Bye bye Bac. I’m sad to see him go, especially to Man City, but unlike those who have taken to twitter to offer their opinions on his parentage, I bear no malice and wish him well. He has fulfilled his contract and has been a magnificent player for us – one of our most consistently good performers this season, despite probably knowing throughout that he would be leaving.
On the one hand I can understand his decision. A three year deal at a wage variously reported as between £120k and 150k per week – these weekly wages always have me conjuring up an image of a line of players waiting with their wheelbarrows to pick them up – represents about 50% more than the best offer Arsenal could manage after a year of negotiating, and with Zabaleta currently first choice, he won’t have to exert himself unduly.
Arsenal’s final offer was pretty good. Arsene broke his own “1 year contracts for over 30’s” rule and £90/week is a fair deal. Would Sagna have signed such a contract if it had been offered initially? I believe he probably would, and from the club’s perspective, it would have then only have taken him to 33 rather than 34.
So who is the bigger culprit; Arsenal for trying to save money / avoid risk, or Sagna for being so “insulted” by the initial offer being lower than he expected (Is it me, or are modern footballers somewhat easily upset – yes Yaya, I do mean you), that he made up is mind to leave? It’s hard not conclude that the club’s management of this affair was suboptimal. On the other hand, the club must have realised months ago that it was more likely than not to turn out this way. So their plans for a replacement will be swinging into action.
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A reported meeting between Arsene Wenger and the agent of the leading contender, & my own preference Serge Aurier, certainly suggest this is the case. Currently at Toulouse, he’s had a great season, with 6 goals and 6 assists and by all accounts, he’s a Gooner. He’s only 21 and hasn’t played in the Premier League, so there is some risk involved. But if the deal can be done quickly and he gets a full pre-season after avoiding getting injured playing the Wold Cup for Ivory Coast, I think he represents a fantastic opportunity to nail down the position for the long term.
If M. Wenger can manage a ‘little bit’ multi-tasking, 22 year old Danilo at Porto is another excellent young prospect and Micah Richards, representing proven Premier League experience, are both realistic candidates to have in the frame. If Arsenal can act with a decisiveness not seen in recent transfer windows, this could and should be a case of the Le roi est mort, vive le roi !