Sagna, Wenger & That Kitty Is Back

lacIt is a huge relief to find that the Vertebroplasty which the Football Association recently underwent, has turned out to be something of a success with the recommendation to the FA Council that Assem Allam will not be able to append ‘Tigers’ into the club’s official name. A small success for fan-led opposition to an owner prepared to diminish the heritage of a club but it has left me confused. This is the same FA which ushered in the Premier League era and has sat idly as fan-based revenues have increased by rates which compare unfavourably with the hyperinflation that beset the Argentine economy during the same period. Hardly the act of a body which genuinely cares about the game. Still as governing bodies go, at least they aren’t FIFA which is not much of a recommendation, really, is it?

Against this backdrop, Arsenal’s woes this week are trivial. They aren’t even really woes to be honest. After all, we are not going into the coming week’s with key players missing, as Chelsea are following the three-match ban imposed on Ramieres following his horrific tackle at Villa Park. The FA are so keen to give Mourinho his ready-made excuses that they are going to ban Will.I.Am as well but at least that gives him more time to spend with his team as they prepare for The Voice this weekend. I mean it isn’t as if Arsène will be able to point at the injury list to offer a rebuttal to his opposite number; the two just don’t compare so I hope Wenger isn’t going to try to counter anything the Portugeezer says. Actually, it will be interesting to see whose fault a Chelsea defeat will be – if it happens – because tactically, Mourinho can’t blame the referee again because that would invite ridicule from the media (not that he cares, he knows they won’t dare). Actually, Chris Foy’s reckless decision to properly interpret the rules at Villa Park was probably the cause so it will be his fault. What can we blame Mike Dean for?

Certainly not the reported calf problem Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has suffered from although that is expected to be cleared up by Saturday. Which leaves Arsène a week to contemplate how to inflict a first defeat on Jose Mourinho since the pair first crossed swords in English football. It is a strange hex / jinx / indian sign, however you want to describe it, that exists although you could argue that it is merely a reversal of the clubs fortunes before Chelsea spent their billions, a time when Arsenal really only had to turn up to beat them. That in itself was a reversal of the clubs fortunes when even the very good Arsenal sides lost at Stamford Bridge even if they did turn up. Who says football isn’t cyclical? And yes, I did type cynical first.

The merest mention of money brings about odious comparisons. Both have it but one club has applied themselves hopefully to the FFP regulations whilst the other paid a token lip-service. With UEFA threatening action against a large number of clubs, the issue is going to be highlighted this summer when huge investment is needed at both clubs to strengthen their squad as ageing professionals take the short hop down to the Royal Hospital. Arsenal meanwhile will have a transfer kitty estimated at £100m as well as the enhanced revenues providing funding for wages, according to the AST analysis of the interim accounts.

Which is a sum that sounds vaguely familiar and will drive some to despair at it resurfacing. The trouble is that with the squad needing strengthening now, it is always going to be a bone of contention. That is before you consider the gaps which will emerge when players leave in the summer, as they do each year. Fabianski has already refused his contract, Bendtner likewise and that was before Arsène’s contemptuous response to the Copenhagen Incident – as the Dane’s auto-eroticism will become referred to – ensure the striker will be out of the door before the summer begins.

Which brings existing contractual negotiations sharply into focus. The club is seeking to tie down existing staff to longer deals and it is good to see they are rewarding players such as Cazorla and Ramsey. The fear is that they will lose an experienced full back whose versatility across the back four is invaluable. It is a difficult position for the club. Whilst the media focus on the money, the suspicion is that it is the length of the deal which is the stumbling block. Recent deals for Rosicky and Mertesacker, as well as the aforementioned talks, show money is there and they are not afraid to use it. Well, not too afraid. Yes, Sagna can earn a lot of money with a move and it is going to be more than Arsenal can give him; that’s the case for you or I in our walks of life – you only get a big pay rise from a promotion or new job. In Sagna’s case, it is complicated by being his last chance. A three-year deal, such as the one he is reportedly seeking, will take him to 2017 which is a decade from joining the club. It used to be the time when he would have qualified for a testimonial, a money-spinner to top up the retirement funds. Is that the carrot it used to be? I am not so sure, especially with the current vogue of donating the profits to charitable causes.

The question for Arsenal is whether they can afford to lose him? Replacing a right back is not that hard but getting one who can adapt comfortably to the left and central roles is a different matter. We have other solutions for the left – Flamini, if either Gibbs or Monreal is unavailable – and Arsenal have to invest in a centre back anyway but it is Sagna’s experience which is vital. Not just on the pitch where I contend he has been back to his best but on the training pitch also where he can help Jenkinson and the youngsters reach their full potential. That is the crucial area for me.

Whether he signs or not will have to wait until the end of the season, a rerun of the negotiations which echoes the past. Perhaps he is waiting to see if there is a medal in the offing. Or maybe he just needs to feel the love which is following his manager’s lead apparently.

’til Tomorrow.

