United need Reus more than Arsenal do

Borussia Dortmund winger Marco Reus is in high demand after an impressive start to the new season, with the German club recently admitting that the attacker has a release clause in his contract. This has shortened the football betting odds on the talented forward making a move to the Premier League.

As such, both Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with a move for the former Borussia Monchengladbach man, with his release clause thought to be in the £30 million region.

Arsenal’s link to the prodigious attacking midfielder is understandable, as Arsene Wenger has been steadily adding players from Germany to his squad over the last 12 months.

Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Eisfeld and Mesut Ozil are all on the books of the north London club already.

Marco Reus

However, with the Gunners in real need of an out-and-out striker to take some of the load and responsibility away from Olivier Giroud, Wenger should have other priorities in the January transfer window.

Reus’ considerable abilities mean he would be an excellent addition to any squad, but given the presence of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski and Ozil, another attacking midfielder is not necessarily what Arsenal need if they are to win silverware this term.

United on the other hand need a player of Reus’ ilk more than the Gunners do. The Premier League champions are over-reliant on Wayne Rooney to provide the craft and creativity to break teams down, while their wingers have been hit and miss over the last 12 months.

With the pursuit of a creative central midfielder falling flat, it has been up to Rooney to link United’s midfield and attack. The likes of Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have failed to impress of late, while Shinji Kagawa has been limited in his chances to play.

Reus’ addition would be a real boost for the Premier League champions, as he would bring energy, guile and technical quality to Old Trafford. His tendency to cut inside off his wing and play intricate passes with his number ten, Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Dortmund, would be a key bonus of signing him, as he could link up with Rooney in a way that United’s current wingers do not.

Kagawa still has a lot to prove at Old Trafford, and offering him in part-exchange could well be a mistake. Alternatively, should United meet Reus’ release clause and bring him to Manchester, two former Dortmund stars on the flanks for the champions looks like a mouthwatering prospect.

Will Jack Wilshere’s injuries threaten his World Cup place?

Jack Wilshere’s fledgling career has been full of ups and downs to date, with the Arsenal midfielder showing incredible ability, but not as often as Arsene Wenger would like.

The Emirates Stadium club youth graduate has been heralded as one the brightest prospects in the English game, and when fit and on form has been a great player for club and country.

However, despite the playmaker’s tender age of 21, Wilshere has had a number of serious injuries blight his career so far, which have held him back considerably.

This season Wilshere seems to have picked up innocuous ailments and has struggled to complete 90 minutes on regular occasion. Wenger has admitted that he wants to wrap the midfielder in cotton wool, and it is clear that the French coach is concerned that another serious injury could derail the player’s career.

Wilshere should consider new methods of conditioning, and the use of bcaas could boost his fitness and increase his physicality.

Jack Wilshere

With England qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next summer, Wilshere is expected to be a key man for the Three Lions in the tournament.

With the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard ageing, the Arsenal man will be needed to provide stamina, energy and hard work to the English midfield.

However, in hot conditions, the games will come thick and fast over the space of the tournament. With Wilshere’s injury concerns at club level still apparent, whether he can play at his best every couple of days at international level remains to be seen.

There is no doubting the midfielder’s ability, and if he was fully fit and firing he could be the driving force in the England midfield for years to come. However, this looks far from assured at the moment.

Club team-mate Aaron Ramsey suffered a leg break earlier in his career, with the Welshman on the sidelines for a long period as a result. However, he has returned to action and looks as sharp, fit and able as ever. He never shirks a challenge and is one of the most-rounded midfielders in the British game.

Wilshere on the other hand has been held back by the physical nature of the English game and has struggled to show his best form consistently due to injuries.

Can Arsenal qualify from their Champions League group?

Arsenal were undoubtedly handed the toughest Champions League group of the Premier League competitors, and at the halfway stage sit on top of Group F.

However, having played two games at the Emirates Stadium and the weakest side away from home, the second half of the fixture list looks slightly more daunting.

Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli all sit on six points with two wins from three games, while Marseille have been the whipping boys with three consecutive defeats.

The game against Dortmund at the Emirates last time out had the potential to see Arsenal with one foot in the knockout stages if they won it. However, last season’s beaten finalists showing their clinical edge to win 2-1 in England, all is to play for. The Emirates Stadium faithful will hope they will be buying tickets for the Champions League in 2014, but whether there team are in the last 32 remains to be seen.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger’s men must travel to Germany in their next game and face the intimidating atmosphere that Signal Iduna Park possesses. The French coach will urge his side to remember their 2-0 away win over Bayern Munich from last season’s tournament, but the visitors will have a tough 90 minutes without a doubt.

