Why Sanogo to Arsenal might not be such a bad signing plus other transfer news

Arsenal announced the signing of Yaya Sanogo a few days back and yours truly was too busy being bemused by the reaction to properly analyze 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 an evil 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 with Chelsea’s Essien trying to break his leg, Joey Barton’s knee tackle, and pretty much every other midfielder having a nibble at him, so it’s a miracle that he’s ever played at all.

After Diaby came Eduardo, who had his leg shattered by Martin Taylor’s studs up lunge, 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.

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.

On its surface it looks like the Arsenal physios, then, have done a progressively better job managing each of these player’s injuries. Sure, a broken bone is never the same for any two players and Diaby’s physique has to have played a part in his history of injuries. So, even if you discount that it looks like the physios have gotten better at managing this exact type of injury you would still have to admit that there is a lot of experience in the Arsenal physio room with managing exactly the kinds of continued injuries that a player like Sanogo will experience as he is thrust into the physicality of the Premier League.

We’ll have to see. The first time some Orc goes through the back of him as he’s trying to hold the ball up will be a real test.

And if he’d 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 U20 World Cup in Turkey and showed some really impressive touch and control to get the goal. I’ve also seen the videos of his 7 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 practices 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!

But his departure means that Arsenal have to be looking at bringing in another goalkeeper, right? Right? We can’t be seriously contemplating promoting… uhhh… Martinez. Can we? The rumor mill has Arsenal after Julio Cesar with some competition from Barcelona for his signature. I’ve already made my position clear on this, I like Cesar and think he would be perfect for Arsenal.

But whomever Arsenal are after, I just hope that they are after someone. I should tell you that one of my very best friends is a goalkeeper and he hates Szczesny and Fabianski. He’s not an Arsenal supporter but he’s also not an Arsenal hater and his direct quote was “Szczesny is terrible.” I don’t think I would go that far but I do agree that Szczesny is not quite up to the level that David de Gea, Mignolet, Begovic, and Cesar are. But I think my friend’s best point came after he asked why Arsenal persist with him and why so many Arsenal fans seem to have time for him, when I answered that he’s an Arsenal boy and that he came up with the Gunners, loves the Arsenal, and so on, his reply was “well, do you need a cheerleader or a goalkeeper?”

I like cheerleaders! But I have to admit that I also think Arsenal need a keeper.


*Carroll has had an injury blighted career as well. He has played 20, 9, 47, 2, 23 matches in each of his last 5 seasons.

P.S. – My underlying assumption is that Arsenal are going to sign Gonzalo Higuain. I’m so confident  of that happening, possibly this week, that I didn’t even feel the need to make the argument “…as long as Sonogo isn’t the only signing in the forward department.” I’m also confident that if Arsene doesn’t sign Higuain, he will sign someone else. Sanogo will not be the only forward that Arsenal sign this season. That thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.

27 thoughts on “Why Sanogo to Arsenal might not be such a bad signing plus other transfer news

  1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    Sanogo’s signing is all about context. If he’s the only striker brought in, of course it’s a crazy gamble. (The only possible redemption would be if we brought in a winger and moved Theo or Poldi full time to CF… still a gamble, but smaller). Bring in Higuain, and it’s an excellent acquisition that could be one of Arsene’s best moves, but at worst will be a smart bet that just didn’t pay. Anyway, getting Sanogo on (almost) a free is a great acquisition, the only way it gets spoiled is if it’s the only one we do.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1caribkid

      Agreed completely, except it would not be a gamble, just plain crazy. As Tim indicated, Sanogo could be a great signing for the not too distant future. At 1/2 M, why not? He clearly has potential and could turn out to be a diamond in the rough.

      He reminds me of Benteke.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

        I’ve only seen his Youtube, and employed him on FM for years (yes, I have suffered from that addiction)… but if he is anywhere near Benteke right now, he’s the signing of the season.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +11ntta

    Sanogo’s recent form is encouraging. He currently leads the French side at the FIFA U20 World Cup with 4 goals and an assist. I saw on a highlight package that he scored a real striker’s goal yesterday with power, precision and cofidence. Top class finish.

    Certainly the potential seems there. Fingers crossed…

  3. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Agree completely with craig’s comment re: context. For some reason, I feel like we’ve got a gem on our hands here. You know how Wenger said he wanted to sign Ronaldo, Drogba, and Yaya Toure when they were younger / less popular, but missed out on them for whatever reason? Sanogo feels like one of those, but this time we got our man. He looks exceptionally athletic, powerful, quick, great close control, and a poacher’s instinct. The way he moves reminds me of a hybrid Henry-Adebayor. I’m optimistic, and if we also sign a player of Higuain’s quality, our striker business this summer will be a resounding success.

    Speaking of strikers, I’m flabbergasted at the legs of the Rooney rumor. Remember that this was started by a fabrication in a third-rate “news” site, which few gave credence to, but which then exploded when Wenger and Gazidis politely answered questions about the player. That was several weeks ago, and even though nothing has been said since, and no evidence has surfaced regarding a link, the media have just kept going and going and going with it.

