Bacary Sagna has revealed how he was convinced to leave Arsenal for Manchester City following numerous discussions with Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, two former colleagues of his at the Emirates Stadium.
Sagna completed his free transfer to Manchester City early last month having decided not to renew his Arsenal contract after seven seasons in north London, and became the third player to follow this path in recent seasons.
Clichy was the first, leaving Arsenal in a £7 million deal three years ago, while Nasri forced his own transfer 12 months later - the manner of which will never be forgotten by supporters of the Gunners.
Nasri is a player reviled by Arsenal fans for the apparent disrespect he displayed when Manchester City pursued his signature, and the Frenchman’s standing will not have been improved after his influence in Sagna’s departure.
Happy to move
"I did, many times," Sagna told the official Manchester City website when asked if he had spoken to Nasri and Clichy about a prospective transfer to the club.
“They said to me: 'you should come, because we have a great team and we have a great mentality. The players are here to work really hard and to win trophies.'
"So I was thinking about it, and when the opportunity came I just chose the right one."
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Arsenal will cope
Sagna’s departure will have been greeted more favourably by those associated with Arsenal given his committed service to the club over a significant period of time, even if Arsene Wenger had hoped to keep the player.
It will, of course, have been something of a wretch for many to see Sagna leave but, at the age of 31 and after two significant leg injuries, the France international’s best days are clearly now behind him.
He has not left Arsenal and the peak of his powers, like Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie before him, and there is a sense of acceptance from most supporters on this occasion.
Sagna’s exit has allowed Arsenal to refresh their defensive options, with compatriot Mathieu Debuchy arriving as a direct replacement from Newcastle, while teenager Calum Chambers has also been added to reinforce Wenger’s options.
Debuchy will anchor a completely new look right side for Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez set to play in a position more advanced ahead of him, and there is plenty of reason to be optimistic ahead of the new campaign.