Context: French international footballer Karim Benzema has recently been implicated in the blackmail of another French player, Valbuena. It is undetermined if Benzema's intentions were to merely warn his teammate or to help facilitate the blackmail. Apparently, one of the key phrases he says is:

"Je vais t'arranger la sauce"

One Spanish magazine translated the line as

I can help you

But I saw some French speakers scoff at the translation as too generous. To me, "Je vais t'arranger la sauce" sounds like Benzema is cooking spaghetti for Valbuena or something. What is the meaning conveyed by this line, given the context? Particularly, what does "la sauce" mean here"?

Full recording/context can be found here

  • The article is so badly writtent it is really hard to actually understand who is talking, when, and to whom. I still doubt it is anything near a message of "I can help you" and much more closer to a threat. Nov 10, 2015 at 20:08
  • Please note you're talking about a football player, usually not known for being very educated. The fact he uses this expression does not mean it is an usual or even correct expression. I also understand it as "I will help you through this", but never heard it as such in other occasion I can remember.
    – Laurent S.
    Nov 11, 2015 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Looking up “sauce” in Bob brings back several suggestive results, like


Je vais t'arranger le coup

definitely means “I will help you [get rid of this/solve this problem/get what you want]” so your magazine's translation does sound plausible.

The problem is that, in a blackmail context, you might very well pretend to be “helping” while acting as a go-between to facilitate a payment. That's apparently what Benzema did and what to think of this is not really a linguistic question.

  • 1
    So 'la sauce' is a regional slang term for a problematic situation? Kind of like how I would say "I'm in deep shit". Would it be fair to equate the sentence to to a less expletive form of "Im gonna fix this shit for you?" And am I correct in understanding that 'la sauce' would be a weird phrase to drop in a normal french conversation?
    – Eric S.
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:28
  • 1
    @EricS. I think that's correct, “la sauce” is not something I would casually drop in a conversation, it's very casual and not even that well-known IMO. In fact, the results in Bob clearly show that it has been used with this meaning for quite some time but I personally did not know it before researching this answer. (For context, I am a native French speaker who listens to rap music and reads Jean Lorrain and San Antonio so I have quite a bit of exposure to slang, old and new.)
    – Relaxed
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:33
  • Okay thanks. Apart from 'la sauce', it would be normal to use 'arranger' to mean 'sort out' though, like 'sort out a problem'? (I understand not necessarily the same as 'fix' as I wouldn't say "sort out a car" for "fix a car")
    – Eric S.
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:36
  • @EricS. Yes, but beware, it can also be used with negative undertones, all the way to “beat up”, especially when speaking about a person rather than a situation. “Je vais te l'arranger, moi !”
    – Relaxed
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:39
  • Ah I understand, the expression "I'll sort him out" has the same connotation in English.
    – Eric S.
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:42

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