Why Bacary Sagna Deserves Warm Arsenal Send-off in Likely Final Emirates Game

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  Bacary Sagna of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on April 15, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal's match against West Brom appears likely to be Bacary Sagna's final home game in a Gunners shirt.

Asked recently about the status of contract negotiations with the full-back, Arsene Wenger did not sound particularly confident. Wenger told David Hytner of the Guardian:

At the moment, the talks are not progressing. We know what we want from him, he knows what is on the table, and that's where we are.

The ball is not in our camp any more. It is in his camp, and he needs to come back to us.

It now seems all but certain that Sagna will leave the Emirates Stadium this summer. If he was minded to sign a new deal, he surely would have done so before now.

Arsenal have already announced extensions for the likes of Per Mertesacker, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey. With each passing press release, the absence of Sagna's name became increasingly conspicuous.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Bacary Sagna of Arsenal tackles Wayne Routledge of Swansea City  during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on March 25, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Gett
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The damage may have been done some time ago. In September 2012, Sagna publicly questioned Arsenal's decision to sell both Robin van Persie and Alex Song. In a candid interview with L'Equipe (h/t the Guardian), Sagna said:

Everyone was expecting Robin van Persie to leave, but Alex Song, that was a surprise. I don't understand that at all. It is a big loss for the club.

When you see two of the best players from last season leave, you ask a lot of questions. I understand why the supporters are nervous.

I am the only starting player left from 2007. In May, I watched City's parade on TV. I saw Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy lift the trophy. I want that [feeling].

Sagna could yet chase that feeling all the way to Manchester. The same newspaper claims City have offered him a three-year deal with unsurprisingly lucrative terms.

For now, his potential destination remains a mystery. Arsenal fans will hope he chooses to move abroad; the sight of him lining up for another Premier League team would be acutely painful.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Bacary Sagna of Arsenal shows his dejection at the end of  the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Whatever Sagna's future, Arsenal fans should give him a tremendous ovation at the West Brom game. After the final home game of the season, the Gunners traditionally embark on a post-match lap of the ground. Every fan should stay in the ground to applaud a player who has been a tremendous servant since his arrival in 2007.

Sagna is unfortunate in that his time at Arsenal has coincided with a trophyless run. It's through no fault of his own: When the current Arsenal XI is compared with the great Gunners sides of the past, Sagna is regularly tipped as one of those who emerges favourably. He might even have ousted Lauren of the Invincibles.

There is still time for Sagna to claim a medal in Arsenal colours. On May 17, he will surely start his first FA Cup Final at Wembley.

Lifting the trophy may not be enough to convince Sagna to stay, but it would be a fitting end to a terrific Arsenal career.

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report’s lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.