When Wenger made a move for Auxerre’s youngster Yaya Sanogo in the summer, fans frowned at the choice of the Frenchman not only because of his lack of experience at the highest level but also his devastating injury record but the fact that he arrived virtually for free assuaged the anger and disappointment of fans. Now, Le Prof himself has admitted Sanogo was a big risk.
“He’s a bit of a gamble,” “Not because of his talent and quality, but because of the injuries he’s had.
“Basically for two years he didn’t play. But I spoke to him very early in the year, back in January, and told him that I would give him a chance at Arsenal.
“He has the qualities, the size and strength, so I think he will be all right. But we know we have to build him up, because a guy who has not played for two years at that level needs some adaptation time to get his body ready for the physical intensity.”
“We need to be patient with him,” Wenger continued. “He is a traditional number nine, but he’s a technical player as well. He uses his body well, has a good presence in the box and has the nose to know where to be on the pitch.
“The ball always goes to him. He can be a prolific goal-scorer and a huge talent.
“Overall he has a great desire to improve and to win. What he needs now is for his body to not give him any problems, and what we need to do is get his body into the right condition.
“For me it will take six months or so of work before we really see what he can do.”
From what Wenger said, it is obvious that Sanogo was not brought in as an immediate option but rather, as a long term option and that explains Wenger’s pursuit of Luis Suarez. Sanogo might be talented but his injury record reminds us of his crocked compatriot Abou Diaby. While there is little hope that Diaby might really be a fit player because since Arsenal signed him in 2006, he has not had an injury-free season, there is still decent hope for Sanogo since he is just 20 and has ample time to build up and prove his fitness. Wenger spoke of the presence of talent but what is talent without fitness? What is the use of a Ferrari that is always at the mechanic’s workshop?
Wenger’s expressed fear might just be a pointer to the fact that Arsenal are still gunning for a striker. If Bendtner is still lethargic and Sanogo isn’t ready at least for this season, we would need someone to act as a decent back-up to Giroud. Hopefully, that back-up will come in the winter window.