Three Arsenal targets who can replace Man City-bound Bacary Sagna
Paddy Dinham takes a look at three World Cup stars who can replace Manchester City-bound Bacary Sagna at Arsenal
Mattia De Sciglio
A product of AC Milan’s Primareva academy side, 21-year-old Mattia De Sciglio is developing into one of the brightest young full-backs in the world. He was the annoying little nuisance wearing the number two for Italy against England in their World Cup opener. The rise from youth team to international star has been a fairly meteoric one for the second-youngest outfield member of the Azzuri’s squad in Brazil. He has only been a first-team fixture with i Rossoneri for two seasons, the second of which was hampered by injuries, but has already developed into a standout player during a troublesome time for the club. He has even been labelled as the next Paolo Maldini for his composed and intelligent defending. Although he is yet to score a senior goal, he can also contribute going forward, but would no doubt be brought in predominantly for his capabilities at the back. With Juventus currently monopolising the Serie A title, De Sciglio may be drawn by the lure of Champions League football and the possibility of trophies but his loyalty to his hometown side and his asking price could prove to be stumbling blocks. The youngster would be unlikely to come much cheaper than £15m, which may deter perennial bargain hunter Arsene Wenger.
A member of the Dutch side currently taking the World Cup by storm, Daryl Janmaat looks an exciting proposition for any top-half Premier League side. His current club, Feyenoord, are not in the best financial position so he may be available at a somewhat premium price and the player himself would be desperate for a move, not least since the departure of their talismanic manager Ronald Koeman. The 24-year-old has been a virtual ever-present in helping the fallen giants of Dutch football once again challenge for honours and now seems more than capable of making the step up to English football. He also boasts a reasonable goals tally for a full-back, with 10 league strikes in the last four seasons and could contribute to Arsenal’s attacking style of football as he has done for the Netherlands. He has the stamina required to play in the demanding wing-back role for the national side and looks every bit the part of the highest stage. The only question would be whether he can step up to the Premier League defensively, with Australia breaching Holland’s defence twice, including a penalty from a Janmaat handball. If Wenger is confident he can improve his game however, he could prove a steal.
Another youngster and probably the most like-for-like replacement for Sagna. Strong, lightning quick and possessing a good cross, he would be the most likely to supply ammunition for a striker like Olivier Giroud who thrives off crosses. Serge Aurier provided the assists for both of Ivory Coast’s goals in their World Cup turnaround victory against Japan and looked a real threat throughout. He is not shy of getting on the score sheet himself either, with a goal record of around one in every eight games for his current club Toulouse. At 21, he is only going to get better, not least under the tutelage of an experienced coach like Wenger. He would fit nicely into the balance of the squad as a natural French speaker too. The real concern for Gunners fans though is that neither his national nor club sides look particularly stable at the back, with Toulouse having the second-worst defensive record outside of the relegated teams despite finishing ninth. Wenger obviously sees something he likes in Aurier however, he would be the most typical Arsenal signing and he is the current favourite to be anointed as Sagna’s heir. He is supposedly available for around £7.5m.