With the news breaking yesterday that Tomas Rosicky is due to stay at Arsenal after signing a new 2 year contract the realisation has now set in that this year will be Bacary Sagna’s last year at the club.
I have always been a big fan of the Frenchman. Even during his dark times when his form took a massive dip in the middle of last season I backed him. One of the most consistent right backs in the league, even when he was out of form, he was still a class act.
On top of that, he always kept his head down, worked hard, and looked honoured to play for Arsenal. With the fact that he could cover 4th choice centre back, I was firmly in the ‘offer him a good deal’ camp, with his contract due to finish this summer. In my opinion, he is still good enough to be 1st choice right back next season, and 1 more year will enable ourselves to make a judgement on Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin. He would have also saved us money investing in a new 4th choice centre back.
Unfortunately, I knew deep down that this was unlikely. At best, Arsenal would offer the 31 (in February) year old a 2 year deal. Taking into consideration his form and fitness over the last 18 months, we would have been crazy to tie up more money then 2 years than that. He is also currently on £60,000 a week. He would not have got a pay rise.
It is likely he will end up in France. With either PSG on Monaco. Both clubs will offer him higher wages (£100k pw expected) and a 4 year deal. The deal he signs this summer will be his last one. either stay at Arsenal for 2 years on £60,000 a week (and thereafter sign 1 year deals) or return home to France, nearly double his money, and double his contract length.
There is no bad feeling towards Sagna. He needs to do what is best. Staying at Arsenal for the next 2 years would earn him circa £6,000,000. By returning to PSG (just 125 km from his and his wifes birth town) or Monaco, he could potentially be signing a contract worth £20,000,000. It is not greedy. It is the difference between retiring happy and retiring very happy.
I also think that Arsenal would be crazy to try to match the deals that will be on the table from PSG and Monaco. To tie up £20,000,000 who has suffered with form and injury for the next few years would be crazy. We already moan that we have too much money tied up in players. Whilst offer the next 18 months, it might have looked like a good deal, in 24 months time, we would all be complaining about the waste of wages which bench warmer Sagna would be.
The recent deal which has seen Jermaine Defoe move to Toronto is a perfect example of the situation Sagna is in. Defoe is the same age as Bacary Sagna, and has just joined the MLS side on a four year contract, rising to £90,000 a week. That is the type of retirement money that Sagna is looking for.
Between now and the summer, we will be linked with many a right back. In November, I listed five possible replacements. Personally, my favourites are still Mattia De Sciglio of AC Milan and Everton’s Seamus Coleman.
Bacary Sagna will leave this summer, and I will wish him well and thank him for the memories.