x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Ex-Gunner Clichy joins City and fires a salvo at Manchester United

Frustrated with a barren run at Arsenal, the Frenchman is keen to 'win things' at a club where 'there is no limit'.

A 2009 file picture of Gael Clichy at The Sevens stadium in Dubai.
A 2009 file picture of Gael Clichy at The Sevens stadium in Dubai.

Gael Clichy has become the latest Manchester City new recruit to settle in at Eastlands, as reported by The National few days back, with the Gunners reportedly receiving £7m (Dh41.45m) for the left-back's transfer.

Roberto Mancini's first summer signing has agreed to a four-year contract and started off by launching a sarcastic swipe at  Manchester United.

In January, Edin Dzeko had commented he had been told most football fans in a divided city support the Blues.

The jibe did not go down well at Old Trafford, especially as memories were still fresh of the inflammatory 'Welcome to Manchester' poster that proclaimed the capture of Carlos Tevez and led to Sir Alex Ferguson's condemnation as "stupid and arrogant".

Now Clichy has come out with a similar statement to Dzeko, raising the temperature of a Mancunian duel which now involves the clubs who hold the most important two domestic trophies and will contest the Community Shield at Wembley next month.

"I understand that the people who live in Manchester are the true fans. They are from City," Clichy told www.mcfc.co.uk.

"That is a good point. I won't be bothered by United fans."

Not that Clichy lacks respect for the Red Devils. It is just that, after eight years at Arsenal, he is intent on doing something the Gunners have not managed in the past six — winning something.

Although Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was keen to keep his fellow Frenchman, with Clichy about to enter the final year of his contract, having indicated he was not willing to agree an extension, Arsenal had little option but to cash in.

"There is no limit at Manchester City," Clichy said.

"Of course, you have to be realistic but there is no limit. Where they have come from in three years is phenomenal. And I want to win things."

"I hope I can add to the quality we already have here because we have a fantastic squad who I believe will continue to get better. I can't wait to get started and I think anything is possible with this team."

Observations issued through the medium of an interview with the club he has just joined are unlikely to be too revealing about the failings of the team he has left behind.

Compared to Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who is also on City's wanted list and has been tipped to be reunited quickly with Roberto Mancini's first summer signing, Clichy may not be quite as important to most Gunners fans.

However, if the star duo also quit, big questions will be asked of the Londoners' future direction.

"My season was a bit like the team's," reflected Clichy on another barren campaign at the Emirates.

"We started well and collapsed at the end of the season after the (Carling Cup) final.

"These things happen in football. That is why you can see the importance of having a big squad.

"We had a few players out at the same time. It was difficult to cope with that. We lost Fabregas and (Robin) van Persie at the same time.

"Sometimes it is difficult to have a lot of players because you have to leave some out. But you need to have a big squad to go all the way. That is why I joined City."

Clichy is now in direct competition with Aleksandar Kolarov for the left-back berth.

With Joleon Lescott able to fill that role as well, it is difficult to see Wayne Bridge having any future.

Bridge is one of a number of players Mancini needs to offload to keep his squad manageable, yet the inability to merely give them away due to UEFA's Financial Fair Play restrictions are a hindrance when it comes to further big name arrivals.

Someone who does appear set to stay is Patrick Vieira, given Clichy made a pointed reference to his fellow countryman, although it is not known in exactly what capacity the former Arsenal skipper will remain at Eastlands.

Clichy clearly cannot wait to get started in a battle for silverware which intriguingly pitches him in direct confrontation with the man blocking his path to the French national team, Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

"Patrice is a great player who plays for a great club. You have to accept this," said Clichy.

"Now, I hope it will be a different story. I am at a different club.

"It is not the fact he is in the same city but I am sure in France they will probably ask the same question.

"Hopefully my team will be the winner and that will take me higher with France."