01 May 2014

Sagna, a Bosman, and the Etihad

There are only a handful of matches to be played, and so the silly-season sources are chomping at the bit to complete their fill-in-the-blank headlines and articles, linking any player with a move to any club, regardless of performance, financials, contract status, or most anything else resembling reality. Still, anything can happen, and once you mention "Bosman," well, ears are bound to perk up. And so it begins with Bacary Sagna. At 31, he's getting long in tooth and braids, and he does seem to be shopping around for could very well be his last contract and shot at silverware. His entire time at Arsenal has been overshadowed by the trophy-drought, and the siren's song must surely be swelling to a crescendo.

This has been, of course, a long-running saga as Sagna has refused to resign offers from Arsenal, said to range in the £80,000 per week range, varying in length from one to two years. It seems that he wants both a pay-rise from around £50,000 to £100,000 per week and at least two years, and he might be entertaining offers along those lines from Fener, PSG, and Inter. The latter two might be best positioned to offer him cash and a chance at silverware, but now the rumor-mill has added more grist by mentioning Man City, they of the bottomless pools of cash that have already splashed on Clichy and Nasri. Sagna can't negotiate or discuss anything officially until after the FA Cup final, but I'm not sure how much us winning it might change his position. Winning the FA Cup would be wonderful, of course, but it may not match the promise of Prem titles or Champions League glory—or the guarantee of deeper pockets.

I've suggested in the past that his long-time service and loyalty should be rewarded in some way or another, whether it be on the wages or the length of the contract. However, if he's not open to that, I hope at least that don't simply lose him for nothing. With his current contract expiring 30 June 2014, we could see exactly that happening. On one hand, whatever transfer-fee we might get if he was under contract wouldn't be massive,  we would be fools to let the likes of PSG or Man City have him for free. Here's what I'd propose of I had Arsène's ear: offer him £90,000 per week. If he resigns, we have the experienced right-back we need, if another year older. Behind him is the still-callow Carl Jenkinson, who is probably at least a full season away from being the first-choice right-back. Sagna could also offer a bit of cover at center-back, something he's done quite well for us many times this season (we should still look for a proper center-back in the transfer-window). Resigning him would also force the hands of PSG and Man City. If they're serious in their pursuit, let them put their money where their mouths are. I'm not suggesting we'd get the kind of transfer-fee that allows us to go out and sign, say, Griezman or Bender, but there's a principle involved. PSG and Man City have obscene financial resources. Why give them anything?

At times, Sagna has been among the best right-backs in the Prem. Those days may be long-gone, but we're still better with him than we'd be without him. Absent the signing of someone like Séamus Coleman, Sagna may just be our best-bet, especially in a transfer-window in which we hope to get a striker, keeper, holding midfielder, and center-back, why add right-back to the list? Instead of devoting part of our transfer-kitty to the transfer-fee, after all, could we not sweeten our offer for Sagna just a bit instead? It's a tough call. How much do we need him at a strategic level? How much is he worth in a sentimental sense?