Manchester City have received a boost in their pursuit of Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna after it was revealed that the Frenchman recently turned down a move to Inter this summer.
Sagna's contract with the north London outfit expires at the end of this season, and Goal.com's Stephen Darwin reports Inter president Erick Thohir's latest update on both the Arsenal man and Patrice Evra of Manchester United.
Thohir confirmed his club's failed attempt to sign Sagna, saying:
"Sagna decided to stay in the Premier League. But it will be necessary to strengthen that area of the field. About (Patrice) Evra we did not have any contact."
It's positive news for Manuel Pellegrini, who will be glad to know his City side are at least geographically in a prime position to challenge for Sagna's signature.
That being said, Arsene Wenger might also take heart from the comments in the hope that the Gunners can still convince their player to extend his soon-to-be completed deal.
Contract length and wages are by no means small factors in agreeing these deals, especially when financially prudent Arsenal have strict policies that they wish to adhere to.
The Mirror's John Cross praises Sagna and says Arsenal should "break the bank" to keep hold of him:
Sagna fully deserves new deal. Great loyal club man. He's turned down big moves - including Man City - while others left. Top right back.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) December 13, 2013
#afc Break the bank to keep Sagna. His loyalty deserves to be rewarded. How can you improve upon him for same budget it'll take to keep him?— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 25, 2014
Should he move to the Etihad Stadium, Sagna wouldn't be the first Arsenal player to head in that direction, following the route taken by the likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure since City's 2008 Abu Dhabi takeover.
Would Bacary Sagna start in front of Pablo Zabaleta at City?
Pellegrini's side are currently poised as one of the favourites for this year's Premier League title. Their 3-0 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening pushes the side back into second place, just three points behind leaders Chelsea, with the advantage of two games in hand over their west London enemies.
On the other hand, Arsenal have slipped out of title contention, winning just three of their last nine league outings and falling from first to fourth in the space of six weeks. Sagna may well look over at City with envious eyes.
Pablo Zabaleta is the current occupant of City's right-back spot, but Pellegrini's juggling of Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov on the left side of defence shows that it is possible to have two such talented individuals in the same position.
City's thriving ranks have become accustomed to a regular case of rotation, with numerous areas of their squad benefiting from the presence of two, three or even four superb talents.
Sagna turned 31 in February and, as Darwin states, has already turned down a two-year deal from Arsenal worth £75,000-a-week. His next deal may well be the last he signs before experiencing the decline that inevitably inhibits all players in their twilight years and so it's understandable that the French international takes his time.