Arsenal may have moved to sign Danny Welbeck on deadline day to reinforce a threadbare strikeforce, but Yaya Sanogo has offered a timely indication of his potential as a player of goalscoring prowess.
Sanogo was on target twice for France under-21s on Wednesday night in a convincing 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan, and was able to demonstrate that he was unaffected by the criticism he received for his performance in Arsenal colours against Leicester on Sunday.
The 21-year-old was lambasted on Twitter, so much so that he became a top trending topic, after he was unable to find the net at the King Power Stadium having been tasked to lead the Arsenal line after injury to Olivier Giroud.
It had appeared as though Arsene Wenger would not move to recruit cover for Giroud, who is out until the new year with a fractured tibia, and rather depend on Sanago and others already at his disposal to provide a goal threat.
However, Arsenal moved late to sign Welbeck from Manchester United - hardly a player renowned for his goals record, but one clearly superior to Sanogo. That is, of course, for the time being at least.
Lack of depth
Sanogo stunned Arsenal supporters, and probably himself, with a four-goal haul - his first strikes for the club - in the pre-season demolition of Benfica at the Emirates Cup, and the optimists may have seen it as a sign of something to come.
But in his appearances since, and most of those before, Sanogo looked far from a player capable of scoring goals at the top level, and merely served to highlight the lack of depth in Arsenal’s first-team squad.
Wenger, however, has faith in Sanogo who arrived at the Emirates Stadium from Auxerre in the summer transfer window of last year.
“Sanogo was injured for basically two years before he came to us. If you look at his goal scoring record before he got injured, it is quite frightening,” Wenger said after Sanogo’s quarter of goals against Benfica.
“For a while when he came back last season, he could not score. You could see when he scored the first goal today, suddenly they came raining. I especially liked the third goal he scored, it was really the goal of a striker of quality.
“He has a big future here, or course, he is 21. He has something of Adebayor. He is strong, a strong body, similar strengths [to Adebayor], but as well technical skill.”
While a comparison to Emmanuel Adebayor is hardly one to placate fans given their genuine hate for the now Tottenham striker, it would certainly be some feat if Sanogo can progress into a player of similar quality.
Adebayor managed 62 goals for the Gunners, with 30 of these coming in a single season, and was arguably the most formidable centre-forward in the Premier League at the peak of his powers.
Sanogo has some way to go before he can replicate form like that, and is unlikely to ever reach such heights, but in Wenger he is under the tutelage of one of the very best. In Arsene we trust, or so the Arsenal fans say, although their patience may wear thin with this particular player.
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