Wenger And Arteta
Speaking exclusively to Genting, Sagna said: “I would love to see Wenger coming back to the club. I think, combined with Mikel, Arsenal can achieve something amazing.
“It is a shame that Wenger hasn’t been back yet to the Emirates, but I can understand after 22 years it might be difficult for him to go back home – to go back home but not own the place.
“We need to remember that he played a big part in the build-up of the team so it will probably be difficult for him emotionally to go back because he has so many memories.
“In time, eventually it will happen. I hope that it can happen soon so he can go back and support the team.
“I was very close with Arsene Wenger and I would say that he was my favourite manager. He is someone who played a really, really important part in my life and for me, we had a good spell together.
“He used to be a father figure to all of us. He was brilliant with me when I lost my brother and always tried to use this psychological aspect when approaching any player. He used to understand every player’s situation, every player’s mindset.
“On a personal level, he understood me perfectly. The season after I lost my brother I played okay but I wasn’t myself. I’m sure that at some point, my performances meant that I didn’t deserve to play but he still showed confidence in me that saw me through.
“It was always enjoyable in his company. We used to speak about football all day. He was also always so positive – he’s someone special and Arsenal were very fortunate to have someone like him.”
Sagna also heaped praise on former team-mate Arteta, who has claimed an FA Cup and a Community shield in his time as Arsenal manager.
The Frenchman believes Arteta exhibited the qualities of a top coach during their playing days and says Arsenal’s upturn in fortunes of late under the Spaniard is no surprise to him.
“I could always tell that Mikel was going to be a great manager,” Sagna added.
“I used to watch games with him. Whenever there was a big Barcelona game or another big game, I used to go to his house as we lived just five minutes away from each other.
“You could see from then even that he was approaching the game so practically. He would analyse the tactics, whether they’re going to play 3-5-2, or 4-3-3, guessing where each player was going to play and how each player would need to adapt their role during the game.
“He was already speaking practically. I used to tell him that he needed to relax and that I just came to watch the game!
“You could feel that he had a real passion and desire to understand the game and he was already always analysing every situation, always talking about what should have been done, or always trying to add something, to do something.
“After all, he was a captain for a reason. After that, I think he was always working towards becoming a coach.
“I think Arteta is doing an amazing, amazing job at Arsenal but I’m not surprised at all. Of course, when you become a coach you have some stick, you have hard times.
“Arteta has had his hard times and he’s going to have more but he’s already shown that he has the mental strength to stick to his principles.
“He’s stuck to his young players even when criticism was high and now we’re seeing the benefits.
“He never changed his mindset and the way he wants the team to play. I’m not surprised to see him succeeding.”
Champions League Prospects
Despite a difficult start to the season in which Arsenal lost their first three Premier League games, the Gunners now sit fourth with 10 fixtures remaining. Sagna believes this squad has the capacity to consolidate that position this term and will go on to win the title in a few years.
“I would love to see Arsenal back in the Champions League,” Sagna continued.
“I was very worried at the start of the season because everything seemed to be going wrong. I was wondering how they would cope with the pressure because after three games, they were sitting bottom of the league.
“That would have played on their mind but Arteta helped them stick together as a team and now you can see the results – they are all fighting for each other.
“They understand each other perfectly. If they manage to keep the same spirit then they will qualify for the Champions League. And if they keep going, then in four or five years they will be champions.”
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