In recent years, Arsenal have been lucky enough to have a line of very good right backs in their ranks. From the English bite of Lee Dixon to the undying passion of Lauren to the total commitment of Bacary Sagna, the right side of defence has not been a problematic position for Arsenal for quite some time. Sadly though, with Bacary Sagna’s contract up in the summer of 2014, and with no sign that their has been a contract offer to Sagna by the club, you can place a bet at William Hill that he will be heading to pastures new at some point this summer. Many believe so. It just looks the case.
Sagna has been a great servant to the club for six years since he joined from French club Auxerre in 2007. His energy, determination and talent have made him a huge asset, but with two leg breaks in the 2011-12 season, he has unfortunately lost his energy and ability to boss the right side of the pitch as effectively as he once could.
I still harbour hopes that he will sign a new deal as, while he may not be the player he was, he is an experienced member of the squad and knows the club inside out – proved when he referred to Spurs as ‘the enemy’ after beating them 5-2 in the 2011-12 season.
Furthermore, he can fill in at centre back if needed and is capable of putting in a shift at right back. Should this not happen, though, which looks increasing likely, he has to be replaced well. Some have suggested simply promoting Hector Bellerin to the first team squad and letting Carl Jenkinson take over as first choice right back. While I rate both of these players and I think both have futures at Arsenal, neither are completely ready for these roles in my opinion and an experienced professional is needed to guide these two young, talented defenders.
So who to replace Sagna with? Well, for me his successor must be a rock solid defender as Bac is and has to have enough experience to immediately slot in as first-choice right back with no problems or adjustment time. A strong attacking side of his game would also be welcome, as if Sagna had a weakness, it was his final ball when he gets into a good position, although being solid defensively must be the priority.
My number one choice to fill the gap Sagna will likely leave would be Micah Richards of Manchester City. He is perfect for this role. He is at the right age, has Premier League experience, is English so would fit in with the club’s British core and has already won trophies in England. Although I think it is unlikely Manchester City would part with such a brilliant player. Lukas Piszczek of Borussia Dortmund is another option but he recently signed a contract extension until 2017 and Dortmund will not want to sell another one of their key players so that is also a long shot.
Angel Rangel is an option, he was mentioned last summer and has had a very good second season in the Premier League with Swansea and could want to make the step up to a bigger club, but would he opt against playing European football with Swansea next season?
Whoever Arsene chooses to be Sagna’s replacement, I hope he is up to the task of taking over from a player who has repeatedly been chosen in the PFA team of the year and is as consistent as Bac has been for the last 6 years.
Written by Charlie Smith
Follow Charlie on Twitter @cjs_afc
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