Arsenal are preparing for life without Bacary Sagna as they have started looking at Benfica full-back Lorenzo Melgarejo.
Sagna’s contract expires next summer and the player has yet to extend his stay in London. Arsenal has been in the position before with Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie and would rather sell the player rather than lose him on a free next summer. PSG and Monaco have been linked with a move for the right-back. Talks have been scheduled between the player and the club but Arsenal are looking at their options should Sagna leave the Emirates.
Melgarejo is a 22-year old Paraguay international. He can play on both flanks but operates mainly on the left for Benfica and played against Chelsea in the Europa League final. Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal are the Gunners option at left-back so it would seem odd that Wenger would want to heavily strengthen that position when other places in the team need reinforcements.
Arsene Wenger’s summer dealings could be crucial to his own future as well as the club’s. The Frenchman’s contract also expires next summer and he wants to assess the situation he is in before he commits his future. It is unlikely he will stay at the Gunners if they remain trophyless for a ninth consecutive season but could also choose to walk away on a high if they club get their hands on silverware.
Ivan Gazidis hopes the manager will put pen to paper before the season starts and talks have also been arranged for that.
Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic, Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini have all been linked with an Arsenal move and although Melgarejo is considered a high-profile signing, his addition could prove crucial, especially is Sagna chooses to leave. The Gunners do face competition from Fenerbahce. Both clubs have made their interest known but are yet to make a bid.
Arsenal could bargain with the Turkish club over Melgarejo by selling Andre Santos back to them if they agree to leave Melgarejo alone. Arsenal are looking at ways to trim their squad and Santos is certainly to be an absentee, however, not many club are interested in the Brazilian, except former club Fenerbahce.