On July 1st 2013, Arsenal announced the signing of France U-21 striker Yaya Sanogo from AJ Auxerre on a free signing.
The Ligue 2 striker was brought in as cover for Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski and would go on to be one of the most infamous strikers during Arsene Wenger’s final years as Arsenal manager.
The transfer, at the time, was criticised heavily by Arsenal fans after it was reported that Wenger had £100 million to spend on new signings, however at the start of the season, the Frenchman had only brought in Sanogo and former player Mathieu Flamini, also on a free transfer. Gooners would have to wait until deadline day for the club to sign a player for actual money as the north London club signed Mesut Ozil for a then-club record fee of £42 million.
@Arsenal The window is closing do it nos. Buy some players PLEASE!!!!
— Jacques Champsaur M. (@JacqChampsaur) August 29, 2013
@Arsenal feel for Sanogo. Not very good at all. Awful first touch, movement not great, no composure. Where are the signings!
— Simon Fung (@FungSoulbrother) August 29, 2013
@Arsenal working 24/7 on transfers yea?
— bergkampsa (@bergkampsa) August 29, 2013
Arsenal transfer dealings? It's a no go so far, and Sanogo so far too. #boomtish
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) August 29, 2013
Arsène Wenger: "The transfer window starts now".
Meanwhile, Arsenal football club investigated for signing Yaya Sanogo outside the window
— Asa Joseph (@asajoseph) August 22, 2013
can’t stop laughing at Arsenal knowing that Chelsea & Spurs are signing all these class players and then there’s Arsenal with Sanogo
— kieran sarsons (@kieransarsons) August 28, 2013
Roma confirm 30m sale of
Lamela to Tottenham
While Arsenal confirm Sanogo again
— WizMelavin (@Melavin) August 28, 2013
Despite early signs of promise, being nominated for the 2013 Golden Boy award and impressing against the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich, Sanogo would only ever go on to play 20 times for Arsenal, scoring one goal during that time against Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Sanogo’s biggest claim to fame as an Arsenal player was when the French youngster scored four goals against Benfica in an Emirates Cup game where the Gunners won 5-1, a performance still talked about today in the Gooner community.
Loan-spells at Crystal Palace, Ajax and Charlton proved unsuccessful for Sanogo, and in 2017 the Frenchman was released by Arsenal on a free transfer. The now 26-year-old striker now plays for Toulouse in Ligue 1 where the former France U-21 star has had reasonable success.
All in all, it’s fair to say that this deal went down as a bit of a disaster for the Gunners.
Arsenal fans – what are your memories of Sanogo? Let us know below!