Longtime Arsenal star Bacary Sagna is officially heading to Manchester City after he recently decided to end his seven-year stay with the Gunners. He has signed a three-year agreement with the Premier League champions.
Arsenal's official Twitter passed along word of the high-profile summer signing:
Manchester City's official website posted a statement welcoming the new addition:
The 31-year-old full-back will complete his transfer from Arsenal on a three year contract following the World Cup in Brazil, where he is currently on duty with the French squad.
Sagna will join up with his new team-mates for the first time after the end of the World Cup, when the squad take in their tour to America.
He will take up the vacant squad number 3, the same number he wore for the Gunners.
Sagna follows the likes of Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor in swapping Arsenal for City. This is just the latest move that will stick in the throat of Gunners fans, a feeling FIFA video producer Matt Craig summed up on Twitter:
Well there's another Arsenal player gone to a rival, Sagna to Man City— Matt Craig (@MattHDGamer) June 13, 2014
The 31-year-old right-back spent the past seven seasons with Arsenal after starting his career with French club Auxerre. He appeared in 172 games across the Premier League and Champions League, per WhoScored.com, scoring three goals and chipping in with 11 assists in addition to his defensive duties.
He continued to play at a high level in his final season at the Emirates Stadium as the club challenged for the Premier League title before fading to fourth. Yet, despite the good form, the sides were unable to get together on what it would take to keep him in London.
ESPN.co.uk provided comments Sagna made to French outlet L'Equipe about contract talks and what his time with Arsenal meant to him:
It is no longer a secret, I am leaving Arsenal, it is a certainty. Arsenal made an effort but the discussions did not go in the direction that I wanted.
It was an honour to grow in the shirt. Arsenal is a club that brought me a lot, both as a person and as a sportsman. Even though we had been criticised for quite some time due to the lack of trophies, I had some magical moments. If I had to do, I'd do it again.
Now it's time for the French international to begin the next chapter of his career.
While many players start to endure at least a minor drop off in their overall ability starting at age 30, there have been very few signs of that with Sagna. He has remained a reliable defender on the right side with the pace and distribution skills to jump-start attacks.
As stats from WhoScored.com show, he's also a major asset in aerial duels:
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
The question, and potentially part of the reason Arsenal weren't able to reach terms with him on an extension, surrounds how much longer he'll be able to play at the level.
That's why it's tough to hand out a high-priced, long-term deal to a veteran, no matter how good he has been.
Do you think the Sagna signing will work out?
Sagna hopes to prove the Gunners made a mistake by letting him get away. That can be a major motivating factor, although the defender seemed to leave Arsenal on good terms aside from the lack of progress toward an extension.
Sagna showcased fine durability during his stay with Arsenal. He appeared in at least 29 matches each season. He should make a smooth transition to City, although he will face a fight for his jersey.
Pablo Zabaleta is a fan favourite at the Etihad and was arguably the most consistent right-back in the country last season. In all likelihood, Sagna will arrive as an alternative rather than a replacement.
Sagna might not generate the same type of attention as other signings, but he's a very solid addition.