Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Wenger Turning His Attention to 17-Year-Old Niang
The French manager is doing what he does best, using his contacts in France and his deep knowledge of Ligue 1 to scour his home nation for exciting prospects.
Wenger's latest search has led him to extend a one-week trial to 17-year-old sensation M'Baye Niang. This name may be new to those of us outside of France, but many with close knowledge of Ligue 1 consider Niang one of the most exciting attacking prospects since Thierry Henry.
In his first two seasons of professional football, he has scored five goals in 30 appearances for Caen. Scoring his first goal in the 2010/2011 season at the tender age of 16 made him the second-youngest person to score in Ligue 1 history.
Niang has also impressed for France at various youth levels. His most recent international highlight coming when he bypassed three youth teams and was called up to represent France in the 2013 U-21 European Championship Qualification stage. He made his first appearance against Latvia as a sub in the 72nd minute and scored after being on the pitch for 15 minutes.
And let's not forget that he was 16 at the time.
Recent reports out of France and England have Niang starting a week-long trial at Arsenal this week. If all goes well and Arsène likes what he sees, a deal in the region of £5 million could be completed before the start of the 2012/2013 EPL season.
These reports are consistent with recent statements from new Caen coach Patrice Garande, who seems terrified at the prospect of losing Niang. In response to speculation that the 17-year-old might move to North London, Garande made the following statement: "We've never seen a player like him at the club before."
This move will undoubtedly be met with the standard reaction from Arsenal fans. Something along the lines of: "Well this is great for our future, but what about the here and now?" But this move should be considered in higher regard than the average youth signing.
And as the Ox proved last season, sometimes future prospects can give immediate rewards.
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