Arsene Wenger @20: African players had massive impact on my career

The Gunners manager has looked back over an illustrious 20 years of working with players from the continent and how they have impacted on his job

Where would Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s career be without many African players who thrived under his watch?

Celebrating 20 years in charge of the Gunners this week, Wenger paid tribute to the array of African stars that made and continue to make his time in north London an interesting one.

One of the players with the biggest impact early on was Nwankwo Kanu, the Nigerian became the first African to play for Arsenal and he went on to make a name for himself as well as helping to grow the club’s popularity back home.

“African players had a massive impact on my career because I always managed them right from the moment I started in the top league in France,” Wenger was quoted by the club’s website.

“I had African players at Monaco and I like the fact that they were creative and they are usually attacking players with imagination. They have pace and power as well, and they usually combine strength and agility well. That’s very difficult to find.


“Africans are hugely passionate people and there is a big passion in Africa for the game. They are happy on the football pitch and that’s something which has been fantastic for us.

“Kanu had a massive impact here, Kolo Toure too, I had George Weah too… so all these players had a massive impact.”

Kanu went on to win his second African Footballer of the Year prize in 1999 before he was followed on the podium by Emmanuel Adebayor who won the title based on his performance at the club in 2008.

Christopher Wreh, Lauren, Alexander Song, Emmanuel Eboue, Marouane Chamakh and Emmanuel Frimpong are some of the other players that have played with the French coach.

Alex Iwobi and Mohamed El Nenny are the two key African players in the Arsenal squad at the moment.


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