Bacary Sagna has been offered a three-year deal by Manchester City and he will consider whether to become the latest Arsenal player to move between the clubs in the summer. The 31-year-old full-back remains locked in contractual stand-off with Arsenal, the club he joined in 2007, and his current terms are set to expire in June, making him a free agent.
Arsène Wenger, the manager, has indicated a readiness to break the club's general policy of granting only one-year extensions to players in their thirties and he is extremely keen for Sagna to stay. The France international has proved his worth on many occasions this season.
There is an offer of a new two-year contract at the Emirates Stadium ready for Sagna to sign but he is holding out for three. The right-back knows that City will give him what he wants, not to mention a significant increase on his £50,000-a-week salary.
The path from Arsenal to City is well trodden, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy each making the move between 2009-2011. Other former Arsenal players are employed or have been employed by Manchester City, namely Patrick Vieira, Brian Kidd, Brian Marwood, David Platt and Stuart Taylor, while Wenger remembers how Yaya Touré, the City midfielder, played for Arsenal in a pre-season friendly match in 2003 when on trial at the club. His performance against Barnet, Wenger has said, was "completely average".
Sagna is embroiled in a game of brinkmanship with Arsenal and he has not ruled out staying if the club were to give him the length of contract that he wants. He is in a strong position, with interest from elsewhere in his services. Liverpool and even Tottenham Hotspur would take him on a Bosman transfer (although the latter is a non-starter on Sagna's side) while Internazionale, Paris St-Germain and Monaco are also keen.
The Inter president, Erick Thohir, told his club's official website about his wish to secure Sagna's signature. "We're interested in Sagna because we need to balance the team," Thohir said. "Right now, we only have [Yuto] Nagatomo and Jonathan [Moreira]. If one of them gets injured, you need somebody else to come in.
"But it Sagna decided to stay in England, we would understand and in that case, we might bring in a young player from our academy."
Arsenal play City at the Emirates on Saturday and they are determined to restore momentum to their Premier League campaign after last Saturday's 6-0 drubbing at Chelsea and Tuesday's disappointing 2-2 home draw with Swansea City, when Mathieu Flamini's 90th-minute own goal cost them dearly. Wenger all but admitted afterwards that Arsenal's title dream had died and he said he was more worried about holding on to fourth place, in the face of Everton's challenge.
The past two results have intensified the debate about whether Wenger should continue in the job – he has yet to sign his new contract, although there remains the belief at the club that he will do so – while they have highlighted the fragility of the collective confidence levels. The squad also looks stretched, with a handful of players out injured.
But Flamini said that the Wenger contract issue was having no bearing on the players and he called on them to show their strength. "We focus on our season and the next game with Manchester City," Flamini said.
"Afterwards, what is happening with the coach … it is his future. It is not ours. When you play a big game, you cannot lose it in the first ten or 15 minutes, so we have to be focused. These games are battles and you have to win the duels, and then play your football.
"I do feel that there are more leaders on the pitch [at Arsenal]; more personality, more character. That's very important because it was maybe missing a bit in the past couple of years. The communication on the pitch is very important."