The Arsenal exodus which has haunted the Gunners over the past few years could be expanded further over the coming months with the news that Bacary Sagna is attracting the interest of Inter Milan.
Sagna has already hinted at his frustrations over a number of issues at Arsenal, notably the selling of top players and the failure to win any trophies for eight years.
A clear correlation can be drawn between the two. This suggests that Sagna is far from happy with life at the Emirates right now, and should a club of Inter Milan’s stature come calling, contract negotiations between the Frenchman and Arsenal could once again stall, as they have with so many other players in the past few years. Sagna’s current contract runs out in 2014, and negotiations are due to start imminently.
This is a story all too painfully familiar for Arsenal fans. Robin Van Persie, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Alex Song have all departed the Emirates over the course of the last couple of years after being attracted by greener pastures. The fact that Nasri and Clichy went on to lift the Premier League title with Manchester City last season merely highlighted the fact that Arsenal once again had a barren season in terms of trophies, something which is now an almost expected occurrence.
Yet the way Arsenal have began this season indicates that the post- Van Persie era isn’t going to be as bad as initially feared. The Gunners remain unbeaten in the Premier League thus far, and a gutsy performance to earn a point at Man City on Sunday underlines the new steely resolve that assistant manager Steve Bould has brought to the club. Whilst the gloom may have been lifted by encouraging performances on the pitch, surely selling another of Arsenal’s key players would once again bring the sceptics out in force. You would presume that there is only so long that Arsenal can continue to dispense of their key assets and maintain Champions League football.
According to the Mirror, Arsenal’s accounts show that they have up to £50 million to spend, so from a financial point of view offering attractive and persuasive contracts to the likes of Bacary Sagna should be relatively straight forward. But ultimately, the contract negotiations are likely to come down to the vision of Arsene Wenger and those in charge of Arsenal’s future.
The club needs to start winning trophies again, and needs further investment both in the current squad and with reinforcements to make that a reality. Sagna is a good player who has served Arsenal well over the past five years. Two unfortunate leg breaks have hindered his progress in the past year, but he is a player who offers Arsenal much and a real effort should be made to get him to sign an extended contract before he has other offers to contemplate.
There is a real positive buzz around the Emirates right now as Arsenal have made their best start to a season in a while, and finally seem to have a defence that complements their attack. This momentum needs to be maintained, and keeping players like Sagna at the club is a vital ingredient to making that happen. Otherwise the feel-good factor could be quickly replaced.