Arsenal find Anelka replacement in Yaya Sanogo

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Football News

Arsene Wenger believes that he could have found the new Nicholas Anelka - 15 years after he left the club - in new striker Yaya Sanogo.

The Arsenal manager shocked a few people by starting the 21-year-old in the crucial first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against holders Bayern Munich earlier in the week.

Following a summer move from Auxerre, the Frenchman had only featured in one Premier League game for the Gunners before being thrown in the deep end against the German giants.

Arsenal lost the tie 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium, but Sanogo impressed his boss who had no qualms about testing the youngster.

Wenger likened Sanogo's impact to Anelka's: "When I started to play Anelka, everybody said: 'Why are you starting with Anelka, why not buy a striker?'

"We won a championship with him. If we feel they are ready, then they play.

"There's a potential there. Sanogo is world champion of the Under-20s, if he was an English centre-forward and was world champion of the Under-20s, you would not ask me these questions. It's as simple as that.

"We look at the quality of the performance of the player, not at the number of minutes he's played.

"If you only looked at that, nobody would ever get a chance. And up front, it's not the experience that decides.

"I have to make my decisions with my conscience and I base it on who can help us win the next game. He did not look out of place in the two games he played."

Anelka joined Arsenal as a 17-year-old back in 1997 and went on to make 65 league appearances, winning the Premier League and FA Cup, before being sold to Paris Saint-Germain for over £20 million. 

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