As most of us are aware our long serving right back is out of contract this summer. Many rumours are circulating about how the situation currently stands between Sagna and the club and as with most football situations played out in the media some reports will be close to the mark and some will be pure fiction.
Sagna has been an excellent servant at this club and has been considered, during certain periods of his time with us, as the best right back in the premier league. His recent performance against Sunderland was amongst one of his best and as a result I noticed that there was a strong feeling of “get him signed up again” as a result of this performance. Memories in football can short though both on the good points and the not so good, and it was not so long ago that he was having a poor spell leading many to comment (hands up, myself included) that his legs had gone, that he had sustained one injury too many.
Behind Sagna we have the rawer less experienced corporal Jenks and the even rawer and less experienced Hector Bellerin. Jenkinson we have all seen more of and have a better idea with. My view is that when he plays his inexperience shows through at times and mistakes can be made. Conversely I have seen some fine performances from him, not least in the away leg against Bayern last year where he managed to shackle Bayern’s dangerous wide players, which few are able to do. Does he just need to play more regularly? Bellerin I must confess to not having seen. I actually don’t believe I have seen any action or footage on him so the feed-back of any of you who have would be much appreciated.
Back to Sagna and one report that I believe to be true is that Arsene wants him to stay and that the club are trying to get him to re-sign. Reading between the lines I feel Arsene may perceive the two younger back up players as not being quite ready to assume that role permanently and wants Sagna for a bit longer while they mature more. Assuming the likelihood that the club have already made him an offer I would conclude that it does not meet his expectations at this stage, or else we would be hearing about how he has signed on with us again or is about to imminently. There have been a couple of media headlines insisting that Sagna’s camp would like Arsenal to “start getting real” with the type of contract they are offering. Can it be confirmed that anything like that has actually been said? I don’t know.
When an important player is in this situation the game is very often played out in a smoke and mirrors type way. You rarely hear the player say anything in a direct interview that is there for all to see. What tends to happen is that the agent drops little double edged remarks out into the public domain or we get this often reported but vague reference to “someone close to the player”. Everything is obviously designed to gain the player the upper hand and as a result the best deal they can get, and to alert other suitors who can then come in with their offers which often put the current club over a barrel. It is a game of poker and I believe we are currently in the middle of a high stake hand with our long serving right back’s representative’s.
There have been further reports in the last 48 hours where they state the mythical “someone close to the player” has revealed his new contract demands”. It is very difficult to know whether these reports are close to the mark but they seemed to range from him expecting a signing on fee in the region of £6m and a 3-4 year contract of between £100-£115kpw. If he is looking at anything close to this I would personally feel those demands are somewhat excessive for a player of his age. Do we really know if the Sunderland performance is something that will be repeated on a regular basis in the next 3 years, or will time take its toll and there are more lengthy lay-offs around the corner and more periods of poorer form?
There is a very real prospect that we may part ways with our erstwhile right back at the end of the season, whether we want it or not, so I would like to throw the subject out there for debate to get your feelings on it. As a pointer you could maybe base your views around some key questions :
1 Do you ideally want Sagna to stay?
2 Should we re-sign him at all costs or is there a line we should not cross?
3 If he does leave do we have the required replacement in either Jenkinson or Bellerin or do we need to bring someone in?
4 If we are bringing someone who is your preferred choice and why?
Written by GoonerB