Arsenal's players embrace before kick-off

We all want Broke Bac Mountain to say “I wish I knew how to quit you”

Bacary Sagna spoke to L’Equipe for no discernible reason and somewhat controversially stated that A) he wants a new contract and B) he seriously is getting old and would love it, LOVE IT, if Arsenal would just give him a new contract. Also, C) France didn’t actually suck in the Euros but Les Blues “players are a little too sensitive and need to learn to take criticism on board.”

I say that he spoke to L’Equipe for no discernible reason because here is a player out with a broken leg from Bradley Johnson’s deliberate stamp who is not playing for Les Blues or Arsenal at the moment. Why talk now? Actually Tim Stillman who writes a weekly column for Arseblog did discern a reason for Sagna’s “blast” and published his findings on twitter: turns out that Bacary Sagna is in the penultimate season of his contract and would like it very much if he could have a new contract.

On September first Matt Law published an article about the hot topic of the moment in the Arsenal world, contract negotiations. Theo is apparently not negotiating one (and will be off to Juventus on a pre-contract in January), but The Ox is, and at the end of the article, Matt Law suggests that Arsenal, Sagna and Gibbs are negotiating.

With published reports that Arsenal are talking to Sagna about a new contract in hand, and probably sensing an opportunity to turn the screws a bit because of the Goonersphere’s jumpiness when it comes to Arsenal losing players in the last year of their contract, Sagna’s agent no doubt placed Bacary in an interview room with L’Equipe where he dropped the “N-Bomb”… are Arsenal negotiating a new deal with you Bacary? “NO.”

A firestorm ensued on twitter, and I suppose at the water cooler at work, as translations of the interview began to be republished in various news outlets.

Further kicking the hornets nest, Sagna claimed that he wants what Nasri and Clichy have (an open bus parade) and that they were right to leave the club (because they won trophies). This is a sentiment that I’ve seen from Ian Wright and others on twitter as well. Speaking about Robin van Persie, Wrighty said the Dutchman would be vindicated if he wins something with Man U. Predictably, he was beaten roundly for having that opinion.

It’s a difficult point to argue against, this “trophyism”. After all, us fans want trophies too and trophies are only won by competitive players and competitive players want to win trophies. It’s a vicious cycle.

There are some who will point out that wanting trophies and needing trophies to love a club are two different things: a sentiment that is as true as rain in London. But what love can we expect for the club from a professional footballer? Are they expected to love a club the same way that we do? As Arsene Wenger said last Thursday when talking about Walcott’s love for Arsenal “I’m sure that Walcott loves the club, how much I don’t know, there has yet to be built a machine which can measure love.”

Sentimentally, I wish that all the players loved Arsenal as much as we all do. I wish that they all were as excited about living in London and being part of Arsenal the way that Olivier Giroud is — so enthused that he is learning English, very well I might add. I wish that they would all just automatically sign any contract Arsenal put in front of them the way that Vermaelen, Koscielny, and Tony Adams have.

But cynically, that might just be a bit much to ask. Some players will love our club as much as we do and we should honor them with songs and by buying their shirt in the Armoury — I suspect this is the case with Vermaelen. Some players are going to use Arsenal as a step up to a bumper payday and that’s always been the case (though greatly distorted now by TV revenue and Sugar Daddies) – this was what Adebayor and Nasri did.  Some players are going to play football just for the trophies or for their own personal glory — despite his pay increase, I suspect this is the case with van Persie as you saw when he gleefully celebrated his hat-trick in front of the same Man U fans who called him a rapist just 6 months go. And some players are just going to be workmen about their career and ask to get paid what they think they deserve — my guess is this is Sagna.

I think this because he is the most workman-like player that Arsenal have on the pitch. He’s spoken of trophies before but uncharacteristic of the quotes above, he said he wants to win a trophy for Arsene Wenger, to repay him the faith he has shown in the team.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s changed his mind and this interview with L’Equipe was the first salvo in a battle to get a transfer to Man City, Chelsea, or Barcelona. But more likely than not, it’s a 29 year old who just wants a new contract going to the foreign press and using them to put pressure on Arsenal’s negotiations.

I like Sagna, he’s a critical part of the team, and I can’t wait to see the club release a picture of him signing a new contract. Right after he gets back on the pitch and pumps in some crosses too Olivier Giroud.



21 thoughts on “We all want Broke Bac Mountain to say “I wish I knew how to quit you”

  1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ickenham gooner

    I would be very depressed if Sagna were to leave.

