Bacary Sagna has issued his final farewell to Arsenal fans after he completed his free transfer to Premier League rivals Manchester City, admitting that the club made him into “the man he is today”.
Sagna is out on contract at the end of the month and will join up with City following the completion of the World Cup, having previously announced that he will be leaving Arsenal after seven years with the club.
For the Gunners, the move is particularly sour as Sagna will be the latest in a line of first-team players that have moved on to the current Premier League champions, with Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all being lured to the Citizens since their 2008 Abu Dhabi takeover.
In a final message to Arsenal fans, Sagna has thanked them for his stay at the club and especially manager Arsene Wenger for showing the belief in him to “change his life”.
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
1/8 Guillermo Ochoa
The Mexican goalkeeper rose to fame thanks to his brilliant performance against Brazil in the World Cup. The 28-year-old, who left Ajaccio at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
2/8 Rio Ferdinand
Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer. Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract. Ferdinand said last week that if United did not offer him a new deal that he would be “open to offers” but joked that he “would not go below the Conference”. That is unlikely to be an issue as there should be no shortage of clubs looking for a defender of his experience. Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.
3/8 Diego Lugano
The Uruguay captain hit the headlines in Brazil for the wrong reasons as his complete denial that team-mate Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini when everyone else could see it. His contract with West Brom is up for renewal, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to remain in the Premier League.
4/8 Nicolas Anelka
Sacked by West Brom last season for his controversial 'Quenelle' gesture, Anelka has not yet confirmed whether he will sign for a new club - should anyone want him - or announce his retirement.
5/8 Frank Lampard
As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season. But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.
6/8 Marouane Chamakh
The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better. Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety. Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.
7/8 Samuel Eto'o
The striker did not cover himself in glory at the 2014 World Cup, as Cameroon's campaign was blighted by a money row over bonuses and poor performances in Brazil that saw them eliminated at the group stages. However, the Champions League winner will still have a number of clubs interested in his services, with Arsenal being linked in recent weeks.
8/8 Nicklas Bendtner
Despite a fairly successful season by his standards, Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out of Arsenal. The Dane has scored twice this year, in wins over Hull and Cardiff, but he fell behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order while not always conducting himself immaculately off the pitch. He turned down moves away from Arsenal last summer that would have meant pay cuts but this summer he must be hopeful of maximising his value as a free agent.
Posting on his Instagram account, Sagna wrote: “To be fair, i don't even know where to start or even how to say it... but i just wanna thank the whole Arsenal fc... a family to me, a club who taught me so much in 7years, a club where i had the chance to progress day by day, a club who always gave me his trust whenever i was personally not at my best , a club who change the kid i was to the man i am today, a club where i had the pleasure to give 200 pr cent every game. [SIC]
“I wanna thank the whole staff working at the club, the fans for accepting me so fast, making it smoove for myself and my family, my team mates witch i consider my true friends today and i had a great pleasure learning with them.[SIC]
“Of course i wanna thank the coach MR WENGER... who believed in me..gave me his trust..and clearly changed my life. Now, it's time for me to move on and one more time THANK YOU .”[SIC]
The news comes a day after Arsenal had to endure the taunts of their London rivals following Chelsea's swoop for their former captain Cesc Fabregas, who will head to Stamford Bridge next season after a £30m deal was agreed with Barcelona.