Arsenal announced the signing of Yaya Sanogo a few days back and yours truly was too busy being bemused by the reaction to properly analyse the signing. But now that I’ve had some time with my friend, the Internet, and done some thinking I’ve come to the conclusion: Yaya Sanogo is a great signing for Arsenal.
First, the facts: he’s 6’3″, 20 years old and reportedly weighs just 163lbs. He is right footed (according to transfermarkt) and plays in a traditional center forward role. He scored 12 goals in 12 appearances for club and country since last summer including two impressive bicycle kicks for France U20. He has suffered two major injuries in his career - a “double leg break” in 2010 and a torn muscle in his groin in 2011. And Arsenal reportedly paid just £450,000 to Auxerre for his services.
Naturally, the transfer of a young Frenchman from Auxerre with a history of injury brings out the jokes because you know French + Injury = funny. But comedy aside, his injury history doesn’t actually bother me. In fact, there’s no other club in the world with as much experience dealing with double-leg breaks than Arsenal so, I’m quite sanguine about his injury history.
Diaby (the other player from Auxerre) was the first to have his leg broken after a tackle by Sunderland’s Dan Smith, and in many ways he’s the one player whose injury blighted career burns so bright in the minds of Arsenal fans. But, like I said, he was the first and because he plays in midfield he gets kicked, a lot. In fact, he’s been targeted by opposition midfielders his entire career.
After Diaby came Eduardo, who had his leg broken by Martin Taylor, and it should be noted that while Dudu was never the same in England, he is still playing football for Waxtap in the Ukraine. His career in England was also cut short more by the British press’ overreaction to the Celtic dive than almost anything else. But it is fair to say that while he was patched back up, he wasn’t ever really the same.
"It looks like Sanogo might have the basics in place to be a top drawer striker and it will have to be down to managing his playing time, building his strength and getting him some experience in England to see if he will pan out"
And then Aaron Ramsey. To say that he has completely returned from his injury is an understatement. He’s completely returned from an horrific leg break, to play midfield for an Arsenal team in which the opposition simply love to kick the Arsenal midfield.
If Sanogo had never been injured I think that many people would actually be eyeing this signing a quite a little coup. He’s scored again for France in the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey and showed some really impressive touch and control to get the goal. I’ve also seen the videos of his seven-goal outburst in back to back games for Auxerre and he showed some good awareness to be in the right place at the right time and after the match gave credit to the midfielder who set him up time and again.
No, it looks like Sanogo might have the basics in place to be a top drawer striker and it will have to be down to managing his playing time, building his strength and getting him some experience in England to see if he will pan out.
A lot of this will be down to what Sanogo wants. If he works hard on his strength and conditioning. If he practises hard and does everything that the boss says he should be OK. That is, if he’s lucky and avoids injury.
All clubs take chances on players. Some take £50m chances on players like Fernando Torres and other clubs take £35m chances on players like Andy Carroll, Arsenal take chances on £450,000 players like Sanogo.
Meanwhile, Vito Mannone signed for Sunderland. Which is great for him and Arsenal. I’ll always remember his man of the match performance against Fulham. Arsenal needed a ray of hope and Vito came in and made save after save as Fulham peppered the goal looking for an equalizer. The team were so relieved that I think they carried him off the pitch!
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