    I really like his attitude on the pitch and feel he would be a good example to Jenkinson as the younger man takes over being first choice in the next 3/4 years.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      It would be useful to retain Sagna for another 3 seasons but somehow I see it as unlikely

      Next summer, we will be facing legacy issues with both flanks at the back.

      Both Santos and Sagna will be pushing 30/31.

      Of the two, I would consider the Brasilian more urgent to replacement. However Sagna will be an easier sell.

      One of our (purported) targets that was interesting this summer was Yanga Mbiwa.

      he is a big lad (6’1) and quick with good reading of the game. He also plays across the defense.

      I would think if his performance continues this season as captain of Montpellier that he would be a very useful addition for us. He could at very least replace one of the older fullbacks and we could then either develop (depending liekly on Gibbs) or replace from market with a specialist) later down the line if need be.

      1. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

        You mean that if we sold Sagna and the replacement is Mbiwa, he will be a back up to Jenks at RB? It might be true but i think Mbiwa might be a replacement for one of our CB and I’m guessing it might be Vermaelen. He will be off to Barca to replace Puyol next season. That’s just a rough prediction and hopefully not going to happen.

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dick Swiveller

    I would guess as contract negotiations go on he’ll be considering his future and looking at everything around him, that’s pretty natural and giving an honest answer to what he’s considering makes a little more sense to me than using it as something of a gambit, no reason why it can’t be both though.

    At the moment I’m of the opinion that the one guy our defence can’t do without hasn’t actually played in the Arsenal defence for 15 years, 3 clean sheets and no Bac in sight. I know modern full-backs can’t be judged purely on defensive numbers but it’s encouraging to see that we can manage without him, though obviously I want him to stick around for a while longer.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1LMG

        God dammit, you’ve now got Bird and Dizzy stuck in my head now. Not necessarily a bad thing but this shit lasts for a week to a month

  3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Although Jenkinson has played well, ideally our back-up RB would be at least as good as our back-up LB (Santos). Maybe that’s living in a dream world, but why can’t I dream? And why can’t Arsenal afford the £6-8m it would take to get such a player? What happened to the van der Wiel rumors? Did they shrivel up like an old grape left too long in the sun? Also called a raisin?

    I have a funny feeling Sagna will be sold next summer, and instead of buying a like-for-like (or nearly so) quality player, Wenger will–as is typically his wont–promote an inferior candidate from within (i.e., Jenkinson, who is, again, a player with clear potential, but still rare to medium rare as far as steaks go…if he was a steak).

    Anyway, I don’t suppose it’s worth worrying about until it happens. And sometimes I get funny feelings that don’t come to fruition, like in grade 10 when I had a funny feeling that Jennifer Sicinski liked me more than a friend, and then it turned out she didn’t, but not before I made the embarrassing admission that I liked her more than a friend. I sure do miss being a teenager.

  4. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1marek

    Sagna leaving would hurt. If a homesick boy leaves, that’s understandable. If money-grubbing players leave, that’s understandable, and perhaps a good thing. If a world-class striker getting close to 30 leaves for, presumably, a better chance at some trophies, that’s kinda understandable. But if the consistent, silent, hard-working, heretofore loyal defender starts talking disillusionment…

  5. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    “Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal chairman, has admitted the club “can’t compete” in the transfer market with their Premier League top-four rivals.”
    Everyone reported this yesterday, this happens to be from The Telegraph.

    I feel management has drawn the proverbial line in the sand to all those (supporters, press, players) who want money to be spent. This pronouncement probably extends to to spending money on retaining wantaway players.

    Many of us feel that we should spend available cash and not overly profit from transfers, but that argument with which I heartily concur, has already been well made in this blog.

    In other words, my sinking feeling is that the exodus may get worse before it gets better. Wenger is nothing if not stubborn, and the more players express their “trophyism” and their dissatisfaction, the more often they will be shown the door, not the other way around.

    Not to say that there won’t be negotiations in good faith between player and club, but the message is already out there: we can’t compete with Russian oligarch sugar daddies petrodollars.

    I haven’t washed my hands of Sagna by any means yet, but of all the players who have left recently, I may rue his absence the most.

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      To be more accurate, what he said was we cannot compete at a certain level, which is reality.

      We cannot match the wages (or transfer fees) fo thePetro rich clubs.

      However, we can afford to be more competitive retaining our players (as I don’t believe all of them are hankering for quite the same sort of renumeration at the top money clubs as one is lead to believe)

      We can also afford to increase our maximum in terms of money spent on transfers (to say the low 20m) in a season or two to come to see off competition from second tier clubs (the Liverpools and Spurs of the world), if proviso the player is deeemed an absolute must.

