It seems Arsenal have abandoned hope of keeping the Frenchman beyond the summer. There has not been any news on his contractual situation for some time. Other senior players, such as Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky, have had their deals publicly confirmed. Sagna has remained silent. The growing suspicion is that if he was to sign, he would have done so by now.
Inevitably, Arsenal have begun to scour the world for a man capable of replacing Sagna. That’s no easy task. The France international possesses a remarkable combination of attributes. First and foremost, he is a superb athlete, making countless runs up and down the touchline without feeling any effects. The fact he has recovered from two broken legs to continue to play at an elite level is testament to his physical capacity.
He’s also an intelligent defender. From a positional perspective, full-back is one of the most complex positions in football. Sagna’s occasional errors are notable anomalies in a career characterised by consistency.
Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Eintracht Frankfurt defender Sebastian Jung after his agent admitted a summer move to the Gunners is on the cards.
And despite links with the likes of Lukasz Piszczek and Daryl Janmaat, Arsenal seem to have made 23-year-old Jung a key target.
According to reports in Germany, the Gunners are working on a £7million move for the full-back, and his agent has confirmed a switch to north London is on the cards.
It seems Arsenal are already putting the pieces in place to make official contact when the transfer window opens. Jung’s agent, Mino Grillo, told the same newspaper:
In England we know Arsenal are very strongly on his trail for the summer
They have had scouts watching him in the Bundesliga. There is was interest in the past from Inter, Roma and Milan, but no recent contact.
Arsenal scouts watching Jung will have observed a player with enormous attacking potential. Like Sagna, he has superb stamina and is able to single-handedly dominate his flank.
When play reaches the final third, Jung is arguably more effective than Arsenal’s current right-back. According to Squawka, Sagna’s 31 Premier League appearances have seen him create just 17 goalscoring opportunities. Only two of those chances have been converted to grant Sagna an assist.
Jung is nearly twice as productive. Squawka tells us that his 27 Bundesliga appearances have yielded 38 separate chances, with six assists. Adding Jung would almost certainly increase Arsenal’s attacking threat.
However, defensively, Jung remains a little suspect. He has won just 42 percent of his individual duels, and that figure is distorted by his superb record of succeeding with 69 percent of his attempted take-ons. It seems he is more of a dribbler than defender. For a full-back, a success rate of only 34 percent for tackling is alarmingly low.
To put that in perspective, Sagna wins 56 percent of his tackles. Another aspect of the Frenchman’s game that is often overlooked is his aerial prowess. He has won 67 percent of his headed duels this season; Jung trails behind with just 39 percent.
Jung is an exciting attacking prospect, but the deficiencies in the defensive side of his game are a worry. Arsenal will need to consider if Jung’s contribution in the final third outweighs his occasional lapses at the back before making a move to bring him to the Emirates.
All stats via Squawka.