Arsenal are one of the sides expected to be busy in the transfer window this summer, with the Gunners looking to strengthen to get back into Premier League title contention. In an early summer move, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club is in advanced talks with Auxerre regarding the potential transfer of France under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo to the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger’s record of picking up young players from France and developing them into top-class professionals is second to none, and the Arsenal boss has obviously seen potential in the 20-year-old.
Sanogo has impressed in Ligue 2 this season, netting nine goals in 11 appearances for Auxerre. However, his contract is expiring this summer, and the forward is said to have rejected numerous offers from his current club and others in France, in hope of moving to north London.
Rumblings in L’Equipe suggest that Sanogo is on the verge of signing a four-year contract with Arsenal. But what do we know about the latest of Arsene Wenger’s young French signings?
Sanogo is of Malian and Ivorian descent, and as a youngster played for a number of Paris-based clubs. He spent two years in the youth set-up of Hatem Ben Arfa’s old club, Montrouge, before moving to CO Les Ulis, where Arsenal legend Thierry Henry learned his trade. He signed for Auxerre in 2006, and has worked his way through the ranks at the Stade de l’Abbe-Deschamps ever since.
The sprightly forward has been heavily involved in the French national youth set-up, from under-16 level all the way through to under-21. The astonishing goalscoring record of 18 goals in 18 games for the under-16 side showed Sanogo’s potential, while he also impressed at under-17 age grade as captain, and at under-19 level. He has featured twice for France under-21’s.
At club level Sanogo has forced his way into the Auxerre senior side reckoning after strong performances for the under-18 and reserve sides. Since breaking into the first team he has impressed with his technical ability and is naturally strong despite his young age.
Sanogo netted four goals in an astonishing 5-4 win over Laval earlier in the season, and has contributed nine goals in 11 games this season for the mid-table Ligue 2 side this term. The 20-year-old’s lanky frame is reminiscent of one Emmanuel Adebayor, who Wenger snatched from French football to groom into a top player.
Whether Sanogo is ready to play first-team football in the Premier League remains to be seen, but there is no denying that the forward has potential in spades. His goalscoring record, even at this early stage of his career, is notable, and given that Arsenal could sign him for a tribunal fee this summer, Sanogo could offer something different in the north London club’s attacking options.