Sagna or Zabaleta? Stats comparison - Would City get an upgrade?

Pablo Zabaleta Giant Flag

Manchester City have been linked with signing Bacary Sagna of Arsenal, but do they need him?

Manchester City were named as surprise suitors for soon-to-be free agent right-back Bacary Sagna.

The Frenchman has been rumoured to be close to signing a new deal with Arsenal, but player and club have appeared close before only to take a step back.

Perhaps The Star's report City are interested should not come as a shock, they have bought Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor from the Gunners in recent years, and the chance to add a French international for free would be a shrewd move.

But with fan favourite Pablo Zabaleta locking down the position in the City side, does Manuel Pellegrini need to add a senior right-back as talented as Sagna to the squad?

We have taken a look at Opta's 2013/14 stats in key areas for the two defenders to take a look how the two players compare. 

Assists and key passes

PlayerTeamGoal AssistKey passesAppsMins
Pablo Zabaleta Man City 5 16 19 1,639
Bacary Sagna Arsenal 1 13 19 1,620

Crossing

PlayerTeamTotal CrossAccurate CrossCompletion percentageMins
Bacary Sagna Arsenal 64 14 21.88% 1,620
Pablo Zabaleta Man City 46 4 8.7% 1,639

Tackling

PlayerTeamPosTotal TackleWon TackleSuccess rate
Pablo Zabaleta Man City DF 66 51 77.8%
Bacary Sagna Arsenal DF 25 20 80%

Interceptions

PlayerTeamInterception WonInterceptions In Box
Bacary Sagna Arsenal 26 2
Pablo Zabaleta Man City 25 2

Clearances, Shots blocked and aerial duels won

PlayerTeamEffective ClearanceClearance Off LineShots blockedAerial duels won
Bacary Sagna Arsenal 79 0 4 71
Pablo Zabaleta Man City 41 0 5 23

Passing

PlayerTeamPosTouchesAccurate PassPass completion RateSuccessful Final Third Passes
Bacary Sagna Arsenal DF 1,463 866 85.66% 231
Pablo Zabaleta Man City DF 1,215 681 85.02% 239

Shooting

PlayerTeamPosGoalsTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring Att
Bacary Sagna Arsenal DF 1 11 6
Pablo Zabaleta Man City DF 0 9 0

The two players are very evenly matched, as seen by just how close they are in several areas such as their pass completion rate. Yet there are attributes in which Sagna is clearly out in front, his presence in the air, efforts on goal, clearances, and number of passes.

It is only really the number of assists where Zabaleta stands out, but his four more assists from just three more key passes than Sagna likely reveals as much about City's strikeforce being more lethal than Arsenal's.

Sagna would be an excellent addition to City, even if he is one year older than the 29-year-old Zabaleta, he would not only strengthen their options, but on a free he would destabilise one of their rivals heading into next season. 

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch