It appears that another contract has managed to whittle down. However unlike the usual cheaper sale with 12 months to go, we face losing one of the worlds best right backs for free.
Now, for me, losing Sagna would be a huge blow to us. It's taken us a number of years to rebuild our defence and we've finally started to see some results. We've chopped and changed over the years trying to find the right combinations since The Invincibles:
Left Back : Cole>Clichy>Gibbs/Monreal
That makes Sagna the main stay of our defensive unit. So why risk a change?
I'm not going to be naive here, Sagna can test the market and he has the greatest tournament in the world to showcase his ability BUT Mathieu Debuchy currently occupies that slot. So Sagna could see himself parked on the bench quite a bit in Brazil. I have to admit I'm somewhat puzzled that Debuchy starts ahead of him. Some say the Newcastle man is better going forward but surely the better all round player is the man you select? Look at other Premier League sides though, City aside, they would all upgrade the right back position if they acquired Sagna. Then you consider the cash rich French clubs. They odds are stacked against us.
This is likely to be Sagna's final contract, so he's right to consider his options but are our own fictitious rules getting in the way again? If we offer him say a 3 or 4 year deal, the club does realise we can sell him on during that time? Right?
Sagna no doubt came to Arsenal to win honours and so far he has won absolutey nothing. So first of all, we've seen loyalty. Shall we reward him off the back of that alone, of course not.
He is however, absolutely fantastic in the air. He's magnificent. Often when we are forced to kick it long, it's generally in the direction of our number 3, as he always beats wingers in the air. It's also worth considering having aerial presence makes up for our lack of height at times as well.
His positional sense has really grown in recent years too. That's pivotal when we've had to adapt our back four to compensate for Mertesacker. The back four is perfectly balance and I love seeing Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker & Gibbs line up together. It's worth noting that back four didn't start in the two massive drubbings we've taken so far this season. If there's a weakness it's on the left because our wingers either tuck in too much or shun defensive responsibility.
Even going forward Sagna has improved. When Adebayor left Sagna's production fell away but he has put in some absolute worldies this season. It's definitely an aspect he has worked on and it's paying off. It's just a shame we lack clinical forwards.
Man on man - if it comes to individual battles who has his number? Nobody that I can recall since Victor Moses had him on toast nearly 2 years ago. It says a lot about opposition tactics focussing away from him. It's probably the biggest compliment you can a defender.
Well Sagna turned 31 on valentines day, so he's in the over 30's club. Our age discrimating contract policy already has that under intense scrutiny. Then there's his repeated leg break. That's definitely a concern but he's played over 30 games this season. Which would highlight he's fully recovered. He could argue it's not a factor, after all Rosicky swindles new deals and he's hardly Mr Durable.
The club may refuse to pay Sagna x amount but if he leaves we are going to need to find a replacement. Carl Jenkinson is nowhere near being ready to even start regularly, let alone replace a proven international. So that means we'll have to buy a replacement (unless one is growing on a tree somewhere) and that means spending cash. Even a simple 5m to replace equates to 96k pw for one year. Does it not make sense to reinvest in a player that has helped us hugely over the years (last years dip aside). I'm fearful that Wenger may split up a solid back line and it's some what contradictory on Wenger's part that whilst he's being seeking the answer the puzzle, he may go and replace an important cog, just when he'd found the missing piece.
At some stage our contract shenanigans will seriously bite us on the derrière. I sure those pro-Wenger and club will say it's the players fault but if we were winning trophies, he'd have signed already. However, we aren't and players want silverware. It's a risk for Sagna but he probably wants a medal and he's already seen the likes of Nasri and RVP get those in their first season away from Arsenal.
It's time to stop playing hardball and just pay the man. After all, if wages are an issue just remember the amount of cash we are wasting on players we have no intention of using and/or have no future at the club.