After much speculation, it is now clear that Bacary Sagna is on his way out of Arsenal.
The 31-year-old right-back had grown frustrated with contract negotiations and recently confirmed that he will look for a new team. He explained to L'Equipe, via Sky Sports:
It’s no longer a secret, I will leave Arsenal for sure. They tried to make an effort, but the discussions have not gone in the direction I wished it. There are a lot of calls, a lot of speculation. Frankly, it gives headaches. I’ll sort it all out before the start of the World Cup.
Sagna had been a regular for Arsenal ever since coming over from AJ Auxerre in 2007. He had started at least 20 league matches in each of the last seven seasons, including a team high of 34 this past year.
In the 2013-14 season, he totaled one goal and two assists, also adding an assist in his seven UEFA Champions League starts. Of course, the statistics only tell part of the story as he has been an excellent defender on the right side for years.
He has been especially impressive in the air throughout his career as well, as noted by WhoScored.com:
Bacary Sagna: Won more aerial duels (382) than any other full-back in the PL in the last 5 seasons #AFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 29, 2014
While the veteran's next location is not yet confirmed, there are reports that he is planning on a move to Manchester City, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. If true, it would likely create a further gap next season between the reigning league champions and fourth-place Arsenal.
Of course, the Gunners are likely to find someone capable of replacing the talented player before the end of the summer. There are internal options like 22-year-old Carl Jenkinson, but the major club might want to find a transfer capable of coming in right away and contributing at a high level.
No matter what direction the club goes in for a replacement, you can be sure that it will remain a top contender in the English Premier League.
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