Arsene Wenger makes an effort to reinforce his defence, with the Schalke right-back seen as a long-term successor to the Frenchman in competition with Carl JenkinsonEXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey
Arsenal have made a fresh attempt to reinforce their defence by reopening contract talks with Bacary Sagna and making a move for Schalke right-back Atsuto Uchida, Goal can reveal.
It is understood that Sagna's representatives recommenced talks on a new deal with the club earlier in August but the two parties did not reach an agreement and it is still anticipated that he will leave when his contract expires next summer.
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Wenger wants a right-back who can fit in with the Gunners' playing style and be groomed to challenge Carl Jenkinson for the first-team slot if Sagna leaves.
Negotiations between Sagna and Arsenal collapsed at the end of last year after the Gunners refused to meet the player's demands for a two-year extension and an upgrade on his £60,000-a-week salary. He has entered the final year of his contract and can depart the Emirates Stadium on a free at the end of the season if there is no formal breakthrough in discussions.
Nevertheless, Wenger wants to hold on to Sagna this season because of the versatility that he brings to the defence.
The France international has filled in as a makeshift centre-back during pre-season in the absence of club captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is out until October with a back injury.
Arsenal have made moves to sign a fourth senior central defender this summer to challenge Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Vermaelen but have been unable to agree deals for principal targets Ashley Williams and Matthias Ginter.
Wenger has now shifted his focus to Uchida, who has two years remaining on his Schalke contract and could be available for around €5.9 million. The Japan international spoke earlier this year of his ambition to play in the Premier League.
Wenger also retains an interest in Sochaux right-back Sebastien Corchia, who is highly regarded in his native France.
The Arsenal boss had been ready to sell Sagna this summer following a breakdown in his relationship with the club in the final months of last season and question marks about his attitude. However, Paris Saint-Germain failed to follow up their interest in the France international with a concerted move and he is understood to have knuckled down well in pre-season.
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