After revealing that Bacary Sagna was closing in on a return to first team action, Arsene Wenger also spoke robustly about the comments made by his compatriot in a recent interview.
Speaking to L’Equipe during the international break, the right-back openly made clear his dismay at Arsenal’s policy of selling its best players and revealed that nobody from the club had approached him about a new contract.
“I had a chat with him about it,” said Wenger sternly in his pre-Southampton press conference. “I think he loves the club and he will stay here.”
Pressed by a second journalist as to whether he was disappointed with the manner in which Sagna chose to publicise his concerns, the boss laid down the gauntlet not just to Sagna, but to any disaffected players in his squad.
“I believe any player or any employee has to defend the company he works for and if he’s not completely happy with it he has to go somewhere else. That’s basically what I think.”
“This is what I tell everybody,” he retorted, when asked whether he’d made such sentiments clear to Sagna.
Wenger then clarified that a new contract for the player will be discussed.
“I expect him to stay and I want him to stay because the interview doesn’t reflect at all what he thinks about the club and the love he has for this club.
“When he is on the football pitch Bacary Sagna has always shown total commitment to the team and the club and that is for me much more important than a little bit of a twisted article in a newspaper.”
It’s noteworthy that Wenger hints at the article being ‘twisted’, despite the club confirming just days ago that the player was happy with the final copy of the interview. Perhaps Sagna wilted a little when one-on-one with Wenger.
If you get a chance to watch the press conference on Arsenal Player, you won’t fail to notice the boss’ bristling tone when first pushed on the subject; it’s obvious he is not pleased with the decision to go public and you can hardly blame him. His judgement has been called into question by someone who works for him.
We’ll have to wait and see whether this incident has an impact on Sagna’s time at the club, but you can’t help but think strained relations aren’t a great basis for future contract negotiations.