Bacary Sagna could be on his way out of the Emirates after admitting that his contract talks with Arsenal have stalled.
The French right-back has been in north London since making the switch from Auxerre in 2007 but has admitted to europe1.fr that his tenure could be at an end, as reported by Sky Sports:
I'm out of contract, as everyone knows. I still consider myself as an Arsenal player at present.
But actually we had a small problem to agree (a new deal), and I don't think I stay at Arsenal at the end of the season.
Wenger certainly seems condemned to the prospect of losing Sagna, who recently made his 200th appearance for the Gunners. Speaking to London24, Wenger said:
"I will have to accept it (if he leaves) because only he can decide that now. If he goes, we will accept it. We will accept it and respond."
And reports suggest that Sagna would have no shortage of suitors. David Kent of the Daily Mail reports that Sagna's representatives have already spoken with Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Galatasaray. But the French international is thought to favour a move to a Premier League side.
Which player would you prefer to see at the Emirates next season?
That attitude has alerted Manchester City to Sagna's availability. Should he complete a move, he would join Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri in making the journey from north London to the Etihad.
While Sagna moving to Premier League rivals City would be a blow, Wenger is working on a replacement. The Metro reported in April that Serge Aurier was being lined up for a £10 million move to the Emirates, and the departure of Sagna would make that move all the more likely:
It’s said that Wenger held a two-hour meeting with the representative to discuss the Ivory Coast-born right-back, with negotiations going smoothly.
The Toulouse man is highly thought of in French football and would mark a direct replacement for Sagna. Able to be deployed on the right wing or even at left-back, Aurier has several strings to a considerable bow and would bring versatility to a threadbare Arsenal squad.
The Ivorian was recently nominated for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year and would bring a goalscoring threat to the Emirates that Sagna lacked. Hitting eight goals in his 70 games for Toulouse, Aurier is not afraid of using his searing pace to get forward and create and indeed convert opportunities.
And if there were any doubts as to whether he would be open to a move to the Emirates, this Arsenal Fan Talk tweet should put to bed any concerns:
Serge Aurier would be a great replacement for Bacary Sagna. pic.twitter.com/5vgpuDCkn1— Arsenal Fan Talk (@AFCFanTalk) May 10, 2014
But Sagna's departure should not detract from Arsenal's main cause for concern in the coming season.
Despite an admirable campaign leading the line for the Gunners in which he has scored 16 goals, Olivier Giroud cannot shoulder the striking burden alone. One look at a substitutes bench on which Nicklas Bendtner now sits should be the only incentive Wenger needs to step up his search for the world-class striker Arsenal have been so desperately craving since the departure of Thierry Henry.