on loan at Levante he actually managed to score too often, reaching 15 goals sooner than anticipated and having to slow down in order not to trigger a clause in his contract that would have brought about an unwanted return to Sevilla upon reaching 18 goals.
Roberto Martinez has struck upon a system that suits his players and maximises his tactical approach and will be hoping the man with the peroxide curls will be able to spearhead Wigan`s feeble frontline. Koné`s pace is a clear threat, with his strength and nous in possession other qualities in his game, representing something of a coup for the Wigan manager. The Ivory Coast international has four league goals to his name already and Martinez will be thankful Koné wasn`t added to the long list of Wigan absentees for Saturday`s game.
Arouna Kone`s career began as an 18-year-old in his native country with Rio Sport, scoring 17 goals in 31 appearances in his only season with the club. The 6 foot forward then made his way to Belgium, signing for SK Lierse, finishing the campaign as his club`s top scorer with 11 goals in 32 games. The striker was once again on his travels with Dutch outfit Roda JC snapping up his services for the 2003/2004 season. The Ivorian spent just over two seasons in his new surrounds and made a strong impact up front; 63 appearances harvested 28 goals and 15 assists before PSV came calling prior to the closure of the 2005/2006 summer transfer window.
Despite winning a couple of titles with the Dutch giants, Koné suffered from injury and illness during his time at Eindhoven - despite returning 19 goals and 13 assists in just 53 league games, he was sold to Spanish outfit Sevilla at the beginning of the 2007/2008 season. Kone`s spell at the La Liga club was disastrous, however; just a single goal and an assist over 39 games saw him farmed out on loan to German outfit Hannover, where he scored twice in eight appearances during the 2009/2010 campaign before heading back to his parent club.
The following season he featured just once for Sevilla and, with his career at a standstill, was picked up by Levante on a season-long loan with spectacular success. His 15 goals and four assists helped the club secure a fourth place finish and earned him a permanent deal, but only months after penning the contract, he was on his travels once again, with the DW his destination this time.
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