Paris Saint-Germain defender Mamadou Sakho has pleaded with his club for more regular first-team football, amid speculation that his future could lie away from the Ligue 1 club.
According to The Metro, the France international is regarded as an ‘Arsenal target’ and has made a ‘come and get me plea’ to long-time admirer and Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger.
Despite being just 22 years of age, the centre-back has made 180 senior appearances for his club and 11 for his country but with the World Cup in Brazil on the horizon in 2014, the youngster is understood to be frustrated by the lack of game time that has resulted from the incoming superstars to PSG.
Brazilians Thiago Silva and Alex are PGS manager Carlo Ancelotti’s first-choice pairing in the back line and have both made more than 20 appearances each this season.
Sakho has made just 15 appearances for his club in the league this year, two of which were from the bench where he has spent 8 games so far this term.
Whilst he is still young, his experience is sufficient enough that he could walk into practically any other starting line-up in Ligue 1 and, understandably for a developing he player, he wants more experience and minutes in the first-team.
"I need to be playing week in, week out,” Sakho told reporters recently.
"I will sit down with my agent and club officials and clear up the situation [but] I adore the Premier League."
Sometimes player make comments in interviews that can be taken out of context but, as far as I’m concerned, that is as close to a genuine ‘come and get me’ plea as it gets.
Arsene Wenger has long admired the Frenchman’s talents and, with continued development, he could very well become a staple of the national team’s back four.
Wenger already has his France teammate Laurent Kocielny at Arsenal and I’d go out on a limb and assert my belief that Sakho has the potentially to be a much better defender than the Arsenal man.
His tackling ability is already superior to Koscielny’s and I think he has the edge when it comes to mental attributes like determination, bravery and commitment – something that Arsenal still desperate lack in their back four.
I would expect Arsenal to face competition to sign him in the summer – likely from Manchester City and Newcastle – but with Wenger’s record of developing the best of French talent, Sakho may prefer a move to the Emirates, where he could book himself a seat to the Brazil World Cup next year.
He’s valued at £13 million presently but with his contract entering it’s final year this summer before expiry in 2014, PSG may be inclined to let him go for a decent price, which would suit Wenger down to the ground.
Arsenal have let Johan Djourou go out on loan and will almost certainly offload French flop Sebastian Squillacci in the summer, making space for a new man and I’d be highly surprised if Sakho wasn’t their primary target.
They have young Ignasi Miquel within their ranks who looks to be a good prospect for the future but he needs to go out on loan to get some experience before he can be risked in the first team.
Arsenal have been shipping goals this season, even with all three of their first-choice centre-backs fit and available and a 6ft2” French enforcer certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
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