Former Arsenal right back Bacary Sagna could leave Manchester City this summer, so we ask: was the move really worth it?
Sagna spent seven seasons with Arsenal before deciding in 2014 that it was time to move on. He joined Manchester City on a free transfer, rejecting Arsenal’s two-year offer due to “discussions not going in the direction I wanted”.
Arsenal to Manchester City is a well-trodden path as the likes of Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri all made the switch in pursuit of more trophies and higher salaries. Sagna was the latest to follow, presumably for a greater chance at glory.
Sagna won just one FA Cup during his time at Arsenal and experienced several of the late season collapses that saw the club fail to challenge for the Premier League.
From that perspective, the move made a lot of sense as Manchester City, who were the defending Champions, were better placed to challenge for the title than Arsenal were.
As expected, City finished higher than Arsenal in the table during the 2014-15 season, but still finished eight points behind Champions Chelsea. While Arsenal’s own title challenge faded, they went on to secure a second consecutive FA Cup, which was one more trophy than City won that season. Both City and Arsenal were eliminated in the Last 16 of the Champions League as well.
The following season, it was Arsenal who made more of an attempt on the title than City. City finished in a disappointing fourth place, though did win the League Cup and progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Arsenal went trophy-less, but managed to finish in second on the final day.
Last season, neither Arsenal or City got close to the title, and ended up battling it out for a spot in the top four. City came on on top of that one, while Arsenal finished fifth. Arsenal would go on to win another FA Cup.
Ultimately, if Sagna’s goal was to win the Premier League with Manchester City, as his former Arsenal team-mates did, then the move didn’t work out as well as hoped. While City have fared a bit better in the Champions League, Arsenal have won more trophies than City in the three years since Sagna left.
However, it’s likely that Sagna doesn’t have any regrets about leaving Arsenal. His feelings that Arsenal wouldn’t be able to compete for major trophies were justified, and on a personal level the new surroundings may have done him some good.
Had Sagna opted to stay at Arsenal, last season would’ve marked a decade at the club. He would surely have been better appreciated in London than he was in Manchester.
But, in the end, his departure paved the way for Hector Bellerin to solidify himself in the Arsenal first team.
Arsenal certainly haven’t missed him.