    We never have and never will be in for Rooney–not when there are better strikers for lesser fees and wages out there (Higuain, for example). This just looks like another instance of the media building a link on their own just so they can eventually print a trolling “Arsenal miss out on” story.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1piken79

    Good article about Sonogo. i think he’ll make the grade in 2-3 seasons but I don’t believe De Gea is better than Szczesny.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

      De Gea is categorically the best Goalkeeper in the league and the stats will back me up on this. Szcz is currently in the middle-of-the-pack, but is very young and raw and will grow with time. And hey, at least we don’t have any of the worst 5 keepers in the league, like Lloris or Reina.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

      Go to any Opta stats website, compare keepers. De Gea is very good, if not the best in the league. (And I HATE United, so it takes A LOT for me to praise him).

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author


    P.S. – My underlying assumption is that Arsenal are going to sign Gonzalo Higuain. I’m so confident of that happening, possibly this week, that I didn’t even feel the need to make the argument “…as long as Sonogo isn’t the only signing in the forward department.” I’m also confident that if Arsene doesn’t sign Higuain, he will sign someone else. Sanogo will not be the only forward that Arsenal sign this season. That thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      This week? Yes, please. A gut feeling or reliable source?

      All I know is that the internets are getting jittery on this one. A lack of soundbites from the Spanish press means that the deal for Higuain MUST be off!

      I will say this, though: I find it perplexing that Tottenham can wrap up a deal for Paulinho lickety-split, while we–with a comparable willingness and ability to spend–continue to struggle with moves for a striker and defensive midfielder.

      What’s our problem? Is it that we’re finally moving for players in demand (though Paulinho is excellent), or that we’re being typically parsimonious?

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      …and now I’ve just seen the report on Arseblog News. Looks like we’ll know (either way) sooner rather than later.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Sid

    I agree with Piken79, De Gae is not shown anything like consistent enough form to suggest he is better than Szczesny. The fact your mate is a GK shows nothing apart from the fact that players, as we constantly see with the level of punditry on the BBC/Sky/ESPN/ITV etc often show they know nothing about the game! :)

    I think Fabianski’s form last season could even prove a catalyst for him to come good, while I have always felt Szczesny has the makings of a great keeper and Cesar is horrendously inconsistent.

  7. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Sid

    Oh and I have a good feeling about trhe Sanogo signing. If he stays injury free, he could do a job this season, never miond the next one.

    Higuian remains the numero uno striker target for me though.

  8. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    Szczesny is significantly worse than David de Gea.

    De Gea is worked harder than Szczesny, he makes more saves, makes fewer errors, claims more crosses, and is generally a significantly superior keeper. As you can see from the chart below.

    Where Szczesny has an advantage is distribution but frankly, keeper distribution is significantly overrated. Anyone can roll the ball out to Arsenal’s possession-based offense and when Szczesny does kick, he almost always boots it to just one man, Sagna. And Sagna is a beast in the air. Not many people know that, but it’s true.

    de Gea v Szczesny

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Also, it seems fairly obvious we’ve bid for Grenier. Can anyone make sense of this? Where does he fit? Is he meant to replace a potentially exiting Gervinho? Is he any good???

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

      Grenier is pretty simple. We are short 1 attacking mid who can also play CM, because of Rosicky’s age/injury history, and Diaby’s injury history.

      Here’s how I see our depth chart

      Striker: Higuain, Giroud, Poldi/Walcott/Sanogo (See my positive thinking? My faith? Also, we’re pretty stacked here with Higgy in the lineup)

      LW: Santi, Poldi, Gerv

      RW: Theo, The Ox, Gerv

      AM: Jack, (Grenier?), Rosicky/The Ox

      CM: Ramsey, Diaby, Rosicky/The Ox/Jack

      DM: Arteta, Ramsey, Diaby.

      So we clearly need a young guy to backup and then replace Arteta, and someone who can backup Ramsey and Jack. Bender was bid for as future Arteta, Grenier was bid for as future Rosicky. Future Arteta has to be ready for prime time quicky, because Arteta will be out of legs soon and Wenger clearly doesn’t rate Le Coq or Frimpong. Future Rosicky is still really a back up to Jack and maybe Ramsey as well, so spending 25 million there seems a little silly… voila, Grenier.

      1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        Cazorla is Arsenal’s attacking mid, Wilshere his backup. I don’t want to see Santi pushed out on the left.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

        I agree with you, but Arsene seemed to like him out left throughout the run in, starting Rosicky through the middle, and with how well the results went, I saw it as more likely Santi would stay there. I actually cut out two paragraphs talking about that, and about how Santi and The Ox were versatile enough that it was hard to see where Arsene really saw them, because it made that post way too long.

        Who knows, maybe Santi was on the wing because Arsene didn’t have a LW he wanted to start… in which case Grenier would probably move out there to compete with a healthy Podolski. But Santi played a lot of left wing in the run-in, no matter where we like to see him.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        Thanks, craig, though I still don’t quite get it. If Jack and the Ox are our young, up-and-coming attacking central midfield players (understudies to Cazorla?), then what’s the point of adding another young, up-and-coming attacking central midfield player?

  10. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    I’ve heard of a report that claims Arsenal are stalling over Higuain at 21 m, while Real Madrid are sticking to $25m. IF this is true, and this is a big IF, why are we bidding short when the figure was well known to be in the 24-25 range? This is not bargaining for a souvenir hookah at the soukh. This is one of the best players in the world. What are we doing?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

        Arsenal doing some last-minute haggling over what otherwise seemed to be a done deal?

        True or not, it’s very believable, which is no doubt why the rumour is out there.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Byo

    When ManU signs a Bebe a Zaha or a Powell, AF pulled a rabbit out out of the hat. But if AW signs a Sanogo, cue the jokes!

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