By Wayne Veysey
Gael Clichy has told Arsenal that he wants to leave the club with Inter emerging as favourites to land his signature.
Liverpool and Manchester City have both made approaches for the 25-year-old while German side Bayern Munich have also made the left-back aware of their interest.
Clichy, whose contract expires in 2012, has told manager Arsene Wenger he is ready to pursue a move to a new club. Sources close to the France international believe a departure is now inevitable.
Inter have made their interest in Clichy clear to Arsenal and held informal talks with the player. The Gunners are demanding a £5.5 (€6.3) million fee for their longest-serving player and will not stand in the way of a move, given that Clichy can move for free in 12 months time.
Should the Serie A outfit meet the Gunners' asking price then a switch could be completed early in the transfer window.
Inter’s on-loan Japanese left-back Yuto Nagatomo has been a big hit at San Siro since January but Cristian Chivu struggled in that role earlier in the season and the Italian club are keen to permanently fill what has become a problem position for them.
Clichy, who can also expect a hike on his £50,000-a-week (€57,000) wages given the more favourable tax rates in Italy, fits the bill as a proven performer at left-back.
Bayern have let their interest in Clichy be known as they look to recruit a new left-back and central defender during the forthcoming window.
Gael force | Clichy has made 40 starts for Arsenal this season but wants a new challenge
There is a possibility that the German club could re-shuffle their defence, buy a new right-back and put Philipp Lahm back in the position he has filled many times for the national team. But it is believed that the desired option is to bolster the left flank.
As revealed by Goal.com, the club have already had meetings with Benfica left-back Fabio Coentrao, but have now targeted Clichy as a back-up option, with Real Madrid also interested in the Portuguese star.
Despite missing Arsenal’s final three fixtures of the season through injury, only Bacary Sagna started as many league games (33) as Clichy this season, and only Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Sagna exceeded his total of 40 starts for the team in all competitions.
His form has improved in the second half of the season, which has been enough to keep his understudy and heir apparent Kieran Gibbs on the sidelines.
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