From there Marseille are the visitors to north London in Arsenal’s last home game; a must-win clash if the Gunners are to get through to the next stage.

Finally, a trip to San Paolo to face Napoli completes the group fixtures. It remains to be seen just how the other teams will go against each other and what the state of play will be before Arsenal travel to Italy. However, there is every chance that it could be a winner-takes-all clash against the accomplished Serie A side.

Napoli have proven to be tough opponents on the continent for a number of seasons, and beat Manchester City in Naples two seasons ago to see the Premier League side eliminated.

With Arsenal summer target Gonzalo Higuain leading the line for Rafa Benitez’s men, it could well be a nervy end to the campaign for the Gunners.

Realistically, Arsenal need to try to avoid defeat in all three games, drawing twice away from home and winning once at home. This should be enough to clinch a spot, but they may well rely on Marseille to get a point at some stage against either Dortmund or Napoli.

Come the end of the group fixtures, Wenger will hope that he is not left cursing Robert Lewandowski’s counter-attacking winner at the Emirates two weeks ago.

Arsenal fans don’t get your hopes up – Ozil and Di Maria are going nowhere

Arsene Wenger’s search for new players to bolster an Arsenal squad on its bare bones has led to rumours that the Gunners could move for Mesut Ozil and/or Angel Di Maria. Don’t bet on either of these players turning out for the north London side any time soon.

Yes, Real Madrid are on the verge of signing Gareth Bale for a world record transfer fee and yes they have already signed a couple of other players too. But it is in the Spanish capital city club’s psyche to have more players than they need.

Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria

Ozil is a massively important player for Carlo Ancelotti’s men as is the main player in the squad that offers understated creativity and guile. With Bale set to play on the left and Cristiano Ronaldo through the middle, Di Maria will fight it out with Isco for a place on the right wing.

Arsenal will no doubt sign a player or two before the transfer window closes, but it sure won’t be either of these two.

Arsenal miss out on Higuain – Liverpool’s Suarez a gamble

A few weeks ago Gonzalo Higauin’s move from Real Madrid to Arsenal seemed to be set in stone, a case of mere formalities. But yesterday he completed a move to join Rafa Benitez at Napoli. Perhaps over a disagreement on how much Higuain was worth, communications between Arsenal and Real slowed and the Gunners turned their targets to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Where Higuain seemed to fit Arsenal character wise, Suarez seems the opposite. Not only is he an on and off field risk, but the chances of them actually signing him are much lower than they had of getting Higuain. But Arsenal’s ponderousness in the market this summer has seen all of the top available strikers already seal moves and it leaves them with near enough just Luis Suarez left to pursue. They’ve resisted the much easier to sign Higuain to go after the more expensive and more risky Suarez and even if they do get him, the gamble doesn’t end there.

Gonzalo Higuain is a world class striker. He has scored 107 goals in 187 games for Real Madrid. He’s proven himself over a much longer period in an elite league and the Champions League than the likes of Falcao, Cavani, Lewandowski and even Suarez and it was a surprise that he was initially only catching Arsenal’s eye. The price of £22m that was originally mooted was always going to be too low and it was suitably rejected by Real Madrid. It seems that when Madrid raised their price, and not just as was reported, because of the Cavani deal, Arsenal backed away. The recipients of £55m from PSG, Napoli then had the kind of money available to go out and sign Higuain themselves. After interest from Juventus had quietened down, suddenly only Napoli were competing for Higuain with Arsenal.

Gonzalo Higuaín

Whether or not Arsenal’s bid for Suarez was initially to try and ruffle Real Madrid’s feathers or not, they have ended up possibly competing against Real for the Uruguayan. Maybe that first bid was to hurry Real in to accepting their offer for Higuain, or maybe it was just an opening salvo in what has become a long drawn out chase. But either way, they’ve gotten themselves distracted with going for Suarez and the reason could be that he is encouraging it. When the offer first came in it was met with befuddlement. Suarez had said he wanted to leave Liverpool to get out of England, but when no serious interest from overseas showed itself, the offer from Arsenal suddenly appealed to him. Perhaps at this stage, what had started as a speculative approach suddenly became very serious for Arsenal. They must have persuaded themselves that they could get him for £40m on the understanding of a release clause and that he was willing to come to the club.

