Keeping Bacary Sagna Is More Important to Arsenal Than Signing Julian Draxler

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Bacary Sagna of Arsenal arrives for the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

With the January transfer window just weeks away, the rumour mill is spinning into overdrive. Today alone, Arsenal have been linked with buying one player and potentially losing another.

On the incoming front, The Telegraph suggests there could be a connection between Schalke's attacking midfielder Julian Draxler and Arsenal. Speaking during the recent international break, Draxler said:

I have always said English teams are very big clubs and Arsenal is of course one of them. Of course I sometimes speak to Mesut or Per about the team, about the club, and they always have good words and they tell me nice things.

However, it's not all good news for Arsenal fans.

The Daily Star links Napoli boss Rafael Benitez with a swoop for Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna. Right-back has been a problematic position for Benitez, who moved to sign Sagna's countryman Anthony Reveillere on a free transfer earlier this season. With Sagna's contract due to expire in the summer, Benitez might feel he can prise him away from Arsenal for a reasonable fee.

Arsenal must make it their absolute priority to retain Sagna in January.

His performances this season have been outstanding. The 2013/14 season has been something of a renaissance for Sagna, who struggled last year as he recovered from a broken leg.

At the moment, his deputy Carl Jenkinson does not convince as a full-time replacement. Finding a player with Sagna's consistency and experience in January would be next to impossible.

In an ideal world, Arsenal would find a way to extend Sagna's contract and keep him beyond the summer, too.

As for Draxler, there's no doubting that he's an outstanding prospect. He is capable of playing on either flank but prefers to be deployed as a central attacking midfielder, where he is a constant menace with his powerful left-footed shooting.

However, he is not necessarily a player Arsenal need. The list of individuals who are also capable of filling that No. 10 role is almost endless: Draxler's compatriots Mesut Ozil and Serge Gnabry, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all capable of playing there.

Furthermore, any move for Draxler seems destined to wait until the summer. The Schalke player has already stated, per The Telegraph:

I've said every summer I have to look what is the best for me and I will do in the summer again and we will see what happens. 

You never know what happens in the summer but Arsenal is a very, very nice team.

But I better not speak too much about it because tomorrow I can read that I like to play for Arsenal. I think the people at Schalke would not like to hear that.

It doesn't seem as if he's in any great rush to move. Arsenal's interest in Draxler can afford to wait.

In the short term, Arsenal should concentrate their efforts on getting Sagna tied to a new deal and recruiting in areas where their needs are more pronouncedsuch as centre-forward.