Arsenal have been trying to tie key members of the squad to long term deals. They have succeeded with quite a number a la Ramsey, Cazorla, Mertesacker and Rosicky but they have still been unable to reach an agreement with French full back Bacary Sagna. That is an important one that they haven’t succeeded at no thanks to the fact that the Frenchman’s contract expires in the summer and failure to extend his deal would see him walk away for free to join another club which could even be Arsenal’s domestic rivals. Reports have it that City, Liverpool and Chelsea are interested. Chelsea’s interest isn’t a surprise because judging from Mourinho’s antecedents, he doesn’t always buy players with sole aim of strengthening his squad, his goal is usually to weaken his rivals and he knows that Sagna’s exit would significantly weaken Arsenal.
That said, Arsenal have tried to keep him and as far as I am concerned, they have done enough to show how much they want him. Firstly, they broke the stringent rule of offering players in their 30s just a year extension by offering him a 3 year extension if reports suggesting so are true. Also, they offered him a huge pay rise from his current 65k weekly wages to almost 100k per week. Then why hasn’t he signed? Arsenal according to the reports claim their recent offer is the final but the silence at Sagna’s end is worrisome. The fact is that he can get his desired contract elsewhere because there are teams willing to spend silly even on a aging player.
Arsenal cannot afford to be held to ransom by any player let alone an aging one. Allowing him to go will not be a show of lack of ambition on Arsenal’s part but that of avarice on the Frenchman’s side. In the light of the inevitable, Arsenal should go for a replacement and I suggest Wenger should look inwards at the Premier League to land one. My prime candidate is Everton’s right back Seamus Coleman. He has been consistent in that position all season and a proof of that is his presence in PFA team of the year. Arsenal would represent an attractive proposition for him owing to Champions League football and significant increase on his Toffee’s wages. Arsenal are offering Sagna almost 100k but he is dragging his heels, should they offer Coleman 70k, he will grab it gratefully with both hands.
Another reason for my preference of Coleman is the fact that he is already stable in the EPL and would hit the ground running unlike a player coming in from another league. Coleman is also a better attacking fullback than Sagna. He might not be so solid defensively but his attacking prowess is huge. He can dribble, has pin-point crosses and also chip in his fair share of goals.
Coleman will certainly not come on the cheap as Everton are renowned for not selling their players cheap but a bid of between 15- 20million Pounds should be enough to convince Bill Kenwright and Martinez to sell. Who knows, it might just help fund their pursuit of Lukaku for a permanent deal.
My first option is keeping Sagna but if that fails, Wenger should go for plan B which is landing Coleman.