Once they’d come to this conclusion, and decided that they could justify paying the £40,000,001 they thought would get him, they’d laid down arms in the pursuit of Higuain. In the mean time, Higuain, perhaps alienated by Arsenal’s stance, had agreed a move to Napoli who were willing to pay Real Madrid the £32m they asked for. So now, with Higuain in Naples, and Liverpool saying they want £55m because the £40m clause didn’t mean they had to sell, Arsenal are in no man’s land.

Luis Suarez

Higuain is a predator of a striker, a natural and easy finisher who has thrived on the Real Madrid supply line over many years. He is a wonderful professional and team mate who doesn’t get involved in controversy, he just keeps his head down and scores goals. That is exactly what Arsenal needed coming in to this summer and why his possible signing was causing so much excitement. They’d have the man to put in the chances created by Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere. They’d have gotten that for £32m if they’d just given Real Madrid the money before Napoli sold Cavani.

Instead, they are now looking to pay £40m+ to even get a chance to negotiate with Suarez. Suarez, who is banned until October in the Premier League, is anything but a saint either on or off the pitch. He plays on the edge, and although this creates moments of unstoppable skill, pace and goals, it also means he is on the verge of self destruction at all times. I don’t need to list his various travails in England, but with a 10 match ban on his slate, he is one big explosion away from an even longer one.

Suarez is a more dynamic player than Higuain but that dynamism is going to cost a lot more to buy and comes with a huge amount of risk. Arsenal have gotten themselves in a tangle in the pursuit of Suarez, one that might not even end in success if Liverpool stand firm or Real Madrid match any offers, and they might end up buying themselves a beautiful nightmare.

Ashley Williams wants a move to Arsenal or Liverpool – but do they want him?

Ashley Williams has been very good for Swansea in his two years in the Premier League and has apparently caught the attention of Arsenal and Liverpool. Swansea have been adamant that they haven’t had any bids for Williams and are laying down an asking price of £10m to try to put rumours to bed. However, with reports that he may be at the stage where he asks to be allowed to speak to any interested clubs, Williams is pressing ahead with his desire.

Apparently, Williams sees his future at Arsenal. But, there are more than a few questions to be asked as to whether Arsenal are actually realistically in the chase to sign him. Firstly, Williams is 29 years old. Arsene Wenger doesn’t sign 29 year olds. In fact, his almost phobic approach to 30 year olds already at the club getting more than one year contracts has only recently ceased. If he signed at Arsenal, he’d be there for at most three years. Wenger doesn’t tend to do things for three years. It might be a different if he was signing Xavi or Cristiano Ronaldo for three years, but with respect, this is Ashley Williams.

Williams also is not an upgrade on either of Arsenal’s starting centre backs. In fact, he’d probably be fourth in the queue behind Thomas Vermaelen too. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were excellent together last season and formed the second tightest defence in the Premier League. If Williams did go to Arsenal he’d be sat on the bench. Why does he want that? He has certainly been impressive at times in his first two years in elite competition but he won’t displace either starter any time soon. Arsene Wenger has searched for central defensive solidity for many years and now that he finally has it, surely won’t be tempted to mess around with his excellent pairing.

Ashley Williams

The only way that Williams would get in to the Arsenal lineup is if they, for some reason, decided to sell Laurent Koscielny to Bayern or Barcelona, his two main suitors. However, Koscielny has four years left on his contract, and is very happy at the club. Indeed, Arsenal seem to be in a position now where they are looking to push up the table towards trying to win the league. Selling Koscielny will not be part of that plan.

The other teams rumoured to be interested seem to be Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool is logical as Williams worked with Brendan Rodgers at Swansea. However, Liverpool’s ownership are unlikely to sanction a £10m outlay on a 29 year old. The Fenway group have made it very clear that they will only invest in players who they could re sell or have for a long time. They’ve only just sold Andy Carroll at a £20m loss and Williams would lose all £10m of face value that they pay for him. Liverpool haven’t signed anyone other than free agent Kolo Toure over 25 under Fenway ownership. Everton could make sense, but again the price tag is a concern. If it was more like £5-6m they may be able to pay it but Roberto Martinez knows how to find overseas bargains and paying inflated prices for players from English teams hasn’t been a way for Everton to do things in many years.

Ashley Williams may be making a huge mistake in asking to leave Swansea. He is the captain of the club and has grown up with them as they have moved through the divisions. The kind of clubs he wants to move to don’t look to be ideal options for him for various reasons – age, price, need, so it’s unclear how heavily pursued he will be.

