Bacary Sagna to Manchester City: Champions Reportedly Sign Arsenal Star

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2014

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger, center right, and Bacary Sagna, center left, wave to the supporters as the team parade around the stadium in their last home match of the season, after their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion at Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, May 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Sang Tan/Associated Press

Bacary Sagna is the next player in a long line of Arsenal stars to exit the Emirates Stadium after he agreed to join Manchester City on Thursday.

Sagna sealed a three-year contract with the reigning Premier League champions after he completed a medical, reports the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel:

Manuel Pellegrini has won his first battle over Louis van Gaal by capturing Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna. 

The France international has agreed a three-year deal worth - inclusive of add-ons and bonuses - £150,000-per-week. 

Sagna traveled up to Manchester on Monday morning to finalise his move to the Etihad Stadium - news exclusively revealed by Sportsmail.

Sagna's future had been an ongoing storyline and a subject of much consternation among Gooners for most of the 2013-14 season. Since his previous contract expired this summer, he could have signed a pre-contract agreement with any other club from January and beyond.

Tom Hevezi/Associated Press

Still a talented defender, the Frenchman has been in demand among some of Europe's top clubs. Over time, it became more and more likely that Sagna would leave Arsenal. 

Also working against the Gunners was Arsene Wenger's habit of signing older players to only one-year deals. James Orr of The Independent wrote that Dennis Bergkamp only signed extensions from year to year, while Robert Pires left for Villarreal in 2006 in order to get a longer-term deal.

STR/Associated Press

Wenger appeared to have conceded in December 2013 that his right-back would be playing elsewhere for the 2014-15 season and beyond; however, he allayed any fears at that time that Sagna would let his contract situation affect his on-field performance, via The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke:

"For me, that is not a problem because when you are a professional football player, you do until the last day, of where you are, your best," Wenger said.

In fairness to Sagna, he maintained his level on the pitch and was a member of Arsenal's FA Cup-winning side, ending the club's nine-year wait for a trophy.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

His exit comes as little shock, after Wenger admitted recently that talks over a new contract were not advancing:

"At the moment, the talks are not progressing," Wenger said, per The Guardian's David Hytner. "We know what we want from him, he knows what is on the table, and that's where we are."

The Daily Mirror's John Cross reported that the club had previously offered a two-year extension worth £70,000 a week, which Sagna had turned down. He held out for a contract with at least three years.

Hytner reported that Arsenal upped their offer to three years, but Sagna was still weighing offers from Manchester City, Inter Milan, Monaco, Galatasaray and PSG. David Kent of the Daily Mail reported that Fenerbahce would put a £100,000 a week on the table to try to lure the Frenchman to Turkey.

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

The 31-year-old put the final nail in his Arsenal coffin in May. He told Europe 1 in France that his future would lie elsewhere, via Kent.

"I'm out of contract, as everyone knows," he said. "I still consider myself as an Arsenal player at present, But actually we had a small problem to agree with the club, and I don't think I'll stay at Arsenal at the end of the season."

The fact that Sagna has chosen to leave Arsenal doesn't come as a huge surprise. The Gunners losing first-team players is almost an annual ritual by now. While Sagna isn't at the level of Robin van Persie or Cesc Fabregas, he's been a fixture in the back four for years.

His departure leaves the club with precious few options for next season. Carl Jenkinson is the only other natural right-back. Mathieu Flamini has some experience at the position.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Carl Jenkinson of Arsenal chases the ball with Blair Adams of Coventry City during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth round match between Arsenal and Coventry City at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2014 in London, England.  (
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

If Arsenal want to be title contenders next season, they'll have to buy a ready-made right-back this summer.

Meanwhile, City are getting a talented defender with a few good years left in the tank.

As with any aging full-back, Sagna struggles at times getting back into position after making an attacking run forward. However, his skills haven't diminished to the point where he's a massive liability at the back.

In addition, the Frenchman played at centre-back a few times during the 2013-14 campaign after Arsenal were hit with injury problems. He transitioned well to the position, so over time he could make a more permanent shift to the centre from the right.

While Sagna won't be the most high-profile name to move this summer, his signing with City could send ripples through the rest of the Premier League as Arsenal look for his replacement.