Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insisted he has no intentions of allowing full-back Bacary Sagna to leave the club at the end of the season, even though his contract is due to expire in the summer of 2014.
Reports in several newspapers have suggested that Sagna will be among a host of players leaving Arsenal this summer in a squad revamp, but Wenger had moved to stress he is eager to keep the experienced defender.
“He is not free in the summer so he can only leave if we let him go,” said Wenger of the French full-back who will sit out Saturday’s game against Aston Villa due to injury. “Our desire is to keep Bacary Sagna and he knows that. We will sit down with him and we did already sit down with his agent, and we didn’t get that (negative) vibe out.”
Wenger went on to urge the Emirates Stadium faithful to stand behind his players in Saturday’s Premier League game against Villa, as he predicted a ‘big battle’ lies ahead against Paul Lambert’s relegation strugglers.
“We are on quite a good run so we should not forget that,” continued Wenger. “We must take advantage of the fact that we are at home. We know we are in a position where we cannot afford to drop points and we will go into the game with a huge desire to get out the disappointments that we recently had. Especially we must focus on getting points in the Premier League.
“The crowd will play a big part, especially after Tuesday night. It is important that we are all focused on this game but let's have the required attitude to get the crowd behind us. We are in the final part of the season and for us it is important not to drop points any more and then the crowd will be behind us.
“It is always a battle against Villa. They have recently had some good results. They had a 3-3 draw at Everton, so we know what we want. They know as well base they fight to avoid relegation. It is a typical Premier League game where today there is no was game for anybody. We have to prepare ourselves for a battle.”
Wenger concluded by urging his players to banish the memories of their setbacks against Blackburn and Bayern Munich, even though he admitted there was a huge sense of disappointment lingering from those setbacks.
“We have to focus on the next game and forget what happened,” he added. “We are here to win football games and when we don’t do it, of course it’s a huge disappointment. We lost two home games. I don’t know how many times it’s happened in my 16 years but we have to get over that and focus on the game.
“It’s not feeling sorry for us that will change the situation. We come back from a win at Sunderland and it’s important we get another three points on Saturday.”