Arsenal to lose Sagna to Man City, but Giroud won't leave
City poised to poach yet another Gunner, but French striker has no intention of quitting
IT NEVER rains but it pours for Arsenal as their annual springtime collapse gets underway in earnest. Having been mauled by Chelsea and held to a draw by Swansea, the Gunners are now gearing up to do battle with Man City, on and off the pitch.
Not only are Arsenal fans staring down the barrel of a thumping from Manuel Pellegrini's men this weekend, they are also facing the possibility of seeing yet another established star jump ship and head to the Etihad. The next player to follow in the footsteps of Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri could be full back Bacary Sagna.
The 31-year-old's contract with the Gunners expires in the summer and he is "embroiled in a game of brinkmanship" over a new deal, according to The Guardian. So far he has persuaded Arsene Wenger to offer him a two-year deal, breaking his usual one-year policy for players over 30.
But the paper says that Sagna now has a new bargaining tool as he has been offered a three-year deal at City. What's more "he knows that City will give him what he wants, not to mention a significant increase on his £50,000-a-week salary".
Next up is news that will send a shudder through the hearts of the Arsenal faithful. According to the Daily Star, Olivier Giroud intends to remain at the Emirates next season, meaning Gooners can look forward to more laissez-faire performances from the French striker.
Rumours have been rife in recent weeks that Giroud could be on his way out of London in the summer but the player's agent, Michael Manuello, has pooh-poohed the suggestions. "The rumours about Olivier are not surprising given that he is having a great season," said Manuello, proving that Frenchmen do indeed have a sense of humour. "I read about Juventus and Roma, but the truth is that there has been no contact with these clubs or with other ones." Asked about Giroud's plans for the foreseeable future, Manuello replied: "He's very settled in London and the club is happy with him. I think there is no possibility he might change".
In other news Talksport reports that Tottenham have a job on their hands if they wish to land Sadio Mane in the summer. Described as a "Red Bull Salzburg sensation", the 21-year-old midfielder has netted 17 times this season for the Austrian outfit and that's the reason Spurs gaffer Tim Sherwood has him on his shopping list.
But Talksport says Borussia Dortmund are now circling the Senegalese international and are lining up a big money offer after the World Cup.
Meanwhile if Caughtoffside is to be believed, then Chelsea are "considering" a summer move for Ajax winger Ricardo Kisha. The dynamic Dutch teenager, still just 19, has been dubbed the 'new Angel Di Maria', which is no mean feat considering Di Maria is himself only 26, and Juventus are said to be long-term admirers. But Caughtoffside says Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has now joined the chase and he is willing to offer Kishna straight back to Ajax in a loan deal for next season as part of any permanent deal for the youngster. That fact could swing it the way of Chelsea, particularly as Mourinho has a track record of developing Dutch talent.
Finally, Spanish newspaper Sport reports that Barcelona have put a whopping new contract extension before star striker Lionel Messi in the hope he'll commit himself to the club until 2019. At the moment the Argentine hotshot, who scored a hat-trick in Sunday's 4-3 defeat of Real Madrid, is tied to the Camp Nou until 2018. But club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is anxious to send out a signal to Barca's rivals that Messi will finish his career at the club he joined in 2000.
The Daily Mail reports that the new deal would net the 26-year-old Messi £335,000 per week, putting him out in front of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo as the best-paid player in the world. ·