Yaya Sanogo has hit back at his critics, and has told them that he is determined to make a success of his time at Arsenal.
The France Under-21 international was a relative unknown when Arsene Wenger signed him in the summer of 2013, after a season in which the striker scored 10 goals in 13 Ligue 2 matches for Auxerre. Sanogo went on to make 14 appearances in all competitions during his debut campaign, yet failed to register his first goal for the club.
The 21-year-old showed great promise in pre-season when he scored four times in the 5-1 friendly win over Benfica, but he is still waiting to score his first competitive goal having drawn blanks in the 3-0 FA Community Shield win over Manchester City and the Premier League matches against Crystal Palace and at Leicester City.
This has led to many pundits claiming Sanogo isn’t up to the standards required at Arsenal, or at least not quite yet. However, the 6ft 4in frontman has hit back at his doubters, and asked them to consider all the facts before they judge him, whilst also expressing his opinion that once he gets off the mark, the goals will soon flow.
“Football is the football, but it takes time to adapt,” Sanogo told L’Equipe. “I needed six months to adapt. I’ve had quite a lot of problems. I arrived on one leg. It’s been difficult to adapt to the league. There’s a lack of confidence, perhaps a bit of pressure too. You’re 21 and you play up front for Arsenal, it’s not easy.
“When you come out of Ligue 2 and you end up in a duel with Vincent Kompany, it is not an easy task. On all aspects I’ve evolved. When you train with great players every day, you progress. When you play big teams, it helps gain experience. The fans know that I’ve scored a lot of goals at youth level, they’re putting me under a little bit of pressure.
“Once I’ve scored my first goal, everything will be fine. It’s their problem if they criticise me. I’ll still be here. I’m going to play, improve and score goals. Sooner or later, it’s going to go in. At 21, it’s not easy to play as a striker at Arsenal. You have to fight every day to prove your worth. But Wenger just pushes me to continue and my work will pay off.”
Sanogo would have been set for a run in the first team due to Olivier Giroud’s injury, but the deadline-day signing of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United is likely to see him take a back seat. However, the Frenchman added: “He (Welbeck) is going to have to battle for his place in the side. Last season, I didn’t doubt myself. I was more afraid of getting injured. If the coach brought me in, it’s because he has faith in me.”
Have the critics been too harsh on Sanogo or, given time, can he be a star for Arsenal? Have your say on the young striker by joining in the discussion below.