Manchester City want Blaise Matuidi, but he’d be perfect for Arsenal

PSG midfield destroyer Blaise Matuidi has just a year left on his contract, which is of great interest to Manchester City who are rumoured to be interested in him as they transition away from Roberto Mancini’s 4-4-2 to Manuel Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1. Matuidi could possibly partner Yaya Toure deep in midfield in this new formation. However, if he does become available, he looks like an interesting option for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey played well as the pure defensive shield as Wenger tweaked his system over the second half of last season and this new role allowed him to afford the defence good protection leading to them being the second tightest unit in the league. He is a good worker and interceptor of the ball and improved steadily in the role. However, unlike Marouane Fellaini whose rampaging menace would be near enough neutered playing this role at Arsenal, it is something Matuidi is amongst the best in Europe at doing. If Arsenal bought Fellaini and restricted him to being a pure shield, a simple and limited role, they would be wasting their time spending so much. However, with Matuidi the upgrade as this pure defensive minded shield would be big, big enough to justify the outlay.

Blaise Matuidi

If you don’t know much about Matuidi, just know this. PSG bought him to replace Claude Makelele. It sums his game up and shows what he would offer Arsenal. Wenger is teaching Ramsey to play that role and what is required is superb positioning and sensing of danger, tackling skill, intercepting ability and the awareness to select the correct distribution option. Ramsey is doing decently at getting stuck in but his distribution isn’t ideal for the job. Matuidi already has it all. He’s also a huge presence on the field with his leadership and reliability. Arsenal could do with a few more players that can be relied on to perform at the same level every week. Tactically it would also allow Wenger to continue to use Jack Wilshere further forwards where he seems to see his future.

The doubt in all of this is whether or not PSG would let him leave. Although he only has a year on his contract he is a key player for them. He has played 80 games in his two seasons in Paris and despite their infatuation with star power whoever ends up managing them, maybe Andre Villas-Boas, will be well aware of his importance. You can have all the attackers you like but unless you have someone with the discipline and sense of responsibility to work for the team and position themselves effectively then the team can’t win. He’s probably worth about £10-12m given his contract situation but it’s hard to see how PSG would let him leave. If they do though, Arsenal might hold an advantage over Man City.

At Arsenal Matuidi would be a guaranteed starter. At City, he wouldn’t have the same security. City have just spent £34m on Fernandinho to be their play maker. Manuel Pellegrini is an advocate of the 4-2-3-1, which would likely see Fernandinho partner Toure in the two, particularly if rumours linking the club to Isco come true. At Arsenal, his only competition would be Aaron Ramsey and he is much better at the role they would compete for.

Arsenal transfer targets: Rooney yes, Fellaini no

This summer is the first for many years that Arsenal are being talked about for signing other teams’ star players rather than losing their own, and two of the most commonly discussed names are Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini. Even as recently as last summer the idea of Arsenal getting either of these, never mind both, would be laughed at, but this summer is different. Next season is when UEFA’s Financial Fair Play restrictions really kick in and this is what Arsenal have been preparing for over the last five years or so. Their payment schedule on the new stadium eases considerably and as they are so reliant on generating their own money they are in a strong position to take advantage of the FFP rules. So Rooney and Fellaini are affordable, they’ve got the cash sat ready and waiting. But how realistic is it for Arsenal to get them, and what would they bring to the team?

Wayne Rooney has asked to leave Manchester United. Rooney doesn’t want to play for David Moyes, his wife wants to live in London and Rooney wants to be the star striker. Arsenal could certainly satisfy the last two. In fact, not only would he be the star striker, he’d be their star player full stop. The arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal last summer saw Rooney drift further and further back towards, and even into, midfield. But he is openly unhappy about this. He still sees himself as a pure striker, and his goal scoring numbers back this belief in himself up. In the 2009/10 and 2011/12 seasons Rooney was deployed often as a lone striker, but always as a striker. He scored 34 and 35 goals respectively, by far the best output of his career.

Arsene Wenger

The strange thing with Rooney is that his best qualities are often overlooked in favour of his additional qualities. He works hard for a striker and has a good passing range for a striker, and this means managers are tempted to use him further back. But he’s best at scoring goals. At Arsenal, that would be exactly what he is brought in to do. With Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, possibly even Steven Jovetic, in place, they have no need for him to play deep. Olivier Giroud is a decent striker but no more. If Arsenal sign Rooney and play him up front they will have themselves the 30-goal striker they had when they sold van Persie. Even with all of the other talent, he would be the star of the show, and he would revel in that.

