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Hannover 96

£2 million deal that may condemn Djourou to unwanted Arsenal return

Hannover 96 have moved to strengthen their back-line; leaving Johan Djourou likely to return to his parent club this summer.

Hannover 96 announced the signing of Nancy defender Salif Sane on Thursday; their first piece of transfer business for the summer.

While no official details have been confirmed by either club it is generally believed the fee involved between the two sides was somewhere in the region of £2 million.

Sane is a 6ft 4ins athletic centre half who was unlucky to be playing for a side who were relegated in a five way battle with Troyes, Ajaccio, Evian and Sochaux in Ligue 1 this campaign.

The 22-year-old has signed a deal until 2017 and the clubs manager Mirko Slomka exclaimed his pleasure at the deal on Thursday:

"We had been striving to strengthen our defence for next season and Salif Sane has impressed in one of Europe's strongest leagues. He has everything that is required to establish himself as an important member of our team in the Bundesliga."

Now with the arrival of the former Bordeaux man they have taken one step toward the goal of a stronger back-line.

But the deal immediately got me thinking about one Arsenal player in particular; Johan Djourou.

The Swiss international is currently fourth choice centre-back at The Emirates with little hope of usurping the likes of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen in the running for the starting berth.

With that in mind he decided he wanted to take in a loan spell in January and Hannover ended up being his destination.

Since arriving at the AWD-Arena he has featured 15 times in all competitions and spoke of his desire to stay with the club in the summer a few months ago, via his agent:

"Johan and his family are settling very well in Hannover. The project is suitable for him, and in the coming days we will start talking a stay with Mr. Schmadtke (technical director).

"We know that his return to Arsenal is already programmed, but we wanted to make clear our intentions. Reduction of salary? Would not be a problem."

But since then things have changed. ‘Mr Schmadtke’ was Hannover’s sporting director Jorg Schmadtke; but he left the club in April.

Now Dirk Dufner is calling those shots and Sane is his first signing as the new sporting director.

Djourou is likely not as cost effective an option as Sane and he has hardly been a revelation at the club; as they continued to be unpredictable and inconsistent defensively throughout the season.

No purchase option was ever initially agreed between the two parties either so again nothing is likely.

So it looks as though for now Djourou will be returning to Arsenal FC for pre-season; none the wiser as to his future destination.

Can Djourou still do a job for Arsenal? How much should they sell him for this summer?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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