Manchester City's new £7m signing Gael Clichy last night said he had left Arsenal for the club because he wanted to win trophies and suggested Arsène Wenger's squad had "collapsed" last season because it lacked depth.
Arsenal's unwillingness to match Clichy's wage demands have played a part in the Frenchman's decision to move north and collect a huge weekly wage increase to around £90,000, and the French left-back had also begun to question Wenger's desire to keep him. But Clichy said City – who hope to conclude the signing of Partizan Belgrade's Montenegrin centre-back Stefan Savic before the players fly to the United States on tour on Friday – had the depth of squad to win the silverware which has eluded his former club for six years.
"I joined City because I wanted to win a lot of things," Clichy said. "[Last season] started well and we just collapsed at the end of the season after the [Carling Cup] final. Things can happen and you see the importance of having a big squad. We had a few players out [at Arsenal] and its difficult for a team to cope without Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas at the same time. As a team you need a big squad if you want to go a long way. That's why I joined City – because I wanted to win a lot of things. You always progress with competition [for places]."
Some Arsenal fans will view the player's departure with cynicism. In July 2009, after Emmanuel Adebayor's departure to Eastlands, Clichy said: "I really think if you are a player who thinks only about money then you could end up at Manchester City. You have to think if you want to play for a big club and have your image, or if you want to play for a good club and earn big money."
But Wenger last night offered him thanks "for eight years of terrific service to Arsenal, during which time he gave absolutely everything. He has grown and developed as a player so much."
City's website, which screened an interview with Clichy, pointed out that the arrival of the 25-year-old, who has 45 Champions League appearances under his belt but has scored only twice in his eight years in north London, presented a challenge to the current £16m left-back Aleksandr Kolarov.
Arsenal's former players has been a frequent resource for City during their own ascent under Abu Dhabi ownership, with Kolo Touré and Patrick Vieira among the old boys. Touré's wife used to bake cakes for Clichy during their Arsenal days.
The Frenchman was on message with Manchester rivalries when he said last night: "The people who live in Manchester are the true fans. I wont be bothered by United fans." He also said it would be satisfying to score against Arsenal, "though I won't do what Emmanuel did" – a reference to Adebayor's incitement of fans two seasons ago which earned the Togolese an improper conduct charge.