Arsenal are attempting a third set of negotiations with right-back Bacary Sagna in order to tie the Frenchman down to a new contract.
As things stand, Sagna’s deal expires at the end of the season and the Gunners have already seen two offers knocked back by the experienced 30-year-old who Arsene Wenger is keen to keep.
The Mirror’s John Cross suggests that the breakdown in talks is down to a difference between terms with Sagna wanting a three-year deal worth £70,000 per week with the Gunners only prepared to offer an extra two seasons onto his current contract.
The obvious counter in the mind of some Arsenal fans will be to allow Sagna to go to France, where he’s been heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain, with the club bringing in a younger, hungrier right-back or giving a chance to Carl Jenkinson.
However, Sagna is an extremely effective defender in several ways which is why Wenger seems to be so determined to tie him down on a new multi-year contract.
The only players who have made more blocks from outfield players this season are the centre backs, which is unsurprising because they play in more central positions as opposed to one side of the defence.
It shows intelligence on Sagna’s part and quite literally the perfect positioning for a defender, as he gets in the way between attacker and Arsenal’s goal.
He also reads the play extremely well, which is significant for the times he’s caught out of position, up the field after an attack.
Intercepting the ball high up the pitch decreases the chance of Arsenal getting caught on the break and also reduces the chance of space being exploited in behind Sagna when he’s higher up on the right.
He’s the second highest passer in the entire Arsenal defence, behind only Per Mertesacker who will have a greater number of simple passes back to Wojciech Szczesny. He understands the way the Arsenal defence works, how the midfield rotates and how to be effective at both ends of the pitch.
Sagna is by no means done in terms of top flight football and it will be interesting to see if Arsenal give in to his demands.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald