Forgo Sanogo, Summer’s A No Go
Say that title five times really fast. Social media exploded yesterday with the news that Arsenal are close to signing Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre on a free transfer. In true Arsenal style we are set to sign a relatively unknown player from France and in true Arsenal style a section of supporters have blown a gasket over what they perceive to be a poor signing.
This summer promised to be a close season of quality, big name signings so I could understand the reaction to this news if it was August, as the last time we commented on a player joining before the season had ended it was Podolski and his reputation was/is huge, but it’s not, it’s May. An argument can be put together that Arsenal’s squad, based on February onwards’ form, doesn’t need enhancing too much but I’m not going to make that argument.
What I believe our form of late shows is that with a few tweaks we do have a squad capable of challenging and despite having said “this is our year” for a number of seasons I feel this one is different, so much so that I am going to bet on sports next season and put my money where my mouth is on Arsenal fixtures.
So would Sanogo improve the squad that much I’ll be rolling in it by betting on Arsenal? Probably not but that is working on the assumption that he is going to be our only signing, a mistake many seem to have made.
— Daniel Arsenal Cowan (@thedanielcowan) May 17, 2013
Arsenal are going to have a pretty big clear out this summer so it makes perfect sense to supplement the squad we are keeping, and experienced players we will buy, with quality young players. And he’s on a free transfer to boot so what’s the big deal? I don’t like the term deadwood so I won’t say we will be getting rid of any but I do think we are going to massively streamline. What remains of the squad, minus new signings, will be our very best players or players who offer a lot to the team.
Also, as my twitter buddy Christopher Flanagan said:
Also, you can’t lambast Wenger for missing out on Lukaku or Benteke and then castigate him for signing Sanogo. That’s perverse.
— Christopher Flanagan (@Flannyballs) May 17, 2013
I see people complaining about not having Benteke or Lukaku all the time. Unproven young physical strikers from so-called lesser leagues. *Ahem*Sanogo*ahem*. Sanogo isn’t the summer signing, he is mostly likely just the first summer signing. A common complaint this season is that we have no-one to back-up Giroud, assuming Sanogo signs, now we do. We want competition for places and in more that one way. We want competition from a range of styles and we want competition from similar styles too.
Say we bought Rooney, not everyone’s cup of tea but he’s a striker so I’m using him for comparison. Rooney would be competition for Giroud (or the other way round) in a one striker system and Wenger would rotate them based on a combination of opposition and form. Let’s now say that there is a game that Giroud has been earmarked for because of his style but he has become too comfortable or isn’t pushing himself because he knows he is a shoe-in for these matches. What then? Do we persist with a player who is off-colour or do we change our game plan and play Rooney?
Or do we go with option C which is to play Sanogo? His style matches Giroud’s closer than Rooney’s so we wouldn’t need to adjust our tactics too much and if Yaya performs he gets a run and Giroud will have to perform even better to win his spot back. Who wins? Arsenal wins because it doesn’t matter who plays as long as we are winning right?
In this scenario we now have real competition. Rooney and Giroud are fighting it out to play the majority of games and Sanogo is putting pressure on them both as the young buck wanting to prove himself. Complaining about Wenger making such a signing when the 1st of September is so far off is just lazy and pointless criticism. As Darren said on Twitter:
People use every stick to bash the manager on every chance they get, be critical but at least be consistent. — Darren(@DarrenArsenal1) May 17, 2013
We didn’t buy Lukaku, Ronaldo, Benteke et al at young age, and people moaned, we do sign “young opportunity buys” people moan. Be consistent — Darren(@DarrenArsenal1) May 17, 2013
Laurent Konsielny (Dave) was from Ligue 2 from Lorient, don’t see too many people moaning about him now,turned into a stand out signing.
— Darren(@DarrenArsenal1) May 17, 2013
People moaned when United “beat” us to the signing of Zaha and I wonder what level of football he plays at?
Signing a young prospect doesn’t mean we are forgoing the opportunity to sign experienced players. It means exactly what it means; we are signing a young prospect. Nothing more to it. We sign young players all the time and it’s never stopped us from signing experienced players. In fact this signing in some ways reminds me of the signing of Van Persie. Not in the sense that we’ve bought a young player who may spend most of his time at the club on the treatment table only to then force a move to another club. But in the sense that Robin was 20 years old and plying his trade in a “poorer” league and he was signed to complement a team of experienced players.
What we have now overall is a team of experience. Players like Wilshere, Szczesny Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey have a few years in the Premier League and the Champions League under their belt despite being young and players like Gibbs and Walcott have been in the side/squad for 5-6 years despite being under 24 and the rest of the team are 25-32 year old players; experienced players. The balance is good so adding a young prospect like Sanogo makes perfect sense and echoes the signing of Van Persie.
If Sanogo turns out to be our only summer signing then we should rightly kick up a stink because it’s not like we’re short of a few bob at Arsenal but the transfer window isn’t open until Monday so there is literally nothing to be gained from complaining about what is currently a potential signing.
Come September 1st I’m reasonably confident we will all be celebrating the excellent business the club has done over the summer and we’ll look back on Sanogo and say “And we got that French kid Sanogo, he looks a quality prospect”.
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