Johan Djourou

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Johan Djourou
AUT vs. SUI 2015-11-17 (242).jpg
Djourou with Switzerland in 2015
Personal information
Full name Johan Danon Djourou-Gbadjere[1]
Date of birth (1987-01-18) 18 January 1987 (age 30)
Place of birth Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Height 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)[2]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Hamburger SV
Number 5
Youth career
1998–2003 Étoile Carouge
2003–2004 Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2014 Arsenal 86 (1)
2007–2008 Birmingham City (loan) 13 (0)
2013 Hannover 96 (loan) 14 (0)
2013–2014 Hamburger SV (loan) 22 (0)
2014– Hamburger SV 58 (2)
National team
2001–2002 Switzerland U16 4 (0)
2002 Switzerland U17 4 (0)
2003–2004 Switzerland U19 8 (1)
2004–2005 Switzerland U20 9 (1)
2006 Switzerland U21 2 (0)
2006– Switzerland[3] 65 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:55, 27 May 2016 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 7 September 2016

Johan Danon Djourou-Gbadjere (pronounced: [dʒuʁu]; born 18 January 1987), more commonly known as Johan Djourou, is a Swiss international footballer who currently plays for and captains Hamburg.[4]

He used to play as a defensive midfielder in his youth for former club Étoile Carouge, but upon his arrival at Arsenal, he was converted to a central defender. He occasionally filled in at full back for Arsenal and played several games in central midfield while on loan to Birmingham City. According to his former profile on Arsenal's website, Djourou possesses "pace, power and whole-hearted commitment" in addition to his versatility.[5]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Djourou was born in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, to Ivorian parents Joachim and Angeline, and was later adopted by his father's first wife Daniele, a Swiss woman.[6] They moved to Geneva when he was 17 months old. He enrolled at the Payerne Training Center when he was 13 and then in 2002 joined local second division side Étoile Carouge as a midfielder at 15. He joined Arsenal Football Club on 1 August 2003. He was a member of the Swiss under-19 squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2004 European Championships.[7]


Djourou made his first senior start for Arsenal in a 3–1 victory against Everton in the League Cup, having made his first appearance after 89 minutes of the corresponding match in the previous round against Manchester City on 27 October 2004. He made his full Premiership debut for Arsenal in the 7–0 victory over Middlesbrough on 14 January 2006, playing at centre-back with Philippe Senderos. Djourou started Arsenal's FA Cup fourth round clash with Bolton Wanderers as part of a makeshift defence, a game in which Arsenal lost 1–0. He had also played in the third round clash with Cardiff City.

Alt text
Djourou taking a throw in against Reading

In February 2006, Djourou played in the league games against West Ham United, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers. In April 2006 he came on as a substitute against Aston Villa in Arsenal's 5–0 victory, replacing the injured Emmanuel Eboué. He started April's premiership game against Portsmouth, a game which also saw the comeback of Sol Campbell. During this season, several Italian clubs (including Juventus) scouted Djourou in Arsenal's reserve matches (his contract was to expire at the end of the 2006–07 season), but after the end of the World Cup, he signed a six-year contract extension with Arsenal.

He played in Arsenal's 2007 pre-season Emirates Cup win, against both Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

Loan to Birmingham[edit]

On 10 August 2007, he signed for Birmingham City on loan for a five-month period.[8] He made his debut two days later against the previous season's FA Cup and League Cup winners Chelsea. This was a closely fought contest in which Chelsea ran out eventual 3–2 winners, in which Djourou cleared off the line from Frank Lampard to keep Birmingham City in the game.[9]

Djourou continued to play for Birmingham consistently through his loan period until 22 December 2007, when he gifted Bolton Wanderers' Nicolas Anelka a goal via an errant throw-in.[10] This marked his last appearance for the club. Although Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was keen to retain him, Djourou returned to Arsenal at the end of his loan spell, as cover for Kolo Touré and Alex Song who were playing in the 2008 African Cup of Nations.[11]

Return to Arsenal[edit]