      Finally, I think we can afford to have a more pro-active reunumeration system where certain top performers might be afforded generous “Performance bonus” to help bridge the income gap when they are still within contract and if we do not want to stretch ourselves with renegotiating at that point. This would at very least create an incentive for the rest of the squad to compete.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1T-Town

    Time to be a little more pragmatic about these things. They are employees of the club, and that is one way towards negotiating a better deal.
    If you had this type of leverage to get a pay raise at your work, you’d use it too.
    These guys get paid based on performance and the needs of the club, and the club people are not stupid – especially not at our beloved penny-pinching Arsenal.

    1. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      On the flip side, the club needs to generate income.

      Sales of players (particularly those in demand) are key.

      the question Sagna is asking is where do we draw the line?

      We can envisage that the RVP situation is a likley lost cause. That would bring (and I thought we were lucky purely because we relented to United) 22.5m quid.

      I don’t like the sale to United but that is good useful money for us.

      OTOH, did we really need the 15m for the other sale. I’d say considering his contract and how important a function he is for us (regardless of Diaby), Alex went for a Song to Barca (and we didn’t even get Affelay in return)

  7. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    Sagna :

    I think he has a very valid point when he highlighted the fact that the Song sale is completely perplexing.

    1)This is a player who would have continued to add experience and strength in midfield (in concert with Diaby and Arteta with Coquelin developing)

    2)As good as Diaby has been, there are worries about his durability. Song provided us with a different tool in midfield working next to Arteta and in front of the back 4.

    3) He was still under contract for 3 seasons.

    4) Considering (rumoured of course) the money he was asking wasn’t a aterrible hike from the 55K he was getting (80K was his ask) and Sahin would have cost us at least as much (not to mention issues with integrating), it seems to me that we are handicapped by our own dogma.

    On his performance lastseason, we could have at very least provided for a ‘performance’ bonus to bridge the income gap till next summer when we could promise to review the contract.

    I think that as much as we find RVP’s actions mmoving to United hideous (and I don’t condone it), there is some validity beneath the surface to his criticism on our ambition.

    I don’t expect us to have fought tooth and nail for RVP but there should be an inquiry into how we could have better prevented our top asset from finally going into the hands of a top rival in the PL.

    AND we should have had better punch when coming to contract talks with Song who was 3 seasons at best from rundown.

    The current Walcott situation seems exxacerbated by all the previous precendence.

    Simply put, PHW is right in that we cannot compete against the top money clubs when it comes to wages.

    130K (for RVP) pales in comparison to the 200K some clubs can pay.

    But Walcott (if rumours are correct) isn’t looking for anything more than 100K

    Now in his case, I do not think he occupies as ciritical a node in the team as Song did. Therefore he is ultimately expendable.

    However, if we have come to that conclusion (and I am not sure why we would take to long to reach one), then why have we not been more firm, put a gun to his agent’s head and told him to either sign on the dotted line come first day of season or we will replace?

    I simply don’t understand why we are being pushed around by players other than the fact that we have made our position weaker in caving in to certain pressures prematurely.

    Clearly (and this is the second season running), we need to look deep into our dealings again this summer and find out why we are having similar retention issues at the club.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

      From the report that i had read, we actually offer better term to RvP compare to other teams. The problem is the player refusing to sign it. To some extent we do have a value for everybody so if Arsene don’t see him worth that sum of money then.he won’t offer more then what he is worth. Basically Sagna will get offer which will depend on if he can agree on the valuation of him from the club.

  8. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    On player loyalty :

    lest we forget, everyones’ current favorite Santi cazorla rejected us for Malaga just last summer.

    The sooner we get over this fantasy of players being loyal to club the better.

    It is all about dollars and sense (well…to some);)

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    The French physios I believe took a shot at Arsenal’s physios when they said that Diaby’s (R) leg was like a 10yo kid’s. Thus in his rehab, his injured leg was not built up enough to have muscle balance with his left and that was why he was sustaining recurrent injuries. Rosicky also had to have a German specialist figure out that he also had some kind of muscle imbalance. If and when Fabregas plays regularly I’ll be curious to see if he gets those recurrent hamstrings injuries.

  10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jack

    With regard to your point about the RVP rapist chants from the United fans, I agree because – as you say – I believe he’s only interested in winning trophies or earning big money, at the end of the day, to him, I believe he sees it as just his job and doesn’t care less what anyone thinks of him as long as he gets what he wants.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Skyranger

    When was the last time an Arsenal player had a testamonial? “The Emirates” – care home/finishing school!!

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