Bacary Sagna reveals Unai Emery must fix one major dressing room issue at Arsenal


It will be an odd moment when Arsenal walk onto the pitch for the first time next season without Arsene Wenger in tow.

His place will be taken by Unai Emery - a manager with respectable pedigree around Europe, yet perhaps not quite enough to warrant a unanimous expectation of success.

Some Arsenal fans are concerned too much of his experience is below the elite level where the Gunners want to be, which is understandable looking at his honours list.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss has won a Ligue 1 title and three Europa League trophies, but never progressed beyond the Champions League Round of 16.

Regardless of his silverware collection, Emery represents a fresh start for Arsenal.

But while the Spaniard is renowned for his football brains, it’s no secret his new club bears issues far more complex than merely formations and tactics.

Bacary Sagna - who spent seven years with the north Londoners - believes the task of reinventing a club culture that has plagued them since he played there can’t be underestimated.


“The team is and was too nice,” he told Standard Sport.

“They never liked to argue. We were just too nice to each other, we were like friends.

“To be successful you need to be bad sometimes, to have a go at each other. It’s like any other business: if you run a company and expect more from someone you need to wake that person up. 

"It wasn’t happening at Arsenal. We were enjoying giving everything for each other but if someone wasn’t doing the job 100 per cent we didn’t blame them.”

His description of the dressing room is sure to ring bells among the Emirates faithful.


As far as addressing it goes, Sagna feels Arsenal are moving in the right direction.

“They definitely need some leadership. Every single team has players with good influence. I’m not talking about quality and skills, I’m talking about behaviour and attitude.

“When you have winners in your team it’s really important: they’re the ones talking when you’re in trouble, waking players up. You need some players like this.

“Emery asks a lot, he’s very demanding but he can get what he wants. Some of that team are young, they want to learn and be successful. He will bring some discipline to Arsenal.”

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Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos is set to sign and bring an imposing to the Gunners’ defence next season, while Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner has already been snapped up for free.

Sagna has faced the latter during the Serie A season with Benevento and considers the perfect solution to Arsenal’s woes.

“He’s a hard worker and always hassles the midfield and wingers,” he said.

“He has a fighting mentality and that’s what was missing at Arsenal over the past years.

“There will be competition between [him and Bellerin] and that is always good to have someone pushing behind you.”

Sagna appears to have hit the nail on the head with his comments, but it will be intriguing to see what Arsenal supporters make of his stance.

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