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By ESPN Staff

Arsenal sign Auxerre full-back Bacary Sagna

Bacary Sagna has highlighted the appeal of working with Arsene Wenger as a prominent factor in deciding to sign for Arsenal.

The 24-year-old defender has signed a 'long-term' contract at the Emirates Stadium after three seasons as a regular at French club Auxerre, with Wenger's squad starting to take shape ahead of the new Premier League season.

Sagna, who was valued at around £6million, said: 'Arsene Wenger is a major reason why I have signed for Arsenal.

'He is an excellent manager with a fantastic record and I am really looking forward to working with him.'

On his departure to Barcelona, Thierry Henry stated he 'could not take the chance' of Wenger leaving the club when his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Even with just a year left on his current deal, Wenger has never said he wants to leave Arsenal, and Sagna's arrival appears to have underlined the attraction of working with the Frenchman.

Sagna, who models himself on Lilian Thuram as a right-back who can play across the defence, also feels Arsenal can thrive wearing their new label as underdogs as the club head into the post-Henry era.

'We have youth and the fact that no-one really rates us means that maybe we can surprise people,' he added.

'The young players want to prove what they can do and I want to prove what I can do. And all of this together will help us have a good season, I hope.'

Despite Henry's departure, Sagna will have a degree of familiarity when he starts preparations for the new season.

'It is quite a French-speaking club, everybody has put me at ease right from the start and I feel good,' said Sagna, who will wear the number three shirt vacated by Ashley Cole last season.

His arrival is not expected to be the final change to Wenger's squad. Fiorentina are interested in Freddie Ljungberg, and his possible departure could push Emmanuel Eboue into midfield to accommodate Sagna at right-back.

Wenger can also play his new signing in midfield, adding: 'He is strong, quick and enjoys defending but also has a good offensive side to his game.

'He has a fighting spirit and will be a very good addition to our squad.'

Wenger has also been linked with a move for Yoan Gouffran, the 21-year-old striker who helped Caen earn promotion to the top flight of the French leagues.

Caen president Jean-Francois Fortin feels the youngster would benefit from staying in France.

'Yoan is a young player who has not played in Ligue 1 and I am convinced the best thing for him is the stage here,' he told L'Equipe.

'Unlike us, I am not sure the interested clubs could guarantee him a stage to perform like we can. If he is given just 20 minutes at the end of a match - I don't think that is very interesting for him.

'I honestly believe it is too early for him to leave.'