November 28, 2013
I love you guys and your website, both the articles and the pod, and I mentioned in the comments of a prior pod that it’s already one of my favorites in the futbol podcast genres.
However, I have to disagree in part with your conclusions on Sagna, for several reasons:
1. On a pure talent basis, I’d say his only rivals in the league are Zabaleta and Walker. This is based on the eye test as oppose to stats, mostly because whoscored is saying “We are unable to respond you at the moment but we will be back shortly. Please check us again soon and thanks for you patience.” right now.
2. Intangibles – he’s got experience and drive, and despite your continued ribbing on him over the Dortmund goal, I seem to see him getting through a lot of running and frequently making a clearance or tackle to bail out the Arsenal defense so I generally think of him as being clutch.
3. Versatility – he’s demonstrated that he can cover for CB, and be the kind of ball-playing CB Arsenal need. Despite his relative lack of height, he’s good at heading the ball out, which facilitates this versatility.
4. Succession – Jenkinson is good, but he’s not yet as good as Sagna or Zabaleta or Walker. It seems to me that the wisest way to proceed is to resign Sagna with the understanding that his starts at RB will taper over the next couple years but that he’ll serve as cover at CB and get some games there, and be responsible for helping Jenkinson to realize his potential a la the old “you train your replacement” mentality on display in Auerbach’s Celtics. There’s a loyalty aspect to this too. I like long-tenured players, I like it when good long-tenured players retire at a given team, and Sagna’s been with the team through some lean years, so if they’re about to turn the corner I’d like to see him get to experience the good times as well.