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Wenger's 'excellent' ace in Arsenal’s 5 worst Frenchmen as £40m ace eyed

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Arsenal are potentially interested in signing Corentin Tolisso as he will leave Bayern Munich as a free agent this summer, and would hope he proves far better than these past Frenchman.

Several stars from France have adorned the Gunners jersey over the years, with only those from Scotland making more appearances for non-English nationals. A total of 31 Frenchmen have played for Arsenal, and combine for the most appearances by non-English players at 4,230.

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Patrick Vieira tops the chart for Frenchman to feature for Arsenal with 395 games during his nine years in north London. Fellow icon Thierry Henry, who is also the Gunners’ all-time top-scorer with 228 goals, follows with 375 appearances, ahead of Laurent Koscielny with 353.

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Arsenal are potentially interested in Corentin Tolisso ahead of Bayern Munich exit

Tolisso could soon join the list of Frenchman to play for Arsenal with 90min suggesting Mikel Arteta is interested in Bayern Munich’s exit-bound star. They cite the Emirates Stadium as a possible landing spot for the midfielder, who Der FCB have announced will leave the club on June 30.

Bayern have opted to let Tolisso leave the Allianz Arena when his contract expires at the end of the month. He has spent the last five seasons with the Bundesliga giants after joining from Lyon in what was a German top-flight record €47.5m (£40.5m) transfer under Carlo Ancelotti.

The Italian considered him a dream signing for his all-round abilities in the engine room, but injuries have thwarted Tolisso’s time in Bavaria. The 27-year-old has frequently spent time in the treatment room, with his string of issues holding the midfielder to just 118 appearances.

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Tolisso additionally only managed to make 22 appearances this season and also started just 12 times under Julian Nagelsmann. But the 28-cap international will now leave Munich with five Bundesliga winners’ medals, plus the 2019/20 Champions League and two DFB-Pokals.

North London could soon appear on the horizon for the Tarare-born technician with 90min suggesting Arsenal are interested in Tolisso. They also cite Manchester United as a potential destination, with Erik Ten Hag set to target central reinforcements this summer, like Arteta.

Tolisso’s history for injuries could prove concerning for some at Arsenal should Arteta show interest in Bayern Munich’s exit-bound star. So, with that in mind, who have been the worst Frenchman to feature for the Gunners on the number of games they managed previously…

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Arsenal will hope Tolisso is no Grondin repeat if Arteta is interested in free transfer

Arsenal will hope Tolisso does not prove to be a repeat of David Grondin should Arteta show interest in the midfielder. The Gunners signed Grondin from Saint-Etienne in 1998 for £500k at 18-years-old, but the left-back only managed four appearances before returning to France.

Arsene Wenger had high hopes for what Grondin could potentially achieve at Highbury as a future first-team regular. Yet his debut campaign failed to inspire much belief, and preceded loan transfers to Saint-Etienne, Cannes and KSK Beveren before joining Dunfermline in 2003.

Grondin had some key chances to show Wenger and Arsenal he could one day have a future in north London. Wenger followed the defender’s debut with an EFL Cup tie against Chelsea, a Champions League meeting with Panathinaikos and a Premier League clash with Liverpool.

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Reine-Adelaide failed to fulfil potential in north London before France return

Jeff Reine-Adelaide joined Arsenal in 2015 after showing promising potential at youth level for RC Lens. The Gunners agreed a deal worth €4m (£3.5m) for the midfielder, who had not featured at senior level, at 17. But his three years in England only returned eight senior games.

All eight of his Gunners appearances additionally came in FA and EFL Cup ties, while starting five times. Reine-Adelaide ultimately left the Emirates Stadium in 2018 to join Angers after a short-term loan move. Yet one year later, he was one the move again, this time joining Lyon.

His displayers for Angers saw Lyon pay out £23m for a 21-year-old in 2019, of which Arsenal received £5m through a sell-on clause. He has since made 34 outings with Les Gones for two goals and four assists. But a cruciate ligament injury in December 2019 kept him out until 2022.

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Tolisso will hope he is no Diarra mark two if Arsenal show interest ahead of Bayern exit

Tolisso may see more similarities between his situation ahead of leaving Bayern Munich and that of Lassana Diarra when his compatriot joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2007. Wenger did a deal for the 22-year-old on deadline day in August 2007, but Diarra only stayed for four months.

Diarra departed north London for Portsmouth in January 2008, with The Guardian noting at the time that he had sought a transfer after quickly becoming disillusioned at Highbury. He had failed to lock down a regular starting role under Wenger with just 12 appearances in total.

The midfielder additionally only started eight games with the Gunners, before winning the 2008 FA Cup with Pompey. His efforts at Fratton Park then led Diarra to Real Madrid to 2012 and joining Anzhi Makhachkala before Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain.

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Arsenal saw Sanogo score once despite Wenger hailing ‘excellent’ striker

Arsenal saw Yaya Sanogo score just once during the striker’s four years on the books at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger added the forward from Auxerre in 2013, but seldom utilised the Diplomates product around loans to Crystal Palace, Ajax and Charlton before joining Toulouse.

Sanogo would also only manage 20 appearances with the Gunners and enjoyed 14 of those outings during his debut season. He additionally made his first start in February 2014 against Liverpool in the FA Cup having been sidelined from August through injury, and impressed Wenger.

“For a first performance, he was excellent,” Wenger said, via quotes by The Sport Review. “He was always in the game, he was a handle for them. It’s his first official game basically, he played one game in the reserves for 60 minutes. Considering the intensity of the game, he was absolutely excellent.”

Sanogo went on to start in the FA Cup against Everton in the quarter-final and Wigan in the semi-final in 2014. But Wenger dropped the Frenchman to the bench for the final with Hull, before introducing Sanogo as his first of three substitutions while 2-1 behind in the 3-2 win.

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Injuries scuppered Debuchy’s chance to have Arsenal career after Newcastle transfer

Wenger raided Newcastle in August 2014 to sign Mathieu Debuchy for £12m after Bacary Sagna joined Manchester City for free. The right-back would, however, require surgery for an ankle injury that September before then dislocating his shoulder the following January.

Debuchy would feature in just 15 games during his debut season in north London due to his injury troubles. And those outings would ultimately account for half of his total 30 across all competitions before departing the Emirates in January 2018 after terminating his contract.

Arsenal allowed Debuchy to leave for free mid-season having only featured in three Premier League games beyond the 2014/15 term. He played just twice in his second season for 144 minutes, once in year three for just 16 minutes and failed to play a single minute in 2017/18.

Tolisso has proven with Bayern Munich – like Debuchy had with Newcastle – that he would have something to offer Arsenal if Arteta is interested in a free transfer. But his record with injuries in Bavaria may create uncomfortable echoes to his compatriots’ troubles at the club.

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