20 May 2014

£150,000 a week for Sagna? Sell him!

It's hard to imagine Arsenal without Bacary Sagna. If nothing else, he's one of the longest-serving members of the club, having been here since July 2007, an eternity buy today's mercenary standards. As his contract-talks have stuttered, stalled, and apparently stopped, it's high-time we look into other options. Chief among them might be none other than Man City's Micah Richards, who might just find himself sitting third chair behind Zabaleta and Sagna should Sagna's move to the Etihad go through. With a deal worth £150,000 a week reportedly in the makings, Sagna might have more than one foot out the door. It's hard to imagine a UEFA-sanctioned club committing that much money to an ageing right-back, but who am I to quibble?

To be clear, I don't begrudge Bac. Much. This doesn't feel like a a Cole, van Persie, a Nasri. This is a man who has fought for and stood by this club but is looking ate the horizon of his career, which draws nearer and nearer each day. He's broken his leg for the club. Twice. Each time, he came back full of the fight that has made him a fan-favorite. To see him ride off into the sunset leaves me with an empty, disappointed feeling, but that's modern football. He's played for Arsenal for almost the entirety of his professional career. He's had the monkey on his back the entire time, a monkey we've only just now slain with an FA Cup. For as much as I would like to see Sagna stay, believing him to still possess some hunger for the fray and some wisdom for the feckless, it might just be time to part ways.

His departure, which seems to follow just as inevitably as night follows day, might pave the way for his replacement. Micah Richards, once seen as bright and promising, has only managed five appearances all season for Man City this past season and seven the season before that after having spent much of the previous seven as Man City's first-choice right-back. If Richard's tweets are any indication, he's a big fan of Arsenal, having tweeted after the FA Cup, "Congrats to arsenal for the win today! A club who try to do things the right way! arsene wenger the great!" Whether that's heart-felt or a cynical appeal for more playing time is for others to assess. In Richards, we see an experienced right-back who may not be as consummate as Sagna but would represent our best bet. Others, such as Aurier, might sound sexier but suffer a bit when it comes to experience, at least in the Prem.

Speaking of experience, I don't know what Man City would want with a 31 year-old to back up or compete with a 29 year-old. Then again, I'm not Sheikh Mansour, so I don't have money to burn on such stuff. If Richards wants a move away from the Etihad, why not oblige him? After all, we'd be doing Man City a favor, unloading an unwanted, talented homegrown talent in order to help them make room for an ageing player who increasingly struggles to get back into position after pressing forward and wouldn't be eligible for Champions League play. More and more, this sounds like a win-win.

Much as I hate to bid adieu to Sagna, there comes a time in most players' lives when they look for greener grass. If that day has come, then so be it. I wish Sagna nothing but the best. If his departure makes Richards's arrival easier to achieve. then so be it. Richards's career and development have hit a crossroads, and a move away from the Etihad might just be what he and Arsenal need. Hm. Among other considerations, such a move might just mark a stemming, if not a reversing, of the transfer-tides...

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