Would Manchester United be willing to sell though? Surprisingly the fee discussed so far has only been around £30m because he has just two years left on his contract. Arsenal sound like they can easily afford that. If they can also pay him the circa £200k a week he get’s at United, which again chief executive Ivan Gazidis has said they can, then this could happen. He’d be an excellent signing and a real statement of intent.

Marouane Fellaini

Where Rooney is a clear fit for Arsenal, the same isn’t necessarily true of Fellaini. For many years Arsenal’s supposed weakness was in defensive midfield, they had no shield and thus a flimsy defence. But last season they had the second best defence in the league. This was not least down to a transformed Aaron Ramsey who, over the last three months of the season, was as good a protector as any midfielder in the league. His tenacity in the tackle and particularly his interceptions marked him out. Arsenal fans bemoan his passing and lack of inventiveness, but in his new position he can keep it simple and focus on defending. What does Fellaini offer that is different? Like Ramsey, he is not a particularly good or subtle passer of the ball. He’s an athletic and tough presence when deep in midfield and although there is no doubting he is a little better at that than Ramsey, can you justify spending £24m on a minor upgrade?

Fellaini caused devastation as an attacking midfielder at Everton when supplied aerially. Does Arsene Wenger really want to use Fellaini as a number ten? He’d certainly offer them a Plan B but again, is that enough to justify spending so much on? Unless Wenger is convinced that Fellaini is a significantly better defensive midfielder than Ramsey then he should not make the move. Fellaini after all, gets most of his praise for the carnage he can cause if supplied correctly in the other team’s half. He’s a very good player, but not worth Arsenal spending £24m on when they still need a goalkeeper.

Andrei Arshavin at Arsenal – where it went wrong

Andrei Arshavin arrived at Arsenal in the January 2009 transfer window as a superstar. He was to be the final piece of the attacking jigsaw that could win Arsenal the league. He had earned this reputation due to his performances in Zenit St. Petersburg’s victory in the 2008 UEFA Cup and then in Russia’s run to the semi-final of Euro 2008. In both sides he was the mesmeric string puller, shuffling around the pitch at high speed with the ball glued to his foot. Arsenal spent £15m to get him, and it looked an immediate bargain. In those last few months of the 2008/09 season he managed to score six and assist eight in just 12 games. Arsenal had seemingly signed a bona fide world-class player. And yet, Arsenal have just announced that they will not be renewing his contract and he is free to leave. The same contract he signed in 2009. So what has happened to turn a blistering start in to tomorrow’s scrapheap?

Arshavin’s name was made at Arsenal with his start to life at the club. He made his debut after the club had suffered successive 0-0 draws, and they had two more in his first two games. And then he exploded in to life. Arsenal then won seven of their next eight games, scoring 25 goals in the process. Arshavin was involved in 14 of those 25 goals. He was the saviour. The man who had resuscitated a dying Arsenal attack. He was already a hero and a Premier League star. He got sick and wasn’t effective in the final three games, Arsenal only won one of them. He had rapidly established himself as a key man. Most notable in this early barrage was the four goals he scored away at Anfield in a hectic 4-4 draw.

Andrei Arshavin

He made his name so quickly and with so little settling in period that some of his failings were overlooked. He was always a hit and miss player. In the early part of his Arsenal career he would waltz past three defenders and score, laterly he would blaze it over the bar. Right? The thing is, he did it early on too, but the sheer weight of goals, and the messiah effect meant it was missed. The blazed chances or dribbles off the pitch were a part of the settling in, part of sharpening up after not playing in the Russian winter. Except they weren’t. That was his game.

This started to become an issue in his second season. In his first few months he played 90 minutes every game, his patchiness forgiven. In the second year, he was substituted in 16 of his 38 matches in all competitions. He scored 12 and set up nine but the cracks were showing. He wasn’t producing the kind of explosiveness that had marked him out as a star in his first few months. His goals and assists came in ones. In drips. He was doing OK, but he wasn’t playing like a star. But he still had the good grace of the fans, he was still exciting, although increasingly frustrating.

