Navas, Clichy, Ca­ballero and Sagna in City ex­o­dus

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER: Span­ish in­ter­na­tional winger Je­sus Navas, and ex­pe­ri­enced French de­fender Gael Clichy on Thurs­day headed a quar­tet of play­ers to be re­leased by Manch­ester City in the promised close sea­son clearout.

City an­nounced later on Thurs­day re­serve goal­keeper Willy Ca­ballero, who fa­mously saved three penal­ties in the shootout win over Liver­pool in the 2016 League Cup fi­nal, would also be leav­ing.

In a busy day of prun­ing the squad — re­spon­si­ble for an un­der­whelm­ing cam­paign that re­sulted in the first ever tro­phy­less sea­son for man­ager Pep Guardi­ola — Clichy’s com­pa­triot and fel­low French in­ter­na­tional de­fender 34-year-old Bacary Sagna was also told his ser­vices were no longer re­quired.

The quar­tet join vet­eran Ar­gen­tinian full-back Pablo Za­baleta in leav­ing af­ter their con­tracts ended.

Ivo­rian mid­field great Yaya Toure is an­other whose con­tract is up but hav­ing forced his way back into favour he has im­pressed on the pitch.

Navas, 31, made over 100 Pre­mier League ap­pear­ances for City over the four years he spent there — scor­ing four times — and was a piv­otal mem­ber of the 2013/14 ti­tle win­ning team.

“Work­ing with Je­sus has been a plea­sure,” said City di­rec­tor of foot­ball Txiki Be­giris­tain.

“His hard work, ded­i­ca­tion, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and de­sire to win have been ap­par­ent ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Clichy, also 31, won two Pre­mier League crowns and twice lifted the League Cup in the six years he spent at the club af­ter join­ing from ri­vals Arse­nal.

“To win four ma­jor tro­phies and help es­tab­lish the club as one of the top teams in English foot­ball has been an in­cred­i­ble jour­ney that I’m proud to have been a part of,” the French in­ter­na­tional told the club web­site.

“It’s amaz­ing to see where the club is to­day and I am sure there is plenty more suc­cess to come.”

Ca­ballero, 35, said the 2016 League Cup fi­nal would stay with him for­ever.

“To win the League Cup in such dra­matic cir­cum­stances was spe­cial and it’s a day I will never for­get,” said the 35-year-old, who joined from Malaga in 2014.

Aside from those out of con­tract there are oth­ers who were sent out on loan like Eng­land goal­keeper Joe Hart, volatile French mid­fielder Samir Nasri and mis­fir­ing striker Wil­fried Bony who could also be off­loaded.

(From left) Manch­ester City’s Je­sus Navas, Gael Clichy, Willy Ca­ballero and Bacary Sagna.

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