The latest Arsenal transfer news finds Yaya Sanogo on his way to London from relative obscurity in France. The Frenchman arrives having only played 22 senior matches in France, 11 of those were played in France's second tier competition, the Ligue 2. The 20-year-old striker arrives at Arsenal as an unknown. Just simply ask anyone on the street, 99 percent of people would not have heard of him.
Yet despite his lack of experience, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, as he so often does, risked everything in order to take the plunge in signing the striker. After all, the 63-year-old is famous for retrieving the best out of every youngster under his surveillance.
"Sanogo is a good young signing for us. He has shown that he has potential with his recent performances for Auxerre and also for the France Under 20s side. We are looking forward to Yaya joining us and continuing his promising development," Wenger told the club's official website.
The excitement was evident. In more ways than one, he is a typical Wenger signing; young, talented and lets not forget the bit about him being French.
At such a tender age, the striker showcases rare talent. He possesses an athletic build, surprisingly strong especially on the ball and is blessed with blistering pace. Compounded to those physical qualities is the fact that Sanogo possesses a great eye for goal and striker instincts, attributes which Arsenal have sorely missed since the departure of now Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, a player who was also a product of Wenger's laborious work.
At now former club Auxerre, Sanogo made 11 official appearances for the club, scoring nine goals in the process, seven of which were from back-to-back games.
Yet despite being such a prolific striker at such a young age, Sanogo has failed to attract interest from Europe's elite, with former Ligue 1 Champions Lille the only club who seriously threatened to derail Arsenal's negotiations with the young Frenchman.
However, the player's horrible injury record should gives us an idea of why only a limited number of clubs were after his signature. Throughout his short career as a professional player, injury has often threatened in turning his dream upside down.
His history with injury includes a broken leg, bad enough to keep him sidelined for basically the entire 2009-10 campaign. That, followed by a torn adductor placed him in a similar position a year later.
If you were Wenger, would you have signed Sanogo?
Last season saw his appearances limited as the starlet succumbed to a series of minor injuries. By the end of it, he had only been able to muster six consecutive starts for the season—not promising signs at all.
However, his mental resilience should be applauded. Despite setbacks throughout his career, he has been able to showcase his quality when given the chance to shine. His mentality is befitting of a big club in the form of Arsenal, and it is their job to solve his medical issues.
Having been compared to fellow starlet Romelu Lukaku in the past, Sanogo stands at six-feet tall. Despite his lanky frame, he possesses extraordinary strength and pace, which allows him to get behind opposing defences.
Despite the comparisons being premature, as Lukaku is still a step above the Frenchman, Sanogo has everything to prove, and the opportunities that are presented to him will provide the player with vital experience. There is little doubt that being able to work with a top-class coach in the form of Wenger will allow the 20-year-old to become a better all-round striker.
Undoubtedly, Gunners fans should not consider him to be van Persie's replacement. His previous history with injuries has restricted his development as a player and Wenger should look towards helping Giroud find his best form again. However, should Sanogo shake off his problems, Wenger may have found himself another star striker in the making.