Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bakary Sagna: Arsene improves the defence.

First off, the customary pronunciation guide. Its Bacary (with a y, not an i) Sagna, so, using my rudimentary francophone skills, I imagine that would be pronounced back-a-ree san-ya. Not Sag-na, as he will inevitably be called.

So, where does old Bacary fit into to our motley collective down at the grove? Given that Arsene has paid a reported £7.5 million for him (around £6.1m upfront with £1.4 based on myriad performance objectives) I don't think he's the squad player that many fans and journalists are portraying him as, and I think he will, either immediately or very soon, become a first XI player. He's most comfortable, and played most of his football, at right-back, and whilst he has filled in at left-back and, I think, even occasionally at centre-half, I think right-back is where we going to see him.

He looks like a pretty big bloke; indeed, only someone with his build could pull off the frankly appalling hair-style he's currently modelling; one that makes him look slightly like The Predator, from the film of that name. I had conjectured, in fact, that the delay in the transfer might have been caused by Bacary cloaking himself, and then picking off Arsenal staff members, just like in the film. Only when Arnie was brought could Bacary be caged and the transfer complete.

But I digress.

I think he will be primarily deployed at right-back, and occasionally fill in on the left while Armand Traore continues his development. He may be used as more general defensive cover during the African Cup of Nations, when we lose both Kolo and Eboue.

What this means to the rest of our right-sided players is anyone's guess. Reading have already been linked with a £2.5 million bid for Justin Hoyte, but I'm unsure whether Arsene is ready to let him go in an ACN year.

Moreover, Sagna's signing could see Eboue deployed further up the field as an out and out winger. Arsene seems to have hinted at this in a few games this year already and Eboue is certainly stronger going forward than defensively. Football 365 have even hinted that the signing could be the beginning of the end for Alexander Hleb, with Eboue and Walcott vying for the right-wing bearth. I think that this suggestion is pretty wide of the mark, especially with Freddie's imminent departure.

One thing is, I think, certain: we've improved our defence. Sagna has already been called up to the senior French squad, and has been widely touted as the long-term replacement for the legendary Willy Sagnol. Comparisons have also been made to Sagna's own idol, Lilian Thuram. He was clearly a fan favourite at Auxerre, with this forum (thanks to Gunnerblog for the reference) voting him Auxerre's player of the season. Notice that a certain Kaboul, bought recently by a certain other club, polled but one vote. Heh.

Right back was a position I thought we needed to improve on last year, and I'm pleasantly surprised that Arsene has done so with this signing. Hopefully Bakary can add some defensive nous, but also some much needed steel, to a defence that was far too fragile last year.

Now all we need to do is ship out Freddie and buy a new winger. Could Reyes yet return and fulfil that role? Probably not, but we could do with a player of his ability, if not his temperament. And before anyone gets too upset, this long-term target (reportedly) isn't actually that good, as anyone who watched the recent under-21 championships will testify.

So; Arsene's 4th summer signing, two of which are players that can go straight into the side. Let's hope one or two are still to come, but a much stronger squad is starting to take place. Hopefully we'll see one or two of them in action on Saturday.


Anonymous said...

he's 5'9" - not a big bloke

Abigpileofpoo said...

who is our 4 signing i know we have signed bakary,fabianski,edruadro, i know that goufran was meant to be signing but didnt he all ready sign on ages ago so who is the 4 signing please tell me

Anonymous said...

ps forgot to add - First Gun

Come on you gunnners - big seasons of surprises ahead. Tope 2 finish etc.

markt said...

He's 5 ft 9 and 72 kg.

That is not big, Gallas is 5cm taller while Diaby has over 20cm on him!

Goonerboy said...

He might not be tall, but he's stockier and more muscular than Hoyte or Eboue. You don't have to be tall to be more physically imposing, which I believe he will be.

Also, apologies for misspelling his name in the title. Oops.

Goonerboy said...

