Bacary Sagna admits he turned down the chance to train with Arsenal during his time without a club because he didn’t want to get in the way of players already at the club or block Mathieu Debuchy.

Sagna’s contract with Manchester City came to an end back in May last year. He then went eight months without a club before finally joining Benevento in Serie A.

He told Wednesday’s L’Equipe that he had the opportunity to return to Arsenal to train but decided against it.

L’Equipe, 21 Feb 2018

“I trained all alone during this period (without a club),” he recalled.

“I could have trained with Arsenal, but I declined the offer, because I’d read in an interview that Arsene Wenger said he had too many players.

“Also, out of respect for Mathieu Debuchy, who was still at the club and lacking game time. I didn’t want to go back in these conditions.”

Unwilling to return to Arsenal, Sagna says he was in contact with other London clubs before he left City.

“I was in touch with West Ham and Crystal Palace since March 2017. In my mind, I wanted to go home, to London, to give priority to my family. One day, they cut contact without explanation.”

After failing to sign with any London sides, Sagna started to look around the league for the next best thing.

He came very close to signing with Leicester City, but the deal ended up falling apart on deadline day.

“Then, there was Leicester,” Sagna explained. “This wasn’t London, but it wasn’t very far. It was practically agreed. I didn’t have enormous demands.

“I’ve never been greedy, despite what I’ve read here and there. I just made a counter proposal, and was expecting them at least to get back to me.

“They asked Manchester City for my medical record and everything was O.K. It was Leicester that called me, that made the offer. And then, nothing.

“Then, they released an apology, the transfer of Adrien Silva would have made the deal difficult with financial fair play.

“They wanted me to go down there anyway, without moving forward on contractual terms. I refused.”

The right-back then explained that a return to France was never on the table, so instead he joined Benevento.

The Italian side are rock bottom of Serie A, 11 points away from safety.

That gap is represents one point more than they have managed to pick up all season after 25 games.