Yet another Arsenal left-back set for surgery as Armand Traore plans tattoo removal

By Sportsmail Reporter
Last updated at 3:01 PM on 26th November 2009

Arsenal's Armand Traore (right) gets away from Sunderland's Phillip Bardsley

Stake a claim: Injuries have opened the door for Traore to impress once more

Arsenal left-back Armand Traore looks set for a defining season both on and off the pitch after the Frenchman revealed he plans to go under the knife in the summer.

Traore could become a regular fixture in Arsenal's back four with Gael Clichy and his deputy Kieran Gibbs facing lengthy spells on the sidelines. But it is off the pitch that the most drastic change will occur.

The player, once questioned by police after being found near White Hart Lane on north London derby day with a knuckleduster, is due to have all his tattoos surgically removed.

Traore claims religion is behind the move after the 20-year-old embraced the Muslim faith.

'I'm planning to do this in the summer,' he said. 'They'll put me under anesthetic and then do it all, and when I wake up everything will be gone. It needs a bit of recovery time though so I’m not going to do it during the football season.

'If I had been into my religion properly before I’d had the tattoos done, I think I would never have got them. I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my life but I will try and correct it.'

Didier Drogba of Chelsea is challenged by Armand Traore

Big occasion: Traore featured in Arsenal's Carling Cup final defeat by Chelsea

Traore shot to prominence in Arsenal's 2007 Carling Cup run where they eventually lost to Chelsea in the final. The full-back is now expected to start against the Blues in the crunch Premier League tie on Sunday. He hopes his new way of life will help him cope with the big occasion.

'My religion has benefits both personally and in my career,' Traore explained. 'It's all about many of the things that are good in football too – like resting, doing everything right, being nice to people, respecting, not swearing or lying, being fair.

'I've always been Muslim but I wasn't really practicing it, I was just saying to people that I was Muslim. I don’t know what made me change – it was just slowly, slowly, a gradual development.'

 

 

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