Reports suggest the Gunners’ star right-back is preparing a move away from the Emirates and will reject the chance to extend his tenure with the current Premier League leaders. Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail has the details:
Sportmail understands the 30-year-old has privately acknowledged that this will be his final season at the club—and is preparing for life away from London.
Given his age, this will be Sagna's last major contract and the right-back knows leaving on a free transfer offers him the best prospect of a hefty pay day.
Sagna has garnered the interest of clubs including Real Madrid and Manchester City since joining Arsenal in 2007, per Mokbel’s report. Talks between Sagna and the club have been ongoing since the summer, but Wenger is yet to convince his French compatriot that a future in England is his best decision.
As David Hytner of the The Guardian explains, Sagna has faced real adversity since exchanging Auxerre for Arsenal. The attacking full-back has been forced to deal with two broken legs and plenty of other niggling injuries but remains loyal to Wenger’s cause, as quoted in Hytner’s report during the summer:
I love my team, and I always give my best. I'm still here. Many people were talking about me going back to France but I'm still here and I'm looking forward to a big season with Arsenal.
Overcoming fitness problems for the current campaign, Sagna has started seven matches and appeared off the bench on one occasion this season, per WhoScored.
The defender netted in Arsenal’s recent 3-1 win over Stoke City and has played with consistency and confidence.
Carl Jenkinson was forced to deputise for his experienced colleague during the recent 1-1 draw with West Brom. Sagna’s current hamstring injury, as reported by Ben Curtis of the Mirror, sees the player miss the next three weeks of action. Luckily for Arsenal, one of those weeks is filled with international matches.
Should the right-back move on in the summer, Wenger must turn his attention to bringing in another world-class defender. Kieran Gibbs prefers to play on the left, while Jenkinson isn’t ready to hold down a season-long spot in a side that is pushing for silverware.
Replacing Sagna’s qualities is by no means an easy task, but Wenger may ultimately benefit from seeing the back of a player whose injury problems continue to mount.
Consistent absences only disrupt Arsenal’s development as a team, ensuring that offering Sagna anything beyond a one-year deal becomes something of a risk.