Koné with Côte d'Ivoire in 2012
|Full name||Arouna Koné|
|Date of birth||11 November 1983|
|Place of birth||Anyama, Ivory Coast|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in) |
|2010||→ Hannover 96 (loan)||8||(2)|
|2011–2012||→ Levante (loan)||34||(15)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of match played 23 August 2015.
After making a name for himself in the Eredivisie, with Roda and PSV, he signed with Sevilla in 2007, where he rarely appeared due to injury and loans. In 2012 he moved from Levante to the Premier League, where he represented Wigan Athletic and Everton, winning one FA Cup with the former.
Born in Anyama, Koné started his football career with Rio Sport d'Anyama, a club based in his hometown. In the 2002–03 season, aged just 18, he signed for Lierse S.K. in Belgium, being the team's top scorer as it finished fifth. He moved to the Netherlands in the following off-season and joined Roda JC, scoring double digits in two consecutive Eredivisie campaigns including a career-best of 15 goals in 2004–05.
Koné continued in the Netherlands and joined national powerhouse PSV Eindhoven in the 2005 summer, netting 11 goals in his first year and nine in the first part of the following, partnering well up front with Peruvian Jefferson Farfán. He also competed in the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, scoring a vital winner in the 2–1 away success against Galatasaray SK, and his successful 2006 finished on a high note as he was nominated for the Ivorian Football of the Year award, an accolade eventually won by Didier Drogba; in May of the following year, after several weeks sidelined due to injury, he picked his second consecutive national championship-winners medal.
Koné endured a difficult start to PSV's 2007–08 season: due to a date mix-up, he returned late to pre-season training following a holiday in his country, thus missing out on valuable time to prepare for the new campaign. Added to this, the player was struck down with malaria at the end of July 2007, In August, it was announced that he had returned to training following his health scare, and was expected to be fit in time for the team's first league game against Heracles Almelo on the 19th – he also immediately returned to international duty.
On the 30th of August the year 2007, after reported interest from Premier League side Middlesbrough had been observing Koné, Sevilla FC signed Koné on a five-year deal for a fee reported to be €12 million. He made his league debut on 16 September, as a second-half substitute for Frédéric Kanouté in a 4–1 win against Recreativo de Huelva – he won a penalty in the game, but fellow striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov failed to convert. Nine days later he scored his first goal for the Spaniards, helping the team come from behind 0–2 against RCD Espanyol to tie it 2–2, in an eventual 2–3 home loss; on 2 October, he netted his first UEFA Champions League goal for the club, in a 4–2 group stage win against SK Slavia Prague after only ten minutes on the pitch.
In April 2008, it was reported that Koné was to be shown the door at Sevilla in the summer of 2008, after a disappointing first season. His lack of playing time, partly due to the form of Luís Fabiano and Kanouté, and an argument on the training ground with a member of the training staff that was caught on Spanish television, made for some intense speculation about the player's future. In the run-up to the 2008–09 campaign he suffered a serious injury while playing for Côte d'Ivoire against Guinea on 20 August, and a subsequent scan showed he had suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in his left leg, and he underwent surgery to repair the damage the following week, returning to training in February 2009.
Subsequently Koné fell out of favour at Sevilla and, after much transfer speculation, in February 2010 he joined Hannover 96 on loan until the end of the season. He scored on his Bundesliga debut, a 1–2 away loss against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Koné only appeared once for Sevilla in 2010–11, one minute against Villarreal CF. For the following season he was loaned to Levante UD, starting often and scoring his first goal of the campaign on 18 September 2011, in a surprise 1–0 home win over Real Madrid. The campaign was highly successful for the player both individually (he netted 15 times) and collectively, as the Valencian finished sixth and qualified for the UEFA Europa League.
Koné was rested for the final three games of the season due to a minor injury, and also because he was "scoring too many goals", as if he reached 18 he would have to return to Sevilla automatically, something he did not desire. Instead, he moved to Levante on a permanent basis, though the club were reported to be keen to sell him immediately for a profit.
On 14 August 2012, Koné signed a three-year contract with Premier League side Wigan Athletic, for a reported fee of €3.5 million. Wigan beat off competition from a number of other English clubs, with the striker being persuaded to sign due to the team's passing style of play. He scored his first league goal in his second match and his first start, an 89th minute strike against Southampton for the final goal in a 2–0 away win. He netted a brace in the 4–1 defeat of Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup, on 17 February 2013, and added another two in his side's next match, a 3–0 league win at Reading.
Koné won the FA Cup with the Latics, featuring the full 90 minutes in the 1–0 upset against Manchester City. However, only three days later, Wigan were relegated from the top division following a 1–4 defeat at Arsenal.
On 8 July 2013, Everton confirmed the signing of Koné on a three-year deal, for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut on 17 August, coming on as an 81st minute substitute in a 2–2 draw at Norwich City. In October, he suffered a knee cartilage injury and did not play again for the rest of the season. Returning on the 24th of December 2014, he netted his first goal for Everton against Newcastle United in the early stages of a 3-2 defeat. On the opening day of the 2015/16 Premier League season, Arouna came off the bench to assist and score to help Everton secure a 2-2 draw against Watford FC. His performance was rewarded with a start away at Southampton, which was a 3-0 win in which the Ivorian recorded a superb assist. In the words of the man himself, "Today has been good. Lived to my expectation."
Koné played for the Mama Ouattara-led Côte d'Ivoire under-20 team in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, alongside Lierse teammate where he starred alongside Lierse team mate Adolphe Tohoua. He scored three goals in the tournament – once against Mexico in a 2–1 win, and twice in the 2–2 draw against the Republic of Ireland – in an eventual round-of-16 exit, and the official FIFA website declared him to be a "crucial pivot for the attacking thrust" of the Ivorian team, and described him as a player possessing "physical strength, aerial ability and good ball control".
Koné was also picked for the squad that appeared at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, a first-ever for the African nation. He replaced Abdul Kader Keïta in the 77th minute of the first game, a 1–2 loss against Argentina, and started in the other two – going scoreless in the process – as the national team did not make it to the knockout stages.
Koné was named in the Ivorian squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, in an eventual fourth-place finish. On 8 October 2006, in the qualifying campaign, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 home win against Gabon.
After spending four years in the international wilderness due to injuries and loss of form, Koné was recalled to the Ivorian squad in 2012, and was named in the squad for the 2013 African Cup of Nations due to his club form, with boss Martínez commenting on his player's international return: "Arouna had a long period when he wasn't involved with the national team, and that was hard because he loves representing his country. When he is happy, we are happy, and I am very pleased he is back in the Ivory Coast squad."
- "List of players" (PDF). CAF. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
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- "Twelve shining stars in the Emirates". FIFA.com. 12 December 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
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- Everton official profile
- Stats at Voetbal International (Dutch)
- BDFutbol profile
- Arouna Koné at National-Football-Teams.com
- Arouna Koné – FIFA competition record