Bacary Sagna is the latest Arsenal player to be upset by the club's charitable donations to Manchester. It is imperative the Gunners ward off any interest from Inter Milan if they are to achieve success this season.
Arsenal's stunning start to the season is largely down to their improved defensive capabilities. Steve Bould was promoted from within and as a result; the Gunners have certainly looked far more difficult to breakdown, a statement the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City will testify towards.
The likes of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and, perhaps more importantly, Carl Jenkinson following the enforced absence of the usual guaranteed starter; Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman is yet to make an appearance for Arsenal this campaign having broken his leg for a second time during the final home game of last season against Norwich City.
Sagna initially broke his leg during last season's 2-1 defeat to rivals Tottenham Hotspur in October and without him, it's no surprise the Gunners. While he was out, particularly in the first month of 2012 as they shipped seven league goals during three successive beatings as he watched from the sidelines.
Above all the former Auxerre man brings fantastic fitness, classy crossing and a determination and desire to succeed
‘Bac’, as he is known to team-mates, was still finding his form as Arsenal went out of the F.A. Cup at Sunderland and Milan took a four goal lead in the Champions League two-legger. However he played a crucial role in the steadying of the Emirates ship since for the remainder of the campaign as the Gunners surged to a third place finish.
Above all the former Auxerre man brings fantastic fitness, classy crossing and a determination and desire to succeed to the side that is conspicuous by its absence when he is not part of the eleven.
Sagna sparked Arsenal’s memorable comeback in the 5-2 win against Spurs with a thundering header that flashed past Brad Friedel. His was the first goal in an incredible 30 minute salvo that saw the home side fire a quintet past their bitter local rivals.
In the next game it was Bac’s peach of a cross against Liverpool that allowed Van Persie the opportunity to level the scores, in a game which Arsenal ‘nicked’ in stoppage time, according to their captain. The Gunners were not caught for the theft however, and returned to Highbury and Islington with two wins from two in the league, reinvigorated with belief.
Fully committed to the cause but uninterested in confrontation or aggression
The Frenchman played his part in the defence that blocked out Milan during the 3-0 return leg of the Champions League at the Emirates. It wasn’t enough to see his side progress, but it was becoming clearer with every game how influential he was to an often unreliable back line.
Last season's 2-1 win over Newcastle saw the father-of-two produce a more attacking performance, excellently winning a flick on header to set away Theo Walcott early on, whose cross for Van Persie went begging.
Arsenal went behind to the Geordie outfit after a brilliant individual effort from countryman Hatem Ben Afra, but 45 seconds later Sagna was driving his side’s equaliser, urgently moving the ball up field for Thomas Rosicky to play in Walcott, who crossed for RVP again. This time the Dutchman made sure, bringing the game back to 1-1.
Vermaelen made it four league comebacks in four in the 95th minute of stoppage time, sending the crowd wild with an enthralling finish to the game.
After the match ugly scenes marred a spectacular ending, as RVP clashed with fellow Dutchman Tim Krul. As things began to turn nasty, Sagna could be seen shouting at his team-mates to walk away and avoid any unnecessary handbags.
That sums Bacary up as a player and a person. Fully committed to the cause but uninterested in confrontation or aggression, the Gunners’ best right back since Lee Dixon is a model professional and one that the club missed greatly during his time on the treatment table earlier in the season.
Sagna could be seen shouting at his team-mates to walk away and avoid any unnecessary handbags
With 32 international caps for Les Blues, Sagna would have been guaranteed a place in Laurent Blanc's Euro 2012 squad had he not suffered the aforementioned leg break against the Canaries. The Sens born defender was left out of the French team’s surprising 2-1 win over Germany back in February, but was expected to play a big part in the Poland and Ukraine championships over the summer after getting back to his best form with Arsenal.
Sagna is quite clearly his country’s most senior right-back, and it is often suggested that he is the best player in his position in the Premier League.
Whilst you would be hard pressed to find many right sided full-backs better than Bac, Micah Richards’ red hot form this season for title challengers Manchester City would certainly give Arsenal’s number three a run for his money.
Aside from Richards, most of the field pale in comparison however. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, Tottenham’s Kyle Walker and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic probably come closest, but Sagna’s abilities defensively and offensively dwarf the competition.
Bacary Sagna is a key component of this rejuvenated and reinvigorated Arsenal side, and he deserves praise for his invaluable contribution to the Gunners’ recent success and it is no surprise that Inter Milan have been credited with an interest in the 29-year-old.
The Milan outfit, despite the acquisition of Alvaro Pereira, will be looking for an experienced full-back to fill the void that Maicon, who departed for Manchester City, has left. With Sagna contemplating his future at the Emirates, Inter will be desperate to convince the Frenchman that his future lies in Italy.
However, if Arsenal are to push on from their excellent start to the season, they will need to keep hold of the 29-year-old. Granted, he may be sidelined at present, but Sagna's calming influence in the back-line is exactly what the Gunners will need as the season drags on. Warding off the interest from Inter will be pivotal by the time the transfer window re-opens. The best way to do that will be for the north London giants to continue progressing this campaign and establish themselves as genuine title contenders once again.
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