Has Bacary Sagna earned a new deal at Arsenal by default? Is Arsene Wenger now prepared to extend the defender’s contract beyond the remaining year because of the on-going injury problems encountered by Thomas Vermaelen?
Sagna, who has stalled on a 12-month extension believing he deserves a longer period, has been playing as a stand-in central defender during various stages of the Gunners’ pre-season matches as Wenger assesses his suitability in the role.
In fairness, he has looked assured whenever he has been handed the berth.
This has chiefly been brought about because of the lack of squad players who can slot in alongside regulars Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertersacker should they sustain injury.
Yet only a few months ago it appeared that France full-back Sagna was heading for the Emirates exit. No agreement could be reached on any extension to his contract and newspapers were awash with reports that he was on his way, with wealthy French powerhouses PSG and Monaco likely destinations for the 30-year-old.
Apparently, that interest has since cooled. And as we stand, he could potentially leave on a Bosman-style free transfer next summer.
Right-back Sagna endured a difficult season last time of asking and often looked either incapable or disinterested as Arsenal huffed and puffed their way to fourth spot in the Premier League table and Champions League qualification (watch out for the draw on Friday).
Now it seems Sagna, who arrived from French outfit Auxerre in 2007, could be back in favour given his versatility. Arsenal have even today wheeled him out on their website to talk about his new lease of life.
He said: “I’m quite pleased with my pre-season. I was injured last season so I didn’t have any pre-season and I think you could see it in my performances.
“I was not as sharp as I used to be so I’m very happy to start from the beginning and I’m looking forward to win something this season.
“I played at centre back started last season when Laurent Koscielny was injured at Sunderland and the coach came to me asking if I wanted to play centre back because we had no cover. I just went for it and tried to adapt as quickly as possible.
“On the pitch everything is different when you play in a different position. It’s OK for me. It’s different but I love learning.
“I see myself as a right back but if I have to cover sometimes or play centre back, I will do it for the club, my team and myself as well.”
Sagna may well have talked his way to an extended stay in north London yet the ever cautious Wenger appears to want some movement on the terms of any new deal.
He said: “We will try to extend Bacary Sagna’s contract. But we are not close to an agreement.”
A crucial factor is Wenger’s pursuit of another central defender. And Carl Jenkinson being replied upon as Sagna’s stand-in. One thing is for sure: The manager’s summer-long game of chess will continue until the last second of the transfer window.
Long before then, though, expect Arsenal and Sagna to agree terms on a new deal.