Yaya Sanogo has been speaking to France Football about why Arsene Wenger liked him enough to bring him to Arsenal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Lukas Podolski (L) of Arsenal celebrates with team mate Yaya Sanogo after scoring during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2014, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Lukas Podolski (L) of Arsenal celebrates with team mate Yaya Sanogo after scoring during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2014, in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Now 26, Yaya Sanogo arrived at Arsenal in 2013 on a free transfer.

He played just 20 times for Arsenal, scoring one official goal (although he had a few incorrectly ruled out), but he is mostly remembered for being injured all the time and for being unable to control his legs when fit.

Now with Toulouse, where he has 15 goals and four assists in 64 games, he recently spoke about joining Arsenal.

Toulouse's French forward Yaya Sanogo scores a goal during the French L1 football match Toulouse against Strasbourg on March 17, 2018 at the Municipal Stadium in Toulouse, southern France. / AFP PHOTO / Pascal PAVANI
Toulouse’s French forward Yaya Sanogo scores a goal during the French L1 football match Toulouse against Strasbourg on March 17, 2018 at the Municipal Stadium in Toulouse, southern France.
/ AFP PHOTO / Pascal PAVANI

“Everything went very quickly, in terms of what happened and my big injury,” he said. “I had a meeting with the boss (Arsène Wenger), who came to see me after matches against Laval and Tours. And, in what he was saying to me, how he spoke to me, it resonated with me.

“I knew that I would be going from Ligue 2 to the Premier League and be out injured for a year. In that sense, things were going fast. You are skipping some steps. But, if you had been in my shoes, would you have decided differently?

“I asked myself a lot of questions. But I said to myself: “Listen, here, the boss has come to see you. He has even called you. You are at Auxerre, in your zone, he wants to see you and he is interested.” I weighed up the pros and cons. But there, I thought: “There, the interest, it is clear.”

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 04: Yaya Sanogo of Ajax in action during the third qualifying round 2nd leg UEFA Champions League match between Ajax Amsterdam and SK Rapid Vienna held at Amsterdam ArenA on August 4, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – AUGUST 04: Yaya Sanogo of Ajax in action during the third qualifying round 2nd leg UEFA Champions League match between Ajax Amsterdam and SK Rapid Vienna held at Amsterdam ArenA on August 4, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“He said to me: “Listen, I am not going to say that you will start for us. You have lots to work on, but the type of player you are pleases me. We know your situation. You are a free agent. If you work hard, me, I give youth a chance. You could play. And with your work, you are going to see that you are going to develop in a lot of aspects.”

“There, he said all that to me. What he was saying was persuasive. Other clubs were interested. There was Lille, with Rudi Garcia, who wanted to build a very young squad. But when I met the boss, my choice was Arsenal. I said to myself: “Ok, you are skipping steps, but you’ve got to go for it.”

“He (Wenger) impacted my life in every way. To do what he did at Arsenal… stay 20 years… and how he moulds players. He does not put too much pressure on young players, but when he speaks to you, he shows you at first respect, but you have to listen very closely to what he says, because he does not speak often.

“In very few words, you feel his utter and complete knowledge of football. Complete, complete, complete.

“There is nothing more to say. I admire him.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Yaya Sanogo of Charlton Athletic wins a header during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Charlton Athletic at Loftus Road on April 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 09: Yaya Sanogo of Charlton Athletic wins a header during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Charlton Athletic at Loftus Road on April 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)

As we struggle through the Unai Emery years, you can’t help but wonder how many players would find words like this to say about him.

Not many, would be my guess.

Anyway, Arsenal sent Sanogo on three loans during his time as an Arsenal player, featuring for Crystal Palace, Ajax and Charlton where he had is best spell, scoring three goal in eight games.

He was a gamble that seemed worth taking at the time, young, free and full of raw talent. Unfortunately, he had a body that was determined not to heal itself until he left Arsenal with even his teeth causing him to miss games for the Gunners.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.