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.