Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna’s return from injury hasn’t helped much so far in improving the team’s quite frankly woeful defensive performances of late, but with reports linking the player with a move away in the future, how much truth is there to be found in digging a little deeper?
The latest rumour doings the rounds about the 29-year-old French international is that in the wake of Robin van Persie’s departure in the summer, and after Thomas Vermaelen was approached to be the club’s new captain, that Sagna was asked by Arsene Wenger to step into the role of vice-captain but turned the position down.
This of course led to Mikel Arteta stepping into the role after growing increasingly influential out on the pitch and in the dressing room over the course of the last year or so, but that Sagna preferred to stay as one of the rank-and-file is a troubling thought. Wenger targeted Sagna because aside from Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou, he’s the club’s longest serving player having joined back in 2007 from Auxerre.
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Moreover, that is not the only rumour doing the rounds with concerns to the player, and given that his contract expires at the end of the next Premier League season, he is thought to be eyeing a new deal and a wage increase on his current £60,000 per week. Sagna will be 30 in February and Arsenal have a well-worn tradition of only handing one-year contracts to players over that age and the likelihood of an improved deal is short, so another long-standing contractual feud looks possible.
However, much of the basis of the thinking behind the belief that Sagna may be the next player heading for the exit door comes from his somewhat surprising yet wholly negative remarks about the club’s transfer business in the summer
“Everyone was expecting Robin van Persie to leave, but Alex Song — that was a surprise. I don’t understand that at all,” the Gunners right back said.
“It is a big loss for the club. When you see two of the best players from last season leave, you ask a lot of questions. I understand why the supporters are nervous. I am the only starting player left from 2007.”
Since returning from a broken leg over the course of the past few weeks, Sagna has taken his place in the starting eleven back four, ushering deputy Carl Jenkinson back onto the bench. A lot as been made of Jenkinson’s form so far this season, far too much if you ask me, but there’s certainly been a noticeable improvement.
Nevertheless, the idea that Wenger would consider selling Sagna simply because he has an able back-up in Jenkinson doesn’t make all that much sense. The aim is to improve the depth of your squad and increase competition for places so just because you have two players capable enough of playing every week in the same position, that doesn’t then automatically mean you will sell one.
Jenkinson is still just 20 years of age and despite his development, is still raw and rough around the edges, and while Wenger leaves himself open to such thinking given his over-reliance on youth in the past, I just can’t see them allowing Sagna to leave any time soon. The constant chopping and changing is doing more harm than good at the club and a period of stability, particularly at the back, is required.
It appears as if the ground is being prepped for Sagna to leave and the various stories floating out there about him are spurious at best. They look as if they are running out of saleable assets and Sagna remains an attractive proposition, so rumours will inevitably be fabricated out of thin air entirely on the basis of his disgruntled summer comments. Arsenal seem to lurch from one crisis to another of late, but they’ve got some real battles to fight over the coming months and they simply don’t have time for the cosmetic ones.
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