Saturday 24 February 2018

Arsene Wenger dismisses 'illegal' Manchester City approach for Bacary Sagna

Bacary Sagna is a target for Manchester City and Inter Milan
Bacary Sagna is a target for Manchester City and Inter Milan

Arsene Wenger remains confident that defender Bacary Sagna will remain with Arsenal beyond the end of the season, even though his contract expires in the summer meaning he is free to negotiate a move to another club.

Italian side Inter Milan have already made an approach for the France international – which is said by the Serie A club to have been rejected – while there is also interest coming from Manchester City.

The Gunners remain keen on keeping Sagna, who joined the club in 2007, but negotiations have been hampered by their refusal to offer the right-back the three-year deal he is seeking. Instead, Arsenal have offered a two-year contract with Wenger’s policy of offering short-term deals to players over the age of 30 standing prominently in the way of negotiations once again.

Speaking about the situation regarding Sagna’s contract at a pre-match press conference, Wenger said: “There is an offer. He has not come back to us yet.

“I'm confident Sagna will stay but we will accept his decision and go with it,” he added, with reported interest also coming from Liverpool and Tottenham – though the latter is believed to be a no-goer due to Sagna’s long spell with Spurs’ north London rivals.

Wenger also acknowledged reports that City have offered Sagna a three-year contract, with The Guardian reporting that the Frenchman could be the latest Gunner to head north and join the Etihad outfit. Arsenal supporters have been infuriated in recent seasons by the conveyor belt taking some of their biggest names to the city of Manchester, with Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor all leaving London for City, while former captain Robin van Persie also headed to Manchester to lead Manchester United to Premier League glory last season.

The 64-year-old Frenchman stated that any approach to Sagna from Premier League clubs would convene the ruling that player’s cannot negotiate a domestic move until the third Saturday in May, five weeks before a contract runs out in order to avoid any conflict of interests when a player could potentially play against the club he is about to join.

When questioned whether Sagna had been offered a three-year contract, Wenger said firmly: “That cannot be right because it’s illegal,” before grinning prominently.

He explained that while the desire to only offer over-30’s a one-year extension, the ruling does not necessarily apply to defenders.

“Not for the defenders, necessarily,” Wenger explained. “It depends. It’s a general law in our club, yes. But it’s not a stupid law. We look at individual cases and adapt to the individual.”

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