Clubs: AJ Auxerre, Arsenal FC
UEFA European Under-19 Championship: winner 2005
• Born of Ivorian descent in the Parisian suburbs, he played youth football at Paris Saint-Germain FC and attended the French national academy in Clairefontaine before joining Auxerre in 2002.
• Broke into the first team in 2004 and made his league debut in August that year; moved to Arsenal midway through 2005/06 and scored his first goal in a 5-0 defeat of Aston Villa FC on 1 April 2006.
• Suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle against Sunderland AFC on 1 May 2006 that kept him out for seven months, including the UEFA Champions League showpiece versus FC Barcelona and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.
• Captained France to UEFA European Under-19 Championship glory in 2005 and, after winning one U21 cap, appeared at senior level for the first time in March 2007 in a UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier against Lithuania; played in all three group matches as Les Bleus crashed out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
• Operated as a utility midfielder at Arsenal, gaining increased playing time during the 2008/09 season, when he featured in 24 Premier League and seven UEFA Champions League matches.
• Was a regular Premier League starter in 2009/10, registering a career best six Premier League goals in 29 appearances, but missed the entire UEFA Champions League group stage in 2010/11 due to continued injury problems.
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