In May 2008, Djourou stated that he would be willing to partner Cesc Fàbregas in midfield after the departure of Mathieu Flamini to A.C. Milan. Instead the young Swiss played in the centre of defence as first choice backup following the departure of fellow Swiss defender Philippe Senderos to A.C. Milan on a season-long loan. In September, Djourou signed a new long-term contract.[12]

After Touré's departure to Manchester City, Djourou had a chance to break into the starting eleven. However, on 11 April 2009, in a league match against Wigan Athletic, Djourou suffered a knee injury which later required surgery. In September 2009, his club estimated a recovery period of six to eight months; Arsène Wenger stated: "He will have to be patient this season."[13]

Djourou at the 2010 Emirates Cup

In March 2010, Djourou appeared on Arsenal TV Online's 'Arsenal Live' programme. He announced that he was getting closer to a return: "I am nearly at the end. It has been a long road for me and I am really looking forward to being back on the field." He made his return from injury as a second-half substitute in the 4–0 win over Fulham in Arsenal's final game of the season. Djourou replaced the injured Mikaël Silvestre and this was his only appearance in the 2009–10 campaign.

Due to Thomas Vermaelen's injury at the beginning of the 2010–11 campaign, Djourou received more opportunities to play. Wenger admitted that he rotates the Swiss international because he missed an entire year and does not want to lose him.[14] Djourou became Arsenal's first-choice centre-back, playing in all eight games in January 2011, during which time Arsenal conceded no Premier League goals. He scored his first goal for Arsenal on 5 February, in the third minute of a 4–4 draw against Newcastle United at St. James' Park. On 27 February 2011, Djourou started and played the full 90 minutes alongside Laurent Koscielny against Birmingham City in the 2011 Football League Cup Final held at Wembley Stadium in a disappointing 2–1 defeat.

On 12 March, while playing in the quarter finals of the FA Cup away to Manchester United at Old Trafford, Djourou suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder in a collision with team-mate Bacary Sagna. Djourou was carried from the field and Wenger later confirmed that he would be unavailable for the remainder of the 2010–11 season. This came as a major blow to Arsenal's title challenge, up until then having not lost a Premier League game with him on the field. As well as that Djourou had played a major part in defence in cover of the injured Thomas Vermaelen. Djourou recovered more quickly than expected, returning to play the whole of the 1–1 draw with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on 17 April, playing alongside Laurent Koscielny, and the North London Derby three days later. On 24 April, against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, he conceded a penalty (missed by Kevin Davies) in a 2–1 defeat which effectively ended Arsenal's title hopes. At the end of the 2010–11 season, he played in a total of 37 matches for the Gunners in all competitions. On 28 August 2011 Djourou played in the centre of a young Arsenal seriously weakened by injuries for a game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Arsenal went on to lose the game 8–2, this was Arsenal's heaviest defeat since 1896, a 115-year record.[15] 3 days later Arsenal announced the signing of experienced German defender Per Mertesacker for Werder Bremen, as a result Djourou's first team opportunities became more limited. In February 2012, Djourou signed a three-year contract extension until summer 2015. During the 2011–12 season, he started 19 times for Arsenal and made 8 substitute appearances.

Loan to Hannover[edit]

On 3 January 2013, Djourou confirmed that he is set to move to Bundesliga side Hannover on a six-month loan deal until the end of the season, while there is no option to buy included in the deal.[16] About the move, Djourou said, "I joined the club who wanted me the most. At my age, the priority is to play regularly. To do this, I did not hesitate to refuse offers with the most exclusive clubs who made important financial efforts."

Loan and transfer to Hamburger SV[edit]

On 1 July 2013, Djourou undertook a medical before signing for Bundesliga side Hamburger SV on loan for a season. It was reported that the deal included an option to buy Djourou at the end of the season.[17][18] Djourou said on the official Hamburger SV website: "I'm very happy now that everything is sorted. HSV are a big club, with a lot of quality and great fans. I am convinced that this is the right step for my career."

