Arsene Wenger is known for his frugal nature, and the Frenchman is constantly on the lookout for hidden gems. And despite our newfound financial clout, the manager insists that he still enjoys unearthing unknown players and watching them blossom.
Laurent Koscielny is one such player, and although he may have been a relatively late bloomer in the French leagues, he has quickly become one of the best centre-backs in the English top flight.
Wenger knows just how superb Koscielny has been since arriving at the Emirates, and heaped praise on his compatriot in our official matchday programme ahead of our Premier League clash with Swansea this Monday evening.
“He had a lack of experience when he came here,” Wenger said, as quoted by Arsenal’s official website.
“When I watched him, I saw the potential but he had a lack of experience, and with that he had a bit of a lack of confidence as well.
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“Now he’s getting stature. He has pace, technique, understanding of the game and intelligence, as well as the needed confidence to play.”
The modern scouting system has made it almost impossible to find unknown players, as all the talented stars are immediately thrust under the media spotlight as soon as they do anything of note.
Wenger is right when he says finding relative unknowns makes it that much more satisfying when they succeed, and the nominal transfer fees are obviously a bonus as well.
“It’s really satisfying to see him fulfil his potential because he’s a player I bought from Lorient. When you listen to people, you always get names that everybody knows,” he continued.
“Sometimes it’s rewarding to find people who have the quality to play for our club but are not necessarily the names that everybody else is after.
“He really has the level and it’s important as well that these players get the chance to play for us.
“When you make a successful buy you are always happy, because you think you have done something well for the club and that’s what you want to do.”
Le Prof has shown in recent seasons that he isn’t afraid to splash the cash when necessary, with the blockbuster signings of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez indicating we have entered a new era.
He is unlikely to give up the hunt for talented, unknown, young stars though, as he clearly enjoys moulding players to fit his philosophy and nurturing their potential.