It’s been 11 years since Bacary Sagna swapped Auxerre for Arsenal, leaving central France for a new life in our capital.
Bacary went on to make 284 appearances for the club, lifting the FA Cup in 2014 during a seven-year spell.
On the anniversary of his signing, the former France international lifted the lid on how he found his way to north London.
“I used to play in Auxerre for three years,” Sagna told Arsenal Player. “We won the French Cup and then I joined the national team’s under-21s. We had a good campaign because we qualified for the European Championship in Portugal in 2006.
“We lost in the semi-final and I think I remember seeing Gilles Grimandi in the stands. I knew him as a player but I didn’t know he was working for Arsenal.
“The following year I was playing all season, I was named best right-back in France and by March, my agent contacted me and said Arsenal were interested and they wanted me to join the team. So I was like ‘Oooh, Arsenal!’
“As a French boy, it was a dream to play for Arsenal because they were the ‘French English team’ because of Thierry, because of Patrick Vieira and even more recently because of Abou Diaby. I used to play with him in France and I was only glad to see him playing for the team. I had the opportunity myself to come and play for the team and so I was like ‘please!’.
“It was a bit of a battle because the team didn’t want to let me go and I spent my summer on the phone, even when I was on the beach. Maybe two days before the team came back for pre-season, I had the green light to come and join Arsenal. So I packed my stuff and I moved.”