Arsène Wenger is not confident about keeping Bacary Sagna at Arsenal, despite the club having offered the Frenchman a three-year contract. The manager said that an impasse remained over Sagna, with his current deal set to expire in the summer and the full-back considering a Bosman transfer to one of several interested clubs, including Manchester City.
"At the moment, the talks are not progressing," Wenger said. "We know what we want from him, he knows what is on the table, and that's where we are."
Wenger was asked whether he was now less confident about the 31-year-old agreeing to stay at his club of the past seven years. "Yes," he replied. "The ball is not in our camp any more. It is in his camp, and he needs to come back to us."
Wenger is extremely keen to retain Sagna, who has been one of his most durable and consistent performers this season, even filling in at centre-half on occasion and the manager has pushed for the club to break their general policy of granting only one-year extensions to players in their 30s. Arsenal had offered Sagna a two-year deal but after City indicated a readiness to give him three years, the London club have followed suit.
Sagna, who earns £50,000 a week, has long argued that he is worth a three-year contract and it is a worry from Arsenal's side that he has not yet agreed to the one that they have proposed. The France international is also wanted by Internazionale, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Galatasaray. Wenger could face a defensive rebuild in the summer, with the centre-half Thomas Vermaelen and the back-up goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski also considering their futures.
Vermaelen is unhappy with his place behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the central-defensive pecking order while Fabianski, who is out of contract in June, has been frustrated too by his lack of regular football.
Wenger prizes continuity and he expressed his sadness that David Moyes had not been given more time at Manchester United; instead, Moyes became the Premier League's 10th managerial casualty of the season when he was sacked on Tuesday.
"I'm sad that he wasn't given more time and I wish him well," Wenger said. "It's just part of what the modern game is now. There is no time available for people to do their job and that is a big threat for our game. If you want quality people in any job, you need to give them time to develop or people with the quality will not come into our job any more.
"The average [managerial job] expectancy at an English professional club at the moment is 11 months and that is quite unstable. Every guy who is married and has a family will have a big hesitancy before he goes into that game. That means the quality of the coaching and the quality of the managing is under threat, because it will not attract quality people any more."
Wenger said that he could not remember a Premier League season in which there had been so many dismissals. Nine of the division's clubs have changed their manager, with Fulham having done so twice. Wenger feared that the situation could get worse.
"If you get to the point where you sack your manager with every defeat, the guy who comes in will lose games as well," Wenger said. "We are living in a society now where it is every time quick. After the game, it is quick sanction, quick judgment and there is no distance any more with the event. The clubs, internally, need to be much stronger to resist that immediate pressure."
Wenger said Kieran Gibbs would not be fit for Monday night's visit of Newcastle United because of groin trouble while the luckless Abou Diaby suffered a minor groin injury in a 45-minute run-out on Tuesday for the under-21s against Chelsea – his first appearance since he ruptured cruciate ligaments at Swansea City on 16 March 2013.
Wenger hopes to have Jack Wilshere back in contention for next Sunday's home game against West Bromwich Albion after a foot problem.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010