Arsenal FC: 4 Possible Replacements for Bacary Sagna
According to David Kent of the Mail Online, Sagna's £100,000-a-week wage demands have not been met by Arsenal, while Arsene Wenger has expressed that he's growing increasingly less confident of Sagna extending his current deal, as per David Hytner of The Guardian.
As the French international's contract expires at the end of this season, he could leave the club on a free, meaning Arsenal would need to replace the right back in the summer transfer window.
Here are four possible replacements for Sagna.
At 21 years old, Serge Aurier would represent a long-term replacement for Sagna.
Aurier has had a breakout season for Toulouse, notching up six goals and six assists in 31 Ligue 1 appearances. While he's primarily a right-back, versatility is one of his strengths as he often plays as more of a right midfielder. He is comfortable in any position across the back four.
The right-back has already been capped by the Ivory Coast seven times, and he is set to play a key role in The Elephants' 2014 World Cup campaign.
Although his lack of experience at the highest level means it could be a risk throwing Aurier straight into the deep end of a grueling Premier League campaign, the Ivorian is physically imposing both in the air and on the ground.
He suits Arsenal's style of play, too, as he's always looking to make forward runs and put crosses into the box.
Aurier has stated, via Foot Mercato (h/t Sky Sports) that he wouldn't be able to refuse a move to Arsenal, and considering his age as well as the fact that he plays in Ligue 1, he seems like a classic Wenger signing.
While the likes of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku have stolen the headlines for Everton's success this season, the Blues attacking full-backs have been just as important to Everton's style of attacking football.
Along with Leighton Baines and the now-injured Bryan Oviedo, Seamus Coleman has been a key cog in Roberto Martinez's side. While he defends tidily, Coleman's attacking contributions have been the most impressive side of his game.
The 25-year-old has scored six goals this season, including some stunning strikes, and he has notched up two assists.
While Alan Nixon of The Mirror has linked him to Arsenal in the past, Coleman will be hot property this summer, having just been named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year.
The Republic of Ireland international would be an ideal signing for Arsenal, but he is one of the more far-fetched targets.
Unlike Aurier and Coleman, Lukasz Piszczek would be less of a long-term replacement for Sagna, considering the Pole will be 29 years old in June.
That being said, experience might not be such a bad thing. Piszczek has been a key player for Borussia Dortmund in the past few seasons, and his Champions League experience is something neither Aurier nor Coleman have.
While injuries have limited him to just 17 starts in all competitions this season, Piszczek remains one of the finest right-backs in the Bundesliga, if not in all of world football. The fact that he's an attack-minded defender means he would fit perfectly into Arsenal's style of play; in fact, he probably has an extra yard of pace on Sagna.
Metro's Jamie Sanderson has reported that Arsenal have made Piszczek their priority should Sagna leave the club, and it's certainly a signing that the Gunners could pull off.
Funnily enough, the perfect replacement for Sagna is Sagna.
The Frenchman has arguably been Arsenal's most consistent player since he arrived in 2007. Even when his performances dipped following two leg breaks in the 2011-12 season, Sagna always put in 100 percent.
The former Auxerre man has been a key member of Arsenal's tight back four this season, solid in defense but also getting forward well. In fact, he's often had to carry the Gunners attacks down the right-hand side due to Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky often cutting in rather than staying wide.
Sagna has done an admirable job though, and he is capable of delivering a wicked cross on his day.
It's obvious Arsenal should stump up and give Sagna the contract he wants, but unfortunately, the club has a tendency to be stubborn when it comes to negotiating contracts.
No matter what happens with Sagna's contract, both Arsenal and the fans will be thankful for his loyalty and commitment over the past seven years.