Arsenal FC have shortlisted two potential replacements for Bacary Sagna, who is expected to leave at the end of this season – Roberto Rosales and Šime Vrsaljko.
If reports are to be believed Bacary Sagna’s six year stint at the club will come to an end at the end of this season. Sagna’s current contract will expire in June 2014 and talks regarding an extension haven’t yielded any result so far. Arsenal have a strict policy about offering only a one year extension to players above the age of thirty. Sagna on the other hand wants a longer contract as he sees this as the opportunity to sign the last big contract of his career.
PSG, Monaco, AC Milan, Inter and Galatasaray are all monitoring his situation right now and will make their move in the January transfer window. Sagna will be eligible to hold talks with any interested club in January and could agree to a pre-contract. Although Arsene Wenger is desperate to hold on to the experienced defender, reports suggest that the 30-year-old has already informed the club about his decision to leave next season.
Sagna has arguably been Arsenal’s most consistent player at the club in the last 3-4 seasons. His departure will leave a big hole in the defence. Carl Jenkinson is still inexperienced and has been shaky defensively whenever he has been given the opportunity. Arsene Wenger has already asked his scouts to shortlist suitable replacements for Sagna and reports suggest that the Gunners are currently interested in Roberto Rosales and Šime Vrsaljko.
Roberto Rosales currently plays for the Dutch team FC Twente and the 24-year-old has already made 41 appearances for Venezuela in the international stage. Roberto Rosales is part of the meanest defence in the Eredivisie this season and FC Twente are currently leading the points table as well. One of his biggest strength is his versatility as he can also play as a left back or as a right midfielder. Interestingly, FC Twente and Rosales are facing similar contract situation like Sagna and Arsenal. Rosales’ current contract ends at the end of next season and he is yet to sign an extension. Which means the Venezuelan international can be signed for free at the end of the season.
The other right back that Arsenal are monitoring at the moment is Šime Vrsaljko. The 21-year-old is highly rated back in Croatia and is considered to be one of the best young full backs in Europe. Vrsaljko signed for Italian club Genoa on three months back, but he has already been linked with a move away from Liguria.
Inter are monitoring his progress and now Arsenal have joined the race for his signature as well. Interestingly, this is not the first time the Gunners have shown interest in the Croatian international as Šime Vrsaljko has been scouted by them since the age of sixteen. Arsenal scouts were in the stands to watch him in the recently concluded match between Croatia and Belgium and reports suggest Arsene Wenger could make a move for him in the winter.
Genoa manager Gian Piero Gasperini is aware of Arsenal’s interest, but has insisted that the club won’t sell any player midway through the season.
“They [ Arsenal ] want him, but this January? We need all our players available. It is important everyone stays together.” – Gasperini was quoted in press.
The defender’s agent has also insisted that Vrsaljko is happy at Genoa and the decision to sell him is with the club.
“Playing for Genoa is an honour for him and he’s very happy here. Will he leave in January or June? It’s hard to say now because it’s up to the club.” – Nikky Vuksan, his agent, said.
Šime Vrsaljko has earlier stated his desire to gain experience at Genoa. He insisted that the prime reason to join the Italian club was because they provide opportunities to young players. For him regular first team action is more important than signing for a big club at this phase of his career. Arsenal will be able to guarantee him regular first team action if and when Sagna departs, but he might cost them a fortune considering the big contract signed with the Italian club at the start of this season. Genoa are also unlikely to entertain any offer for him in January as they are currently struggling near the bottom of the table and would need all their key players to avoid a relegation scrap.