Bacary Sagna confirms negotiations with Crystal Palace and West Ham United
Former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has revealed that he had been discussions with Crystal Palace and West Ham United prior to penning a contract with Serie A strugglers Benevento. The 35-year-old had been keen on a return to the English capital following his release from the Citizens last summer.
In an exclusive interview with L'Equipe, Sagna confirmed that he had begun initial talks with the Eagles and Hammers nearly 12 months ago, but neither side showed strong interest in acquiring his signature on a Bosman, he said: "I had been in contact with West Ham and Crystal Palace since March 2017. In my mind, I wanted to go home, back to London. Overnight they cut off contact without explanation."
With no further interest from the English top-flight, Sagna opted to test himself in the Serie A, which he is now with bottom-sided Benevento. The Italian minnows have overcome their initial difficulties to pick up three wins in their maiden top-flight season, but they are still 11 points adrift of safety with just 13 matches left in the campaign.
At 35, Sagna has entered the twilight of his professional career, but he could have still remained a valuable utility player for one of West Ham or Crystal Palace. The Eagles, in particular, have seen the likes of Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Martin Kelly absent from the heart of the defence, and they may regret the decision to ignore Sagna's availability.
Despite a long-serving career in the Premier League, Sagna was unlucky to have not lifted the league title with either Arsenal or Manchester City. The Frenchman won a solitary FA Cup medal with the Gunners during an eight-year stint, and his three years with City were also less fruitful with just the League Cup crown to boost. His former sides tussle in the aforementioned competition at the Wembley this weekend.