It was the 2010/11 season that pretty much sunk Arshavin’s Arsenal hero status. Arsenal made a sluggish start to the season, not least because Wenger was cautiously resting World Cup finalists Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. In the absence of the star duo there was more emphasis on Arshavin to step up and be the star, but he couldn’t do it. His frustrating misses, bad passes in good areas and more so than anything, questionable work ethic were no longer being overlooked as lovable eccentricities. Arsenal were out of the title race by October after four losses and Arshavin hadn’t stepped up. The pattern of substituting took on almost comical proportions. A seemingly always unfit looking Arshavin was substituted on or off in almost every game. In 36 starts in all competitions he was substituted off 27 times. On top of this, he also came off the bench 16 times.

In other words, Arsene Wenger wanted him to succeed, could see his talents, but he wasn’t delivering. Arsenal fans grew weary of his perceived lack of effort and off field distractions. He couldn’t produce consistently. His penultimate season summed up his ridiculous association with the bench. In 19 league games he came off the bench 11 times and was brought off in seven of his eight starts. He wasn’t producing but Wenger kept giving him chances to. Eventually he was packed off back to Russia.

Andrei Arshavin’s time at Arsenal was defined by his start. If he’d played those first few months as he did the rest of his Arsenal career he’d have been written off after two years. He lived on those early glories and got chance after chance to repeat them, but he couldn’t. He ended up spending more time coming on to or off the bench than he did producing on the field. A lost talent? Or a three month wonder who arrived at right time to become a hero all too quickly?

Should Arsenal push harder to keep Bacary Sagna?

Ever since arriving in England in 2007 Bacary Sagna has been regarded as one of the top right backs in the Premier League. His consistent play highlighted by inefficiency in central defence. However, over recent years he has suffered two broken legs and this has taken it’s toll on his fitness levels and performance standards. Once the epitome of robotic consistency, he has allowed errors, some of them ghastly, to creep in to his game. Even despite this though, Sagna was the right back in the second best defence in the league. A defensive unit that looks, for the first time in years, to be settled and able to operate to a high standard. Arsenal have a big decision to make on him. He is 30 years old, Arsene Wenger’s traditional cut off age for long term commitment, has suffered two big injuries, has one year left on his contract and is being openly courted by Monaco and PSG which would give him a shop window as he battles to get back in to the French national team.

Sagna recently told French newspaper L’Equipe that a move; ‘is possible. We would have to see in which conditions and, in sporting terms, what they propose. I won’t go just anywhere’. And on his contract impasse with Arsenal; ‘There are talks [with Arsenal], but I still haven’t extended my contract. I am talking, and I am not at a bad club either’. He is clearly torn on what his best option would be. In ‘sporting terms’ his best option would be to stay at Arsenal. He is the first choice, and playing in a settled unit. He knows the system and his team mates.

Bacary Sagna

A move to PSG would be dubious in sporting terms. If Sagna is concerned about winning back his place in the French national team it’s a big risk. PSG have Christophe Jallet, and more importantly Gregory van der Wiel already at the club. If he can oust them then it’s perfect, but if he gets stuck on the bench his World Cup will vanish. A move to Monaco would be solely driven by money at this stage of Sagna’s career. He maybe has two or three years left at the top, and Monaco aren’t going to win the Champions League in the next three years. Again, playing in France would have an appeal to him for both sporting and personal reasons. This could be his last big contract, and he’ll get a bigger one at PSG or Monaco than he will at Arsenal. He’ll also get a longer one than he will at Arsenal.

Sagna will be 31 at the end of his contract next summer and Arsenal would be unlikely to offer much more than a one or two year deal. PSG or Monaco could offer three or even four years if they wanted to. Arsenal have shown some flexibility on this rule compared to previous years, and in Sagna’s case they should do again. There are several reasons that Arsenal should push harder to keep him. They only have Carl Jenkinson at right back other than him, and although Jenkinson has promise, he’s not got the quality of Sagna. Just as pressingly, there is a lack of quality full backs in world football at the moment that are gettable for Arsenal. Their first choice, Lukasz Piszczek is having hip surgery and is out for 6 months. If they at least keep Sagna for this season they can re-evaluate based on his performances and then make a decision on Piszczek or give them time to scout out another right back.

Arsenal have too many other areas of need to have to make themselves another hole by selling Sagna. He clearly wants some security on his contract having suffered two broken legs and if Arsenal aren’t prepared to offer that they should just lose him for free next year unless PSG or Monaco make a huge offer. If Arsenal get an offer they are satisifed with, and feel sure on a replacement, they can sell, but otherwise it just creates a weakness that doesn’t currently exist.

%d bloggers like this: