Clichy is one example of a player signed young by Arsenal before being sold for profit. He joined Manchester City for £7million in 2011, while Kolo Toure, Bacary Sagna Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri also made the same move at different times.
Since the Abu Dhabi United Group took control of City in 2008, they have won five major trophies to Arsenal’s two. Clichy accepts that Gunners supