Arsenal plot Atsuto Uchida swoop as Sagna set to sign for City
Arsenal, 10/1 shots with Coral to win next season’s Premier League, are reportedly preparing a bid to land Schalke and Japan full back Atsuto Uchida this summer to replace Manchester City-bound Bacary Sagna.
The 26-year-old missed most of the second half of Gelsenkirchen club Schalke’s Bundesliga campaign, but made four assists and is going to the World Cup with his country this summer.
Uchida became Japan’s youngster scorer in a competitive qualification match in 2008, after breaking the record set by former Bolton Wanderers loanee Hidetoshi Nakata 11 years earlier. He has one year left on his contract at Schalke.
Tabloid gossip columns claim Uchida has been identified as the man Gunners boss Arsene Wenger wants to take up Sagna’s mantle. All eyes will now be on the full back with 65 caps in Brazil.
North London outfit Arsenal have also been strongly linked with Toulouse and Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier – another one for fans to watch at the World Cup finals.
Both Uchida and Aurier fit into the same attacking full back category as Sagna, so Gunners supporters can expect swashbuckling raids from either should Wenger swoop.
The Brazil finals will be Uchida’s fourth major senior tournament with Japan following the last World Cup, the 2011 Asian Cup triumph and 2013 Confederations Cup. Aurier, meanwhile, is set to make his debut on the global stage in South America after breaking into the Ivorian international setup last year.
Japan have been drawn in the relatively easy pool of Group C, which also contains Colombia, Greece and, ironically, the Ivory Coast. The respective nations of Atsuto and Aurier play one another first on June 15th.
Coral make the Elephants from Africa narrow 13/8 favourites ahead of the Asian champions at 17/10. A draw is 11/5. Neither Atsuto, nor Aurier is rated likely to score, but they are 20/1 and 16/1 shots respectively to find the net in this opening contest.