243 thoughts on “Sagna, Wenger & That Kitty Is Back

  1. still great game, Arsenal you did well lads and with 10 men against the favorites of the competition

  2. hell no C, they matched Barca for almost all this match and in many phases were simply better

  3. A brilliant game and I am proud of the team.

    the penalty and the sending off totally changed the game – where have we heard that before – but as an experience of playing at the highest level in their age group – and that is what it is all about.

  4. Finishing needs work but our Youth team did us PROUD!!!!!!!!! They went toe to toe and a couple of individual mistakes did us in to be honest.

    Toal and Akpom were brilliant today and you could tell that every time they got the ball something good was going to happen. Zelalem and Olsson have a calm composure about them already that you just can’t teach.

  5. Agreed HenryB.

    The penalty and sending off were justified, not that it was a dangerous coming together but the keeper had to go for the ball. I’m not a fan of the sending off rules in those events, it is really a double penalty. Still, under the present rules it is what it is and changed the game for sure. Arsenal did us proud and the score line at the end flattered Barca who it should also be pointed out were playing at home.

  6. The scoreline for anyone who did not see the match simply does not reflect the true game.

    MA is correct, we were, for large parts of the game, the best team and our goals were the better ones until we tired in the last 5 minutes having played with 10 men for most of the second half.

    I am disappointed with the result, not for myself, but for the guys who gave their all, but I loved the game as a spectacle. 🙂

  7. Yea I echo both MA and Henry, the scoreline wasn’t indicative of the actual match itself.

    For large stretches of the match we were playing them off the park and the high pressing clearly had them rattled. The youth coming through the ranks are definitely enjoyable to watch and if anybody ever gets a chance they should go watch them or catch a live stream.

    the fluidity, width, pace and creativity that they play with reminds me of Arsenal at our best and while they were missing Hayden who is their rock at either CDM or CB our defense still played very well. Our Youth did us very proud especially playing away to a side that had been destroying the rest of the teams for fun.

  8. @Henry

    I am gutted for the players because they deserved better to be honest.

    The best part was watching all of our youth go up against what many throughout Europe consider the best Academy and out play them for most of the match. The lads were brilliant and they showed no fear or hesitation in pressing, attacking or countering.

    This was honestly futbol at its purest and why people like me who can sometimes be naive to the futboling world still love the beautiful game. Youth playing at such a high technical level and enjoying themselves.

  9. I am not sure I agree with comments yesterday that Sagna was no longer at his best, had lost pace, and was thus expendable since his precipitous decline will come before age 33. Perhaps. But I think he has played very well, gets forward and back to defend well, is a leader and is experienced in our style of play. We already will be looking for a new GK to replace Fabianski, will need a CB if Vermaelen leaves, are looking for a top striker and maybe more if Giroud leaves. It is also thought that Podolski might leave and we could be looking for a wide player. I imagine a physical midfielder (ala Bender) is still a target. To my mind that will be too much turnover and integration of new players. Losing Sagna would weaken our greatest strength this season–our back line.

    On the rumours of Giroud leaving, this is another one I would be adamant against. We spend one year having him adapt to the league and he’s had a solid season. We need options, reliable ones. We know what we get from him. If we bring in a new striker or two, it is important to keep some continuity rather than having to start with a completely new set of strikers. He signed a long term contract and unless PSG or Monaco want to shower us with money, I believe we should be firm in stopping such a move this summer.

  10. Limey,

    Its the wife on the war path that Wenger will have to not convinced he has it in him. we all know he is as soft as… would not be surprised if wenger gave the dutch shit face a call.

    would be a real shame to break up this defensive line if sags goes.. Jenkinson does have great potential though, if he gets a run…the longer the run the better he will get.

  11. @LSG

    I’s more worried about continuity in midfield. If we can keep the consistency in midfield and get a striker that plays to Ozil, Santi, Jack, Ramsey and Mozart’s strengths then it will be less of a period of adaptation period especially when Theo comes back.

  12. C, luckily we have a host of options in midfield with only the need maybe for one physical type of player (Gonalons?!?). I am concerned that letting Sagna go weakens the defensive platform we’ve built. Jenks, as Dukey says, has potential, but we would still need to bring in a starter, at this stage, I feel. Giroud’s wife may want a move, but, sorry, it doesn’t suit us and he is being paid handsomely–work out your differences or not. Unless Giroud wants to buy himself out or attract a massive fee, we must not buckle on this sort of think anymore.

  13. Cazorla, Ramsey, Zelalem sign contracts….

    This a great step in the right direction and a good idea, don’t wait till the last minute to keep your best players and your best prospects.

    Full marks to club management and the commitment of the 3 players.


    Regardless of all my moanings ( I still stand by some of them) I think the Arsenal model should be taught to show the world that you can do things without throwing caution to the wind and getting into the endless pit of debt.

    We are not free of debt, but our debt is a good debt. We are paying for a huge asset, while building our creditability around the world by remaining a freakishly interesting melodrama club. I don’t think for a minute that we are loosing fans because we are not winning titles. We are the underdogs, people like underdogs.

