Dubai: Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna believes the Gunners have what it takes to be crowned English Premier League champions next season.
In the last campaign the Gunners shrugged off an abysmal start to make a late surge and finish fourth, just one point ahead of North London rivals Tottenham, to earn a play-off spot in next season’s Uefa Champions League.
And right-back Sagna, who was in Dubai to launch the new website BuyMyPlayer.com, said on Wednesday: “I truly believe we can be successful. I truly believe we can be champions or else I wouldn’t be playing football. I would have gone already. I truly believe we can succeed with the team we have.
“I strongly believe we have the quality to be the best in the Premiership. If not, look at the second half of last season, where we got 26 points from a possible 30. Not a lot of teams can do this and this is what makes me believe we can beat anyone.
“However, on some days we can switch off and lose to anyone. And to avoid this, we need to take things game by game and stay focused from the beginning to the end.
“There are no major things that we ought to do to continue succeeding. I think we just have to stick around as a team, where each one helps out on the pitch, and stay consistent like we did in the second half of the season.”
The Frenchman, who turned 30 earlier this year, could soon sign a new contract with the Gunners, but Sagna has also not ruled out a return to his homeland either with big-spending Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco.
“We are still talking [about a new contract]. I never said I wanted to leave the club, but there are some journalists who want to speculate as I have just one year to go,” he said.
“The fact is that I am still at Arsenal and I am looking forward to playing next season. Arsenal made me grow as a player and as a man. People have been talking about me going back to France, but at the moment I am at Arsenal.”
Despite rumours that coach Arsene Wenger may end his long stint at Arsenal when his contract expires next summer, Sagna insists that his compatriot is still the man for the job — despite not having won a trophy since the FA Cup triumph of 2005.
“He [Wenger] just pushed us and gave us the confidence to show what we are capable of. Not only did we climb up the standings, we were also the only team to beat the eventual European champions [Bayern Munich] on their home ground. That has given us a lot of confidence as a team and I very much think that Arsene will be around for a few more years as so much of the success is due to him,” Sagna said.
“As a fan you love your team and I can understand the fans’ point of view, as people want more all the time. They are not just happy watching us play. They want us to win some trophies and we want to win as well.
“What we managed last season can be done only by a true team with a great team spirit. I believe we can achieve a lot more.”