As the season wore on, Bacary Sagna's departure from Arsenal started to feel inevitable. Now it is imminent, as Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports is reporting Sagna has turned down the latest contract offer from the Gunners:
Sky sources understand that Bacary Sagna has officially communicated to Arsenal that he has turned down their contract offer and will be leaving the club.
The 31-year-old revealed earlier in the week he was 90 percent certain to be leaving, but he has now confirmed in writing to Arsenal that he has turned down their offer of a contract extension.
Sagna's current deal is due to expire at the end of June, after which point he will be free to sign for another club.
Here are Sagna's comments about leaving from earlier in the week, via ESPN.co.uk:
I have not signed with anybody, agreed with no-one. All the English media are sending me to Manchester City, but I don't have any agreement with them or with anyone else. I have never set foot there. Several European and English clubs have contacted me. Certain talks have gone further than others and Manchester City are among them.
But today, I'm still an Arsenal player. It would be good to have everything sorted out before the World Cup, on which I am now completely focused.
Today, there's a 90% chance I will leave and 10% that I will stay. I have been asking myself that question for a long time, and it's the time for a new challenge.
Arsenal is an extraordinary club that has given me the chance to grow, both in sporting and human terms. It's a family club, I feel good here. I've had some very good years here.
The loss will certainly be a disappointment both for the club and its supporters. The 31-year-old right-back appeared in 47 matches across all competitions for the Gunners, scoring a goal and adding three assists. According to WhoScored.com, he compiled a solid 7.2 average match rating in Premier League play and a 7.1 match rating in seven Champions League starts.
Only Mathieu Debuchy (7.42), Joel Ward (7.28) and Pablo Zabaleta (7.25) averaged better marks at right-back in the Premier League this season, via WhoScored.
Sagna has become a mainstay in the starting 11 for Arsenal since he signed with the club in the summer of 2007. He's never started fewer than 20 matches for the Gunners in Premier League play, and has started 29 or more league matches in five of the last seven seasons.
His forthcoming departure creates an obvious void at the position for Arsenal.
While Carl Jenkinson may be the future first-choice player at the position, he is just 22 and has been inconsistent when called upon to start. Without question, Arsene Wenger will want to bring in some competition for the position this summer and perhaps a player to start ahead of Jenkinson in the short term.
As for Sagna, the consistent and crafty defender likely has another solid season or two in him no matter where he decides to ply his trade. If he is indeed heading to City, he'll likely be doing so to deputize for Zabaleta, where he would give City the luxury to rest the Argentine a bit more throughout the season or even play on the left if required.
It remains to be seen where Sagna will end up. But his days at Arsenal are now surely numbered.