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Liverpool Links to Arsenal's Bacary Sagna Reek of a Manipulative Agent

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Suggestions Liverpool are interested in Arsenal fullback Bacary Sagna have a certain superficial plausibility, but scratch past the surface and they reek of an agent looking to get his client a better deal.

Laurence Griffiths

Liverpool have struggled for fullback depth. An established fullback's contract is expiring. Put two and two together, and suggestions out of Italy that rumoured Inter target Bacary Sagna is being chased by Liverpool seem an easy and obvious link. Scratch past even the most superficial level, though, and it's a link that doesn't make sense. Except perhaps if you're Sagna's agent and trying to get Inter to pony up by scaring them with the Liverpool boogeyman.

Sagna is two years older than Glen Johnson and was part of the backline shredded by the pace of Liverpool's attack when Arsenal met them at Anfield in the league. No longer the player he once was, Sagna is likely to be seeking one last big contract before his career truly begins to wind down, and it's hard to see how he makes sense for Liverpool, who have made it a point in recent years of offloading ageing legs tied to large contracts rather than acquiring them.

A case like that of Kolo Toure saw Liverpool capture a veteran who was unwanted by his club and willing to take a short contract and pay cut to be in the mix. Sagna would still expect to be a regular starter, and most believe Arsenal would like to keep him if his wage demands were reasonable. Rather than a veteran on the cheap, it's a case where Liverpool would have to pay the same sort of wages Glen Johnson would get for an inferior player two years older.

There's no world in which paying big wages* for a 31-year-old right back who at best would be a sideways move from Johnson makes sense for this Liverpool side, its manager, or the owners. Leaked rumours of supposed Liverpool interest in Sagna do, however, have the potential to help Sagna and his representatives, meaning this is almost certainly a case of the player's agent using Liverpool to get Arsenal or Inter to offer his client the contract they want.

The player is still a regular starter for Arsenal, and that his contract is likely to run down says everything about Sagna's desire to get one last payday—or to at least not take a significant pay cut. At his age, and given Liverpool have a younger and, when fit, better right back already on the books, and it's clear rumours linking Sagna to Liverpool are no more than the work of an agent desperate to drum up a bit of superficially reasonable competition for his signature.

*Inter are rumoured to be willing to pay £100,000 a week, and whether that's a number that speaks to what Inter have put on the table or just reflects the kind of wages Sagna's agent is using Liverpool's name to try to get, it's quite clearly in crazypants land.