Our other signing was Havard Nordtveit, the 17 year old Norwegian centre-back. I think the phrase is, 'one for the future'.

Anonymous said...

Thats the most Arsene has ever paid for a defender-Lauren was 7.2m. He is 24, so he is not a 'prospect' he is a hardened pro with his best years ahead of him.

Once Freddie and Reyes go for a combined 15m or so, I think we will see some wide players brought in. Maybe even MArtins to provide the explosive pace we lack up front now.

jammathon said...

Good article. Sagna gives us so many more options, even if it's only on the right hand side, we have a lot of potential combinations now.

Always makes you feel good:

Anonymous said...

Cesc`s agent: "We would like to thank Real for the interest they have shown. President Ramon Calderon and sports director Predrag Mijatovic have been very good to us and it is the second time Real have shown an interest in the player,"
"Maybe they will get lucky the third time."
Hmmm...Sagna excellent signing by the way!Robinho,Drenthe NEXT!!!

Anonymous said...

I am sick to my teeth about Cesc.He might be a talented footballer beyond his years but he talks as much bullshit as Henry did and his sleeze agent makes it even worse with comments like 3rd time might be lucky for Real Madrid............what a cunt !!!
I am rapidly losing patience with these over inflated egos.Wenger should line them up ask them who wanted to stay and play for ARSENAL and sell the rest i would fucking rather ARSENAL got relegated then keep hearing paying these mercenaries.

Anonymous said...

It seems every player is entitled to take a big fat dump in the mouth of Arsenal...............WHEN IS THIS GONNA STOP ????..........for crying out loud Cesc has a contract for 7 years how about showing some commitment instead of prostituting yourself to everyones favourite dislike (Real Madrid).

Anonymous said...

Wenger is far to lenient with these players....Mourinho wouldnt stand for this and Fergie........never

Anonymous said...

Wenger and Cesc is like father and son..............please pass me the bucket.

Anonymous said...

We have an incredible future, but is very important not to sell players like Cesc...RvP.. because if we sell players like them we'll never have a team wolud win champions league...premiership... We have to start not selling our best players!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gfdsa said...

1. If we only kept players who love Arsenal, and not Arsene, our first team would look like this:

- -
- - - -
- - - Hoyte

So, let's keep a few of these mercenaries. If nothing else, to keep Justin Hoyte company.

2. I respect Arsene Wenger for allowing players like Fabregas the freedom to leave. He treats them as real people, instead of the indentured servants that the rest of you seem to think they are.

Anonymous said...

Yes welcome Sagna, a suitably mean looking right back that we have missed since Ralf left. And by mean i refer to both his looks and tackles. :-)

Anonymous said...

gfdsa - you're right. Arsene treats the players like adults - he obviously told Cesc what his plans are for the future and gave him the option. Cesc has chosen to stay despite whatever promises Real Madrid probably made. As long as Cesc does his best for AFC while he is here that's all that concerns me. As good as he is, he is not irreplaceable. Denilson and Diaby will improve next year and if Cesc leaves for Spain, they will step up. After the Cashly and Henry affairs I now have no expectations regarding the players' loyalties beyond one season at a time. Helps keep my blood pressure in check.

Anonymous said...

Good article Goonerboy. A quick word on Cesc. Whatever you think about what he said, his comments go a long way towards discrediting TH's stated reasons for leaving, and should reassure Gooners that AW will be around for a good long time yet.

well-endowed gooner said...

We can't properly assess the quality of Bacary Sagna until we assess the size of his balls. They say testicles maketh the man, and in this case, they're right. A cursory look at the Arsenal defenders tells the story. Toure, Clichy, Djourou, Senderos all have enormous testicles. Gallas, Eboue, Hoyte have regular to small ones.

Some people say that dick size is equally important, but they're wrong. In my extensive experience, dick size varies (Cygan had a whopper), but ball size never lies.

By the way, I'm enormous.