September 7, 2012
Just when you thought it was safe to stop talking about Arsenal’s transfer policy (for a few months at least) Bacary Sagna has reopened old wounds with an interview given to L’Equipe in which he bemoans the loss of key players every year:
At Arsenal, you’re back from holidays, you prepare and you see two of the players leave when competition returns. That’s the way it is since I am here. I’m used to it now.
Van Persie, I expected it. All of us expected it. It was ‘obvious’, if I shall put it in English.
But Alex Song for Barcelona… What a surprise. He is 24, he had three years left. I still can’t understand. It is a huge loss for the club.
Sagna goes on to appear to question his own future at Arsenal, pointing out that he himself has only two years to run on his deal and that, as yet, no one at the club has talked to him about extending it.
It’s a worrying situation indeed. We know that Cesc for example decided to leave not just because of his Barca DNA but because he was disappointed having joined the Invincibles to find himself two years later as the most senior player in the side. Van Persie publically questioned his own future when Cesc and Nasri left last year and now this year we have Sagna questioning his future as Song and Van Persie leave.
While it’s tempting to blast the club for not sorting out his deal and therefore helping to perpetuate this endless cycle of impending doom I feel relatively calm about the situation. I love Bacary. He’s been consistently one of the best right backs in the world ever since we signed him and his unwavering commitment to the cause is unrivalled. But he’s 29 years old and he does still have just under two years of his contract to run. He’s still recovering from his second broken leg in a year and with all the other ins and outs and contract negotiations undertaken by the club in recent weeks I’m not exactly surprised that Bacary hasn’t been at the top of the to-do pile.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t offer him an extension. I think we should and it sounds like we probably will. But I wouldn’t be surprised if an element of Sagna’s outburst was aimed at the club’s ears – just a little nudge to hurry them along.
It can’t be easy for a player to keep seeing your teammates move on though. I get the impression from his interview that he was good mates with Song and it’s one of the aspects that can often get overlooked when you’re revamping a squad. The unintended casualties that are the friendships within the team.
But as old alliances die, new ones are formed. Witness Olivier Giroud who’s been able to put aside his early difficulties in front of goal thanks to his friendship with Laurent Koscielny:
I’ve known him for four years. We played together for Tours in Ligue 2 and I spent my time with him and another friend of ours. I had a good time with him on and off the pitch and I’m very happy to join him at Arsenal. It’s a nice story for us.
Sometimes we go to a French restaurant together, Sometimes we go out with our wives. I like spending time with him.
Good for you guys. Here’s a nice idea. Why not invite Bacary Sagna along with you? He likes going to French restaurants. And he likes going out with his wife. He’s also feeling a little bit sad. Why not let him in to your little social group?
Andrey Arshavin will not be leaving the club, at least until January, after the Russian transfer window shut yesterday. Despite a bid from Dinamo Moscow the player apparently opted to stay put, hopefully to fight for his place rather than sit on the bench and continue to pick up his hefty pay cheque.
Finally there was an interesting little piece on French site RMCSport yesterday talking a bit about Abou Diaby’s latest comeback from injury. Apparently he’s been working with French fitness specialist Renaud Longuevre who has spoken about how vastly unbalanced Diaby’s body had been. He claims that last year Abou had the ‘right leg of a ten year old kid and the left leg of a 25 year old athlete.’ and that the bulk of their work has been spent on rebalancing his muscles.
I can sympathise. I’ve got the legs of a seventy year old man and the arms of a tiny girl. Unfortunately it’s too late for me but it’s encouraging that work has been done to fix Abou’s problems and hopefully his positive start to the season won’t just be another false dawn.