    ….And as Marley sang:

    “As a man sow, shall he reap
    And I know that talk is cheap.
    But the hotter the battle
    A the sweeter A Gunners victory.”

    A R S E N A L, yeah

  14. “Laurent Koscielny is set to be the next to commit his future to the Gunners, with talks over a new deal expected to begin next month.”

    God i hope that’s true…..Keeping Kos and Per together his summer should be a top priority! I’ve a feeling Barca and Bayern will be sniffing about come summer if he plays a blinder in the WC! Especially with Puyol leaving

  15. Diaby apparently v close to first team return after rhab in France! TBH, he, Ramsey and Ozil could be a good catalyst when they return! Having seen Liverpool, Chelsea and City play i think Chelsea and City will drop more points before the season ends and liverpool will be due a bad run of form at some point, their defence is still not great!

    Gotta wonder, if Ramsey, Santi, Per, Rosicky and Kos are all getting new contracts and improved deals, Sagna not getting one seems a bit harsh (unless he’s asking for £200k a week)

  16. MLF

    He is asking apparently for 5 million GBP per year. Currently on 71,000 a week….. new demand makes it 107,000 a week.

  17. Off topic a bit, but I read an article on pep g. from Bayern where he said he would like to play a full fluid game, alas total footsie! I wondering how the mighty pep would be if he coached hull, or crystal palace with their current line up? Even Ol ‘Arry would kill with the teams he has had, those squads were full of superstars!

  18. Inter have apparently offered Sagna 2.8 million EUROS for a two year contract. Which works out in GBP as 2.34 million……………. at the moment he is on 3 million GBP….. so if it’s money he is after he’d be better off staying with us.

  19. Northbank1969

    Plus Inter are not going to win Serie A any time soon. Roma, Napoli, Juve are too strong! Vidic and Evra will do well there since the Italian has less pace to it! Inter will be another team spending big in summer i think!

    Is Sagna stays it will be massive for us. Consistency in that back 4 is vtial for a push next season!

    I’m actually excited for diaby’s return, always rated him! It’s a shame injuries have ruined his career, he’d be as good as Toure for City if he kept fit!

  20. Northbank1969

    Ramsey’s new deal is £100, 000 a week, surely Sagna has warrented a pay hike if Ramsey has, i mean i love Ramsey’s game but he’s been average/bad until this season in all honesty!

  21. MLF

    I don’t think too many teams will be bidding for Sagna….. his age will be the decising factor….. but if he is demanding 5m a year and AW offers him 4m……. I think he should take it with a two year contract, possible extension to 3 years. He won’t get much better. And as you say, going to somewhere like Inter won’t win him any trophies, he has a better chance with us.

  22. While we are talking Monopoly money, and someone else’s at that — why not give them all £10m a week — and let the fans who buy tickets pay for it. Lol

  23. Talking of Monopoly money…. I mentioned the other day that Frank McClintock was earning in the region of £200 per week back in the 70’s. Calculated to now that would translate to about £2,500 per week. ffs, £100,000 per week ain’t bad.

  24. Northbank1969

    The fact that he’s not extended yet makes me think he won’t but i’m sure the reasons why can’t all be money..Perhaps he’s wanting to see where we finish come end of season and if we lift the FA cup!

    I’ve a horrible feeling we’re going to get gazzumped by Chelsea, City, Real and Bayern in the transfer window…Chelsea will sell Ba, Torres, Mikel and Essein and if they get Falcao or Costa they could be lethal. We i think we need to strike as soon as the window is open and get our targets in, let them have a WC and then into pre season!

  25. But this getting contracts extended business is very good, if Kos exteneds i’ll be extremely happy.

    Very interesting summer and somewhat less boring since the WC will be on!

  26. The only two worrying ones are AW and Sanga.

    If we presume that both Sanga and ^TV5 leave, that will mean we need to buy, 1xRB, 2xCB, 1xGK…….that is before we even look at improving the squad. We never really buy loads of players so it will be a bit out of kilter with our normal MO.

  27. goonerandy

    We’ve a few good prespects for CB in youth set up, Ginter would cost about £8million and he’s 21 and pretty established, but RB for me would have to be Piszczek (Might fancy a move since Dortmund are losing key players and Bayern are so dominant) wouldn’t be too expensive since he’s almost out of contract, his experience in Champs league and at top level would be a like for like replacement IMO, and he’s a fluid attacker. Also allows room for Jenks developement.

    Perhaps Wenger plans on using Diaby next season, but given his injury record and Mikel and Flamini’s lack of pace i’d be looking to strengthen CDM position with someone more athletic for high tempo games where we are getting pressed. Then obvious area of CF and LW remain! Could be a busy Summer: Verm, Pod and Sagna (Even Giroud if rumours are to be believed about his wife wanting a France return) could leave and see as many coming in! But Next season, Ramsey not being at the WC is fantastic IMO, he’ll get a full rest and ready for next season! List of players to add who are out and will be back for next season: Jack, Ramsey, Diaby, Ozil, Theo…Not a bad bunch to add to what we’ve got

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