Arsenal like M’Baye Niang but face a battle to sign him

Jamie Sanderson July 19, 2012 News 26 Comments

Arsenal want to sign M’Baye Niang

He’s young, French and relatively unknown – if M’Baye Niang is not a classic Arsenal signing, he is at least a stereotypical one.

A 17-year-old striker from French minnows Caen, Niang has not only been talked about as a new Thierry Henry, but also a candidate to be the next iconic Les Bleus number nine.

They’re big predictions, for a big prospect. I first stumbled upon Niang midway through last year, when, as a burly 16-year-old, he played 7 times for the Caen first-team, and scored three goals. The club have produced the likes of William Gallas, Jérôme Rothen and Mathieu Bodmer in recent years, but Niang is something else.

He had offers to go last summer, but eventually stayed. A full season of first-team football was the reward, and while Niang played more games, he scored just twice, as Caen were relegated to Ligue 2.

It was quite an experience, but one that did little damage to his stock. Arsène Wenger was recommended Niang by France scout Gilles Grimandi last month, and soon used his vast contacts and influence to sort out a trial.

Niang returned to his homeland over the weekend, having left an impression.

He badly lacked fitness, but Wenger was impressed with his attitude and application, and earlier this week, a bid worth up to £5 million was lodged with Caen. It was rushed, as news spread that the player was available for trial. Manchester City, Tottenham and now AC Milan have all made enquiries over a deal.

Caen have since turned down Arsenal’s bid for Niang, and they are yet to return with a second offer. Arsenal like the player, and believe in his potential, but don’t want to spend a fortune on somebody they believe will require a lot of work to be ready for the first-team.

Niang is tall, strong and powerful, and be adapted into pretty much any type of striker. A target man, a poacher – even a number 10, but question marks over his concentration and finishing still need to be answered.

I covered Niang in The Independent in November, and believe he would be a sound acquisition for Arsenal. The question is, will Wenger go against the betting and stump up extra for the player, or risk losing him to a top four rival? The ball is in his court.



    Great work as usual from YongGuns, keep up the good work.

  • Bollocks to him!
    We need players that will deliver NOW!
    It’s well known that players use us as a stepping stone, if he were to move here, the minute he starts banging them in – Man City/Madrid will come in with a huge bid and he’ll be off.

    • And the club will make a profit. I see no problem there.

    • It’s about winning. It’s not about profits. If AFC want players to stay, AFC need to win. Plain and simple. Truth is, players like RVP, Cesc, and Nasri were not good enough to win. If they had played better or not been injured, we would have won trophies.

      Sooner AFC buys some winners, the sooner AFC will be winning.

    • Pazma, you have no problem with that?? So you have no problem with us being a stepping stone for players so that once they start fulfilling their potenital they leave but that’s okay just becuase we made a profit. A profit that we never use to reinvest into top class players.. I got a massive problem with that!

    • G star, what’s your solution then? Arsenal offers a massive 15-year deal to unproven youngsters to keep the players for life? The youngsters were stupid enough to sign very long contracts with low wages and basically give their lives to the club’s hands? The risk must be shared and therefore the contracts are rather short or medium term.

      It’s time to use brains and watch the NHL ice-hockey contracts and the situation with Roberto Luongo, Rick DiPietro, Chris Pronger, Tim Thomas etc.

  • Great article. Does Niang have much say in this process? Where would be his first choice?

    As a club known for developing and nuturing young talent, wouldn’t AFC be his first choice?

    So many of these young players that end up at CFC or MCFC never actually come through in the first team even after the club has stumped up a lot of money for them. (E.g. Lukaku)

  • Oh not that old chestnut! This, is, ‘Youngguns’ dont like it? go else where and see if you can loose your ignorance somewhere along the way!

    I for one would love for us to sign Niang, sounds like he wont fall into the Aliadiere and Sunu category, i hope so at least! the club needs a super exciting striker to accompany Afobe in trying to break into the squad! Campbell aside, i feel where lacking in that particular department.

  • Great to have you back Jamie.
    Follow you on Twitter as well.

  • It’s just a matter of time until city will sign him up.

  • Do we really need another hot prospecy? Afobe, Wellington, Campbell etc.

    • Wellington is hardly a striker and not even that much of a hot prospect any more. Campbell also is often played on the wings so another proper central striker would not be too much for the club.

    • Arsenal FC is a top 10 club in the world and the search for world class prospects continues every year. Every 16-year-old hot prospect will not develop into a world class footballer. If even one promoted home-grown youngster every year gets regular playing time in the first team, then the scouting network and Academy have been more than successful.

