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Bacary Sagna kisses goodbye to legend status at Arsenal with Manchester City move

The media is rife with stories of Bacary Sagna attending a medical at Manchester City and agreeing a 3 year deal worth, depending on reports, 120-140k per week. My Twitter timeline has been drenched in Sagna tweets with the majority thanking him for his time and wishing him well and the minority calling him a [?]

Has Bacary Sagna played his last game for Arsenal?

The media is rife with stories of Bacary Sagna attending a medical at Manchester City and agreeing a 3 year deal worth, depending on reports, £120-140k per week. My Twitter timeline has been drenched in Sagna tweets with the majority thanking him for his time and wishing him well and the minority calling him a traitor etc.

I’m not quite sure where I sit between those two views. I certainly think he has shown incredible loyalty insofar as him seeing out his contract with Arsenal but I also think that his loyalty would be tainted by joining a rival club.

Thinking on it, tainted probably fairly surmises how I think his time at Arsenal and his reputation amongst the Arsenal faithful will be remembered.

Over the years Arsenal have seen many Gunners pulling on the shirt of a Premier League rival and more often than not those players are never thought of badly.

There are, of course, players like Ashley Cole, Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri who receive no affection whatsoever from Arsenal supporters. In each case the manner in which the player left or their conduct towards Arsenal once gone is the root cause for the ill-will.

Cole “almost crashed” his car because of how Arsenal “disrespected” him and then held illegal meetings with the biggest axe wound in world football.

Adebayor ran the length of the pitch to antagonistically celebrate in front of the Arsenal support.

Nasri gave it large on Twitter – which was a shame because most people respected him for the way he left. He did his best until the very last minute of his Arsenal career and he didn’t force the move unlike another midfielder who left that year who is regarded more fondly because he has never spoken jive about us.

And Van Persie… Joining Manchester United was always going to end any affection we ever had for him but that statement is what turned love into hate, and what would have been indifference to utter loathing.

Players like Toure and Clichy had come to the natural end of their Arsenal careers and now we feel mostly indifference towards them. In the case of Toure there are some fond memories but ultimately I think most regard him as just another Premier League player with no conscious connection with Arsenal.

If Sagna joins Manchester City, or worse; Chelsea, then I think he’ll be regarded much in the same way as Kolo Toure and I think that would be a real shame.

Sagna has been a great servant to this club and despite being a team that either flattered to deceive or limped over the finishing line he was never considered a part of the “problem”. He was always going to be part of the solution, the success that was bound to come and destined to go down as an Arsenal legend.

Leaving on a high, as an FA Cup winner, I think is just about enough to be considered an Arsenal legend but only if he joins a club overseas.

Many have said to me that he loves English football and doesn’t want to uproot his family but he’ll have to do that anyway if he moves to Manchester so what is so bad about moving to Paris?

I’ve also been told that he wants one last big contract and we would do the same but I don’t agree with that logic. Most of us don’t earn in a year what these people make in a week, or a day if he ends up on £140k a week, so of course we would jump at the chance to double our salary but we aren’t talking about poor people here.

Sagna isn’t struggling to make ends meet and what he has earned from football already would set him and his children up for life. He doesn’t need to make the extra money at City, he wantsto and that is where I think his reputation will be tarnished.

He could earn big money at a host of clubs outside of England or could stay at Arsenal with a modest increase and then pocket a whopping golden handshake by qualifying for a testimonial. He could then get a final payday in Qatar or something or just retire as a legend. More money than he can spend, legend status and people who will adore him (as a footballer) until the day he dies. That is what is on offer but joining City takes the last two away because he’ll never amount to anything more than “just another player” to both clubs. He’ll never be special. Defenders rarely are, unless they spend a heck of a long time at a club (or their entire careers) like Bould, Adams, Keown, Samson, Winterburn, Dixon and O’Leary. Or they score an important goal like Linighan in the 1993 Cup final.

I wouldn’t hate Sagna for signing for City, far from it. And I would never boo him (unless he started talking jive about us) but I won’t remember him fondly. I won’t remember him at all. He was never part of anything special at Arsenal until his final game and his next game could be lining up against Arsenal so how could I ever think of him in any other way than an opposition player?

I still hold hope that he will see the light and stay at Arsenal because he’ll still get handsomely paid but also hope he decides to move abroad if he does leave.

Sadly, I think we’ll be seeing him in a sky blue shirt next season and in a few decades his memory as an Arsenal player will have all but disappeared. What a shame.

Published with permission from North London Is Red.

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