Arsenal may be facing an uphill battle to hold onto right-back Bacary Sagna beyond next summer. The France international is in the final year of his deal at the Emirates Stadium and the Daily Mail has reported that he is set on leaving the club on a free transfer unless Arsenal improve their contract offer.
There was a widespread belief this summer that Sagna may have been on his way out, with Arsenal linked to a host of replacements and perhaps keen to ensure that they received a fee for the 30-year-old. Sagna twice suffered broken legs in the 2011-12 season, reportedly adding to the club’s hesitation to break with their policy of only offering 12-month extensions to players over the age of 30.
Upon his return from injury last season, Sagna failed to rediscover the form that saw him considered the Premier League’s best right-back and the idea of his departure may not have been all that concerning to Arsenal. However, according to the Mail, Arsenal persuaded him to at least see out the final year of his contract. Given that he has been an impressive presence in a team that has soared to the top of the Premier League at the start of this season, Arsene Wenger is likely to be more inclined to ensure he remains where he is.
Sagna, though, is said to believe that Arsenal’s current offer is disrespectful. With the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce thought to be circling, the former Auxerre man would have no shortage of clubs should he decide to opt for one last big payday in his career.
Wenger may well have more immediate concerns, however. While the start of the season has exceeded perhaps even his expectations, the Arsenal boss is likely to be aware of the current over reliance on Olivier Giroud up front. With that in mind, signing a goal-scorer could well be on his agenda come January.
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Swansea City’s Michu was one of the names linked with a move to the Emirates over the summer. The 27-year-old, who has just been called up to the Spain squad for the first time, struck 18 Premier League goals last season after arriving from Rayo Vallecano for a fee of just over £2.2 million. With Swansea in no mood to sell, manager Michael Laudrup stated over the summer that he considered Michu to be worth £30 million. That is a valuation with which chairman Huw Jenkins agrees.
"We've seen with Tottenham and Gareth Bale that every player has a price,” he explained, according to the Daily Express. “We are not in that bracket with Tottenham but they sold a top player. We are realistic about that side of things.
"I would say Michael was about right with his valuation of Michu if you look at the current market, but this call-up enhances that further. We know we have a very talented player and naturally we want to keep him."
Having signed Mesut Ozil to join the likes of Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, a creative midfielder would not appear to be high on Arsenal’s list of priorities. Yet, two players of that type have been linked in recent days.
Talksport believes that Arsenal, along with rivals Tottenham, are in the hunt for Lazio’s Hernanes. Despite the reported interest, the 28-year-old Brazil international has revealed that he won’t decide on his long-term future until after next year’s World Cup.
“I'm happy and satisfied at Lazio, but I'm firstly thinking about the World Cup," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "That is what is in my head right now, then we'll see about a contract extension."
Also said to be interesting Wenger is Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri. The 21-year-old Switzerland international is seen as one of Europe’s hottest prospects, but faces a battle to hold down a regular place in a Bayern Munich side packed with talent. Swiss website InfoTicker believes that Arsenal could look to test Bayern’s resolve to hold onto the player with a €15 million £12.7m) offer in January. It is hard to conceive of such an offer being successful.