What does Wenger’s reported interest in PSG youngster suggest?

Arsene Wenger at Training - 18/02/2014

Arsenal have reportedly launched a bid to sign Paris Saint-Germain youngster Kingsley Coman after the 17-year-old rejected a new deal in the French capital.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been a long-standing champion of French youth talent during his 18 years with the North London club. Players past and present, such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo, were offered the chance to make their names with the Gunners.

The next in line could be Kingsley Coman, who is reportedly the subject of a £1 million bid from Arsenal. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has represented France at U21 level and broke into the Ligue 1 champions’ first team last season.

So far he has made just three appearances for PSG, who have an abundance of top talent in his position blocking his path to the starting line-up, but much the same can be said for Arsenal, where the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain compete for places.

Should this deal to sign the youngster go ahead, then what would it reveal about Wenger’s transfer plans this summer? It surely states one thing loud and clear: the manager has not changed his philosophy of investing in youth, despite the newfound financial freedom he has this summer at the Emirates.

The signing of Sanogo last summer came as something of a surprise to Arsenal fans hoping that the club would recruit a top striker such as Gonzalo Higuain, but the manager stuck to his guns. What was ultimately more of a surprise was that the youngster managed to work his way into the starting lineup, against Liverpool and Bayern Munich no less.

While I suspect that this deal would not affect Wenger’s potential plans to bring in a top striker to compete with and cover for Olivier Giroud, the (reported) interest show that the Frenchman is, as ever, still looking towards the future of the club, after agreeing terms on a new contract for himself this year.

For better or for worse, it also suggests that old habits die hard and despite the financial resources Wenger has available to him, his tendency to bring in prospects for the future for small expenditure has not and is not going to change.

I would expect the boss will make one or maybe two ‘big’ signings this summer, but in terms of his preference for young up-and-coming prospects, nothing has changed. Wenger remains a strong advocate of young French talent.

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