Whilst Arsenal fans await the ‘£70 million’ worth of big-names incoming this summer, Arsene Wenger has been cherry-picking on the cheap in his homeland once again.
The Frenchman has built a reputation on securing the services of the finest young talent that his native France has to offer and it seems this transfer window will be no exception to the rule.
According to a swathe of reports, the Gunners are on the brink of signing Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer and Lyon maestro Clement Grenier for £8 million.
The pair look increasingly likely to follow the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka, Sylvain Wiltord, Mattheu Flamini, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Laurent Koscielny, and Abou Diaby to North London where they hope to make their own names just as prominent as their predecessors.
Whilst Gunners fans await the unveiling of big names like Stevan Jovetic or David Villa, they’ll do well to remind themselves who their manager is – the majority of the aforementioned Arsenal stars arrived as virtual unknowns for relatively small fees and, at 63 years of age, it’s unlikely Wenger will change his habits now.
Grenier is hailed as the ‘next Samir Nasri’ and Sanogo has the potential to become the ‘next Theirry Henry’ – they both need time to develop, of course, but if Wenger’s track-record is anything to go by, they will have the ideal environment to do that at Arsenal.
This season has been a turbulent one for the Arsenal manager and his former faithful following. Sections of the fan base have appeared to become disillusioned with the club’s and the manager’s transfer policy, on which the club’s ethos is based.
Now, armed with his ‘£70 million war chest’ the manager is under pressure to spend big. But I wouldn’t expect the infamously frugal Frenchman to change his spots now.
The old adage ‘Wenger knows’, however, remains true – assuming both deals go through with these youngsters, the Gunners will have a pair of future stars added to their armory. They might not be the big names Gooners desperately crave but they could very well end up being as big as some of their elder countrymen – these things take time.
Arsenal’s philosophy under Wenger can be summarized by the banner that perpetually reads at the Emirates: ‘We don’t buy stars, we make them.’ Few had heard of Henry, Vieira, Anelka, Pires or Nasri when they signed. Sanogo and Grenier may arrive as virtual unknowns in England but they may well make their names at the Emirates.
image: © dyobmit