Benevento Calcio have confirmed the signing of former Arsenal and Manchester City Bacary Sagna on a free transfer.
The 34-year-old was released from City in June 2017 and joins the Italian Serie A side on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
“This morning, at the Caravaggio Sporting Village in Naples, an agreement was reached between Benevento Calcio and footballer Bacary Sagna,” said the club statement.
“In the presence of President Oreste Vigorito, the French defender of Senegalese origins signed a contract that binds him to the Giallorossi club until 30th June and includes the option for an extension until 30 June 2019.”
Sagna’s switch to the Stadio Ciro Vigorito comes as a shock given Benevento prop up the Serie A table, sitting rock bottom with just seven points from 22 games this season. The club were only re-founded in 2005 and were in the third tier of Italian football in 2016.
Benevento earned promotion to Serie B 18 months ago and reached Serie A via the playoffs the following season. Sagna revealed in an interview with Football Fancast that he was seduced by the club’s story, admitting he turned down bigger and better offers elsewhere to join Roberto De Zerbi’s side.
“In the past few months, I have had several offers from clubs in the top leagues in England, France, Spain, Turkey, the MLS and elsewhere in Italy. However, they were not the right moves for myself or my family,” the defender said.
“Going to Benevento is not a move I am making for financial reasons. I could have gone to many other clubs, many of whom made substantial offers to me.
“My career for the past decade has been at the very top level, what Benevento offers me is the opportunity to represent the underdog and to play for a club whose story is such a beautiful one.”
The French international certainly has his work cut out, as Benevento have the worst defensive record (49) this season and are 13 points adrift of safety.
Nevertheless, Sagna brings a wealth of experience to the Stadio Ciro Vigorito, having made 285 appearances for Arsenal and 86 for Manchester City, winning two domestic cups for his troubles.
He could make his debut in the coming week.