In April 2014, Hamburg announced that they had activated the buying clause and signed Djourou on a permanent deal.[19][20]

International career[edit]

Djourou at Euro 2008 with Switzerland
Djourou at Euro 2008 with Switzerland

He made his senior Switzerland international debut against Scotland on 1 March 2006, coming on as a substitute and again playing alongside Philippe Senderos. Djourou was called up to the Switzerland 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, despite not playing in the qualifiers. Although third choice central defender behind Philippe Senderos, then of Arsenal, and Patrick Müller, then of Lyon, he started Switzerland's round 16 game against Ukraine. Injury, however, led him to be substituted in the first half. Later that year, he made two appearances during Switzerland's qualification campaign for the UEFA U-21 Championship, but did not appear for the Swiss U-21 squad since. After missing nearly the entire season for Arsenal in 2009–10, he was left out of the Swiss squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa. In June 2011, with Switzerland 2–0 up against England in a Euro 2012 qualifier, Djourou fouled Arsenal teammate Jack Wilshere to concede a penalty, allowing England to pull a goal back although the match ended in a 2–2 draw at the Wembley Stadium.[21]

He scored his first goal for Switzerland, finding the net in a 3–4 friendly loss against Japan in 2007. He scored his second international goal against San Marino converting a penalty kick after Fabian Schär had been fouled in the box to put Switzerland ahead 4–0 in an eventual 7–0 win.

Personal life[edit]

Djourou's younger brother Olivier was playing football for Urania Genève Sport in 2008.[22]



  • Switzerland Newcomer of the Year: 2006[23]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 29 November 2014[24]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Arsenal 2004–05 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 0
2005–06 7 0 2 0 3 0 0 0 12 0
2006–07 21 0 1 0 3 0 5 0 30 0
2007–08 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
2008–09 15 0 4 0 2 0 8 0 29 0
2009–10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2010–11 22 1 3 0 6 0 6 0 37 1
2011–12 18 0 1 0 2 0 6 0 27 0
2012–13 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 0
Arsenal total 86 1 11 0 22 0 25 0 140 1
Birmingham City (loan) 2007–08 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
Hannover 96 (loan) 2012–13 14 0 0 0 2 0 16 0
Hamburger SV (loan) 2013–14 24 0 2 0 26 0
Hamburger SV 2014–15 13 0 2 0 15 0
Career total 150 1 15 0 22 0 27 0 216 1


  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0. 
  2. ^ "Player Profile: Johan Djourou". UEFA. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Kader A-Team: Johannes Djourou" [A Team Squad: Johan Djourou] (in German). Swiss Football Federation. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Johan Djourou: Profile". 
  5. ^ "Players: Johan Djourou". Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Moore, Glenn (16 September 2006). "The Premiership Interview: Teenager going places fast". The Independent. London. Retrieved 17 September 2006. 
  7. ^ "UEFA Under-19 European Championship: Switzerland 2–3 Turkey". UEFA. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Djourou completes Birmingham move". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Commentary: Chelsea v Birmingham". Sky Sports. 12 August 2007. 
  10. ^ Standley, James (12 December 2007). "Bolton 3–0 Birmingham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "Wenger explains Djourou's Birmingham recall". Arsenal F.C. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 
  12. ^ "Johan Djourou signs new long-term contract". Arsenal F.C. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 
  13. ^ Clarke, Richard (10 September 2009). "Djourou ruled out for 'six to eight months'". Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Burton, Chris (5 December 2010). "Wenger hails 'dominant' Djourou". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Djourou confirms loan deal to Hannover with no buy option". Arsenal News. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Djourou makes Hamburg switch". Belfast Telegraph. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Djourou completes Hamburg move". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Drayton, John (1 July 2013). "Gunners continue summer clearout as defender Djourou is loaned to Hamburg... and could Bendtner be next to go?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "Transfer news: Johan Djourou completes permanent move to Hamburg from Arsenal". Sky Sports News. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  21. ^ McNulty, Phil (4 June 2011). "England 2–2 Switzerland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Bordier, Michel (May 2008). "Dans la famille Djourou,they je demande le frère!" (PDF). Le Chênois (in French). p. 52. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  23. ^ "The "Newcomer of the Year Award" for Swiss soccer player Johan Djourou". 
  24. ^ "Johan Djourou Statistics". ESPNsoccernet. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 

External links[edit]