I am sure that lots of Arsenal fans tuned in to watch the new signing Yaya Sanogo play for France last night in the under 20s World Cup game against the hosts Turkey. I don’t know about anybody else, but I wasn’t exactly blown away by the 20-year old striker, even though he did score a goal as France won 4-1 and went into the quarter-finals.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to see an accomplished and finished article, because Arsenal would not have been able to sign him on a free transfer with no competition if he had been setting the world alight. One of the commentators said last night that Arsene Wenger likes a project, and that pretty much hits the nail right on the head.
Sanogo is a rough diamond that needs a lot of polishing. But, he also has the attributes to be a very expensive and sought after diamond if Wenger can work his magic. We should remember that Sanogo has already had to miss quite a bit of his progression due to injury, and he played last season in the French second division. Having said that, he showed last night that he has pace, power and can finish. At times he showed a delicate touch and awareness of the players around him, but not often enough.
He needs work, basically, but he is coming to the right club to improve. The cool way he took his goal was very encouraging, and that makes three from four games in the tournament. We will get at least one more chance to watch him at the weekend in the quarter-finals. If France get through that, they will have two more games, so hopefully they will. Just don’t expect him to be like Thierry Henry just yet.