Yeah, you read that right. Bacary Sagna coming to Elland Road is a move that should happen, and it’s not as crazy as you’d imagine. Is Sagna a former shell of the player he once was? How many games can he really even play anymore; the injuries have piled up? You’re right, Sagna is nowhere near the player he once was.
But hear me out.
Let me be clear, getting Bacary Sagna to come to Leeds on a free transfer isn’t the move of the summer that’s going to propel the Whites to the Premier League. But it’s a start. The current group of fullbacks, Charlie Taylor be damned, is a group that Leeds can be satisfied for the upcoming Championship season. Luke Ayling played magnificently for someone that cost only $870,000, forming quite a partnership with Gaetano Berardi as the season progressed. Bacary Sagna is not coming to Leeds to take a starting spot.
Luke Ayling was a part of the end-of-season yellow card drama within the club's back line. As the games were coming down and both fans and club had playoff hopes, there were debates among fans about if one of the players should just rack up the yellows and get the suspension over with. So let me propose to you a scenario. The season’s winding down to a close, and the Whites are yet again fringe playoff hopefuls, with the last games still having a potentially big impact on where the club finishes. Once again, Luke Ayling racks up the yellows. This season, Ayling hits the yellow card limit and is forced to serve a three-match ban with two games remaining. The club didn’t address the lack of depth at fullback during either transfer window, and here we are unable to play two Gaetano Berardi’s.
In today’s modern game, the fullback is one of the most underrated positions. No one will ever pay record-breaking money for a left or right back, but not having a good fullback can crush a team. In our hypothetical scenario above, Lewie Coyle/Tyler Denton are not good enough and someway, somehow, Leeds fall out of the playoffs again. I think Coyle and Denton can have an impact on the Leeds United of the future, and that’s why I’d like Bacary Sagna to join Leeds so much.
Sagna clearly is not going to be an anchor on the right/left flank anymore, and I’m not asking him to do that. Luke Ayling has deserved to win the starting right back spot, and if the Whites decide to stick with in-house option Berardi at left back, so be it. Sagna has the skills to play both, but it’s the tutelage that he can provide that could make this move important. Sagna is an FA Cup and League Cup winner and has played 371 Premier League games with Arsenal and Man City. He has knowledge aplenty and can be a great mentor for youngsters Denton and Coyle. Both lads just aren’t there yet for me. Let them marinate in the Sagna’s French footballing wisdom for a year or two and you’ll have great talent on your hands. Heck, just being around the player can bring benefits for guys that haven’t played top flight football. For someone who is an underrated great in an underrated position, getting Sagna for free can bring Leeds United plenty of profit in the future. Oh, If you’re a transfer value type of guy, Sagna ($4.25M) is only valued $750,000 less than Charlie Taylor. So there’s that too.
He may not be the first player that’d pop up in your mind, but bringing on Bacary Sagna could be a wise move of business. MOT