After Arsenal’s Champions League Last 16 elimination at the hands of AS Monaco, questions are once again being asked about Arsene Wenger.
The coach is often criticised so fiercely because he achieved so much in the past at Arsenal, and it’s easy, when things aren’t going well, to recall the golden years of the manager’s early reign.
African Imports Key to Wenger’s Glory Years
The most successful period of Wenger’s time in North London was between 1998-2005, One major component of Wenger’s success during these years was his African imports.
Even before he came to North London, he had a penchant for players from the African continent. He nurtured and developed Victor Ikpeba at Monaco despite the Nigerian having a difficult start to life at the club,
Ikpeba scored 13 league goals to help Monaco win the French title.
In 1999, after just 12 games and one goal for Inter Milan, Wenger struck gold by signing lanky Nigerian international Nwankwo Kanu who had just recovered from a life-threatening heart condition.
The rest is history,
30 goals in 119 appearances doesn’t tell the whole story; Kanu scored important goals for Arsenal and rose up to the occasion when it mattered most. A memorable hat trick in a 3-2 comeback win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge remains the highlight of them all.
Kanu | Enjoyed perhaps his finest years at Highbury