By Rob Stewart
Gael Clichy is expected to complete his £7 million move from Arsenal to Manchester City in time for the start of pre-season training next week.
Clichy is currently overseas but is due back in England on Monday when the France international will finalise his transfer to Arsenal’s Premier League rivals before teaming up with his new colleagues on Tuesday.
It is understood that the 25-year-old will undergo a medical over the weekend and then put the finishing touches to a four-year contract that will see the defender almost double the salary he received at the Emirates to some £90,000-per-week.
“He is not in the country at the moment [but the] deal is more or less done and it is hoped that Gael will be with City when the players report back for the first day of pre-season training on Tuesday,” a City source told Goal.com.
“He is likely to undergo a medical at some point over the weekend but most of the other aspects of the transfer are agreed and he will be able to complete the formalities of the deal when he arrives in Manchester on Monday before preparations for the new season start.”
Clichy’s arrival will see Aleksandar Kolarov become his understudy and will hasten the departure from Eastlands of former England and Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge, who was loaned to West Ham last season and was last month linked with a move to Newcastle.
Arsenal decided to allow Clichy to depart because the player could have left on a free transfer at the end of next season with his current deal due to expire in a year’s time.
The signing of Clichy represents a major coup for the Manchester club as they prepare to compete in the Champions League for the first time because the player had been expected to join Liverpool in a £5.5m deal before City entered the race for his services.
City are also close to completing moves for Italian midfielder Alessio Cerci and Montenegrin defender Stefan Savic.
Cerci, 23, who is currently playing for Serie A side Fiorentina, will head to City in a £7m deal and will be eased into Premier League football gradually with an eye on the long-term future.
City are prepared to pay Partizan Belgrade £6m for 20-year-old centre-back Savic but the Serbian club are holding out for £8m for a player who will provide back-up for the likes of Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure.
Meanwhile, City have told Aston Villa to double the money they are currently offering for Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper Shay Given.
City value the 35-year-old at £5m but Villa, who are seeking a new goalkeeper following the departure of Brad Friedel to Tottenham, have so far only offered £2.5m for a player who is also interesting Scottish Premier League side Celtic.