Wenger convinced France U21 star to join Arsenal

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France under-21 international Yaya Sanogo has revealed Arsene Wenger persuaded him to move to the Gunners ahead of interest from elsewhere, according to

The former-Auxerre striker has rejected a new deal with the French club, and is expected to join Arsenal later this summer.

And Sanogo has admitted a meeting with the Gunners manager was key to his decision to move to the Emirates Stadium.

"Rudi Garcia [then Lille manager] called me many times and it made me hesitate a lot," Sanogo told France Football.

"He [Gilles Grimandi] had been to see me many times at Auxerre. And then, one day, we met in Paris at a hotel.

"I was very impressed. Monsieur Wenger had come to see me directly in Paris. He told me that I would have my chance and reassured me about my injury.

"He said he had followed me for many seasons. It was this trip that was decisive in my decision. I opted for Arsenal."

The 20-year-old striker has struggled with long-term injury problems in recent seasons, spending 18 months on the sidelines with a broken leg.

And he also revealed the strong French contingent in the Arsenal dressing room helped convince him that the north London club was the right choice for him.

"I was told it was a very good club for me [by Diaby, Coquelin and Sagna]. Many of the guys said I was too young. But I left them to speak.

"I am 20, I had not played for a year and a half, I had scored some goals and Arsenal had contacted me. Could I really say no? I don't believe so. It will be a magnificent adventure."

Sanogo will compete for first-team minutes with fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud, Germany international Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott.

Arsenal have also been linked with a big-money move for a new striker. Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain is thought to be the main target for Arsene Wenger, with reports suggesting a deal is close.

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