Quality not only reason Chelsea & City must raid Arsenal for defender


Bacary Sagna is potentially available for a free transfer as Gunners deal hits stand-still and Manchester City and Chelsea are both allegedly interested.

According to reports, Bacary Sagna's availability has alerted a brace of big British clubs to the prospect of adding an accomplished defender - a legitimate top five player in his position in world football - to their respective rosters, as the Arsenal man's contractual situation remains ambiguous.

The North Londoners are alleged to have offered an £80,000 per week deal, but both Manchester City and Chelsea could trump that with £100,000 per week offers.

Add to that the carrot-stick that tempted players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole - that the prospect of silverware is likelier to be won at the Etihad Stadium or Stamford Bridge than it is at Ashburton Grove - and Sagna's dalliance over an N5 deal seems understandable.

But the player's quality, and he does genuinely have that completing - on average - a defensive contribution (tackle, block, interception and duel) every 11 minutes he is on a Premier League pitch, should not be the sole reason for Manuel Pellegrini or Jose Mourinho to one-up Arsenal when it comes to contractual negotiations with the Bosman defender.

There is an added bonus for one of these two clubs in acquiring the Frenchman…

…and that is the weakening of a slumbering giant.

Arsenal showed in the first half of the current season that they are capable of mounting a Premier League title challenge. Aside from the aberrations that were the Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool performances, the Gunners' defence has been commendable, but by taking Sagna out of that equation, the rearguard becomes weakened.

Arsene Wenger may improve his Guns further in the summer, but should Sagna re-sign with his compatriot, then Wenger can focus his efforts on a quality striker, on an additional midfield utility and on general squad enhancement, but if Bacary leaves the Emirates Stadium, then a further problem arises.

Should City or Chelsea deliberately sign Sagna to weaken a potential rival next season?

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