Sagna - Why I left Arsenal and what’s next for me

A dependable performer down our right-hand side during his seven years in north London, Bacary Sagna was criticised by some quarters when he left to join Manchester City in 2014.

The France international made 284 appearances for us before leaving for pastures new at the end of his contract, but says that his move up north was strictly professional.

“Many people didn’t understand why I left but I’m going to clear this up one more time,” he told Arsenal Player. “It’s not about the money because I stayed with Arsenal for six years on the same contract, I never asked for anything.

“I just needed a new challenge and I needed to challenge myself and I think it was the right time for me to leave and when I eventually did it was really difficult because Pablo Zabaleta was one of the main players of the team and the first year was quite difficult for me, but I kept training hard and during the second year I was one of the players who played the most and I think I did well.

“During the second year I went to the European Championships and we reached the final against Portugal and we lost unfortunately. Then I came back a bit tired and I got injured last year. I had a good four years but I always kept an eye on the team.

“Now I’ve got some thinking to do with my agent. I still want to play and I think I still have a few years left in me but once I retire, I’m not sure being a manager will suit me because I’m too nice. It will make me sad to put one player out of the team, so more agent maybe because of what I’ve been through over the past year. I think I’ve seen a lot about football and it’s not football that I imaged when I was a kid.

“I think the past year was very interesting for me because I learned a lot. Even at 34 I saw some stuff - crazy stuff - and I don’t want young kids and young players to go through that process. Maybe being an agent I will try to give my experience to them and advise them as best as possible to help them avoid making the same mistakes I did.”

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