Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna enters the final year of his contract with the Gunners this summer and with his failure to agree new terms with the North Londoners, the likelihood of his departure increases day by day.
To compound the concerns over his contract big spending Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain are heavily linked with the French international and look likely to put in a tempting offer at the end of this season.
Sagna this week said he was 'devoted' to Arsenal, but we have all heard that before. What's really needed is for him to show that devotion by putting pen to paper on a new deal.
However, Arsenal fans needn’t fret just yet as there are a number of potential replacements for Sagna that Arsenal could target and the improvement of his understudy Carl Jenkinson is reason too for optimism.
Serge Aurier is a name that has been doing the rounds recently with Arsenal reportedly ‘interested’ in bringing him to the Emirates.
The Ivorian currently plays for Ligue 1 side Toulouse and at just 20 years of age he is certainly an exciting prospect. He’s valued around £3.5 million and would be a real bargain steal for Arsene Wenger.
However, Arsenal already have a young up and coming right back in Jenkinson and Wenger is unlikely to impede his development by bringing another young gun.
A more mature and sensible option would be Shakhtar Dontesk’s Darijo Srna who at 30 years old has now played 354 games for his side and 90 European matches.
He is deadly from set-pieces, especially free-kicks and he’s a solid defender who can also chip in going forward. He’d be the closest to a like-for-like replacement of Sagna.
However, he’d be a little pricier – around £12.5 million but with the income they’d make from Sagna’s sale, the Gunners might want to speculate to get the right man for the job.
Another youngster is Newcastle United’s Davide Santon who at 22 already has a decent amount of Premier League experience under his belt.
With the arrival in January of Mathieu Debuchy to St James’ Park, Santon might fancy a move elsewhere to ensure a regular first-team place in his preferred position. He’d likely be available if the Gunners could meet his value around £8 million.
Elsewhere, Sime Vrsaljko has been making waves in his native Croatia for Dinamo Zagreb and is unlikely to fly under the radar for much longer. He’s 21 and is hailed as the Croatian national side’s most likely successor at right-back to Darijo Srna. He’d cost about £3.5 million and he could certainly give Jenkinson a run for his money.
Gregory van der Wiel
Another option might be to use Sagna as leverage to secure the services of Gregory van der Wiel who made his transfer to PSG in the summer.
At 25, he’s got more experience than Jenkinson and with the arrival of Sagna he might fancy another move to book his place in the World Cup in 2014 for Holland.
A swap deal might be the best option for Wenger, as the Dutchman has made just 16 appearances so far this season and will be less than enamoured with the opportunities in the first-team he’s been given by Carlo Ancelotti.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald