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Ex-Premier League defender Armand Traore revealed before his Arsenal exit that he planned to get rid of his tattoos after embracing his faith and connection to Islam

Forgotten Arsenal star Armand Traore once vowed to surgically remove his tattoos after switching religion.

The former Gunners full-back spent six years in north London after joining the club from Monaco at the age of 15 and went on to make 32 first team appearances for Arsenal. After breaking into the first team in 2009 off the back of a loan spell at Portsmouth, Traore revealed that he was planning to get his tattoos removed

He had got several pieces of ink after coming to England as a teenager but admitted that they were a mistake after embracing his faith as a practicing Muslim.

Speaking to Arsenal’s official matchday programme in November 2009, he explained, via The Mirror: “I am going under the knife at the end of the season to remove the tattoos.


“I’m planning to do it in the summer. They put me under anaesthetic and then do it all, and when I wake up everything will be gone. It needs a little bit of recovery time so I’m going to do it at the end of the football season.

“If I had been into my religion properly before I had the tattoos I don’t think I would have got them. I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes of my life, but I will try and correct it.

Armand Traore previously admitted his tattoos were a “mistake”

“My religion has benefited me personally and in my career. I have always been a Muslim but I wasn’t really practising it, I was just saying to people ‘I am a Muslim’. It’s a gradual development.”

He discussed the situation again three months later, this time with The Guardian: “As a Muslim I believe we have to look after our bodies. It is the body that has been given to you – it is not good to eat too much and get fat.


“During my first two years in England I got tattoos. One on each wrist and wings on my back. I got my ears pierced. And I went to nightclubs. I don’t do these things any more and this summer I plan to get my tattoos removed.

“I do not do anything that causes my body harm. I do not drink or smoke. Because the tattoo on my back is so big it would take too long to remove with lasers so I am going to see if, under anaesthetic, they can remove it all at once.”

Armand Traore made 32 appearances in six years at Arsenal

Traore was sold to Queens Park Rangers in 2011 following temporary spells on loan at Portsmouth and Juventus. He later played for Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Turkish side Caykur Rizespor.


A former French youth international, Traore won six caps for Senegal after switching his international allegiances. He retired in January 2020 at the age of 30.

Nelson was sent out on loan to the Netherlands with Feyenoord last campaign where he showed signs of maturity while contributing four goals and seven assists in all competitions. He has since gone on to re-join the rest of the squad for their pre-season tour of the USA.

Yet, while Arsenal legend Ian Wright stated Nelson enjoyed a “new lease of life in pre-season,” it remains to be seen whether he will take full use of his opportunities once the season kicks off against Crystal Palace on Friday.

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