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Bacary Sagna Transfer Link to Manchester City Underlines Arsenal Malaise

Arsenal's Bacary Sagna  leaves the field after the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium in Stoke On Trent, England, Saturday, March 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press
James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2014

Losing Bacary Sagna would be hard enough for Arsenal fans. Losing him to Manchester City would be almost too painful to bear.

Since arriving at Arsenal in 2006, Sagna has been one of the club’s most consistent performers. There are few better right-backs in European football.

This season, Sagna has added versatility to his many other attributes. On several occasions, he has filled in at both centre-half and left-back without missing a beat. He is an invaluable presence in the Arsenal squad.

However, it seems the Gunners won’t be able to count on him for long. Sagna’s current Arsenal contract expires this summer, and having thus far failed to agree on a new deal, he is now expected to leave the club on a Bosman free.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Referee Mike Jones talks with Bacary Sagna during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty I
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Enter Manchester City.

The main problem between Sagna and Arsenal has reportedly been the proposed length of a contract extension. Arsene Wenger is reluctant to commit to him long-term. The Manchester giants have no such worries.

According to David Hytner of The Guardian, City are preparing to offer Sagna the three-year deal he is after:

Bacary Sagna has been offered a three-year deal by Manchester City and he will consider whether to become the latest Arsenal player to move between the clubs in the summer. The 31-year-old full-back remains locked in contractual stand-off with Arsenal, the club he joined in 2007 and his current terms are set to expire in June, making him a free agent.

It’s a well-trodden path. The likes of Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gael Clichy have all left Arsenal for Manchester City in search of money and medals. However, the regularity doesn’t make the occurrence any more galling.

As he has shown throughout this campaign, Sagna still has plenty to offer at this level. Many Arsenal fans have made their peace with the prospect of him leaving, but the possibility of him strengthening a rival is a new and painful twist.

Supporters would far prefer to see him move abroad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Bacary Sagna of Arsenal reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on March 25, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

If Sagna is to depart, it seems he will have plenty of options. On the continent, Inter Milan have already declared an interest. Having snared Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United in a similar deal, the Italians are now looking to add Sagna to their back line.

Inter's club president, Erick Thohir, spoke with Inter Milan's official website (h/t BBC Sport) about Sagna:

We're interested in Sagna because we need to balance the team. 

Right now we only have [Yuto] Nagatomo and Jonathan. If one of them gets injured you need somebody else to come in.

If Sagna decided to stay in England, we'd understand and in that case we might bring in a young player from our academy.

When Thohir floated the possibility of Sagna staying in England, Arsenal fans had renewed hope that he might remain with the club. News of City’s interest has sparked fears that another stalwart could defect to a Premier League rival.

 

James McNicholas is Bleacher Reports lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.

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