    • Take a look at Barcelona they have soo many good players who with development and first team action could be world class but half of them wont make it and move on with the hope of catching their eye again alla Cesc and Pique

  • great to see young guns back up and running. always one of the best sites on the web.

    re Niang, i hope we can sign him, and that we can do so soon. like the ox last year, its vital that we get him before he turns 18 and therefore will be classified as “home-grown” for continental purposes. i assume that’s why the his list of suitors is so long, and includes clubs where he would be buried behind 4 or 5 better players.

  • If caen has d interest of niang at alll they will take d offer n let d guy come to arsenal cus that is d best club at dis point of is life…any other will only end up turning him Into notin. Its gud to hv him bt at a reasonable price n for his age n experience campare to we really need nid now, 6mills or caen cn sell him to who ever they want, gud luck. Caen shld nt try any cheat blackmail by giving crab bout other club wnt him…they cn hv him.. Cus we r xtending a great favor to niang, at d end of d day he will end up leaving fpr money clubs after turning him into world best. Gunnerd 4life.

  • Niang, even now, is better than Chamakh, Park, & Bendtner.
    Buy him now, offer £7m, prevent seeing him bloom at City or Milan and watch him join Barcelona or Madrid for £45m in 4 years.

    • So, you put an unproven 17-year-old youngster ahead of very good experienced international strikers like Chamakh, Park and Bendtner? Jo, I just wonder how many matches you watch every week? The REAL football fans watch a minimum of 15-20 football matches from 5-6 countries around the world every week.

    • He wont or any young player wont bloom at Man City, their a buy a top name for stupid money and wages club not a development team. Which is a shame cause they had a great academy look what happened to Chelsea when the tiger tried to change its stripes and buy youth for reasonable money to develop behind the stars, they finished 8th in the league and luck was on their side to qualify for the CL this year. and now Chelsea are trying to buy every promising midfielder on the planet for huge sums of money.

  • Why do people see this as a negative. People that expect us to sign a Benzema, Villa or another big name player need to get real. This has never been Wengers way. This is how things are run at our club, fingers crossed one of Afobe, Joel Campbell or Niang fulfil their potential and become the new Henry. Either way whoever is a success will probably end up at Man City.

  • I have watched Niang in twenty-one full matches, and eight at junior level. My team in Holland see him at a similar level to Benik Afobe. Like him, he can play in the wide margins in a 4-3-3 or simply as the lead striker in the same formation. Also like Afobe, He is better, and preferes, the lead strike role.

    the question to ask is: will he stagnate Afobe?

    Thanks Guys.

    • Yes is the answer, because he would be brought in for a big fee and automatically be ahead of benik in the pecking order despite being younger. I would say that this is a crunch season for Afobe. If he goes on loan he needs to score a minimum of 15 goals, if he stays he needs to grab that right sided forward position from Walcott or the Ox. Not easy.

  • Very good comment by Scout Netherlands. With every new signing we also hinder the development of our home grown players. Yes the club can potentially make a profit in the future. But we again run the risk of loosing more reserve players on the cheap! Is the club wearing blinkers?

    • not necessarily. there’s also the possibility that added competition causes both to work harder and fulfil their potential in the way that has happened with our line of left backs in Cole Clichy and now gibbs

  • Many so-called “football fans” seem to be totally out of this world and lack realism. Some comments about Niang and Arsenal are the best examples.

    Arsenal FC is a top 10 football club in the world. That’s why there is demand and supply for the planet’s best hot prospects. Arsenal has a demand to find world class footballers and the best and the cheapest way is to recruit them as early as possible. The best youngsters on this planet want the best possible chance to be top professional footballers and therefore Arsenal is automatically an attractive solution and supply is higher than ever.

    Just like any other top club, Arsenal compares player’s potential, playing position, the squad competition and total financial package. The risk is calculated for many years ahead. Just like any investments, the playing staff must have high, medium and low risk players and the balance must be right. Too many high risk players could cause massive financial setbacks, too many low-risk players could cause lost opportunities in recruitment and the supply line to the first team could stop completely.

  • Its bizarre to say that this player will stand in Afobe’s way.

    Did Javier Hernandez stand in the way of Danny Wellbecks development? Of course not – Wellbeck was faced with the challenge of improving his game and his consistency – and he did it. Did Hernandez get in the way of Macheda’s development? Yes – because Macheda did not improve to get up to standards required.

    Arsenal is a big football club. We need Benik Afobe to play to his full potential. Yet, we also need affordable quality players who can complement the likes of Afobe. In a 4-3-3, there is plenty of room for attacking players who are multiskilled, like these guys in question here.

    With Niang I see him being played on the flanks of the 4-3-3, where his passing skillsa and vision can set up others. Afobe I see ending up in the centre as his best position. But I like that these players can do the job anywhere in attack. Thats what we need – not whiners iike Arshavin who complain about not being able to play the obsolete “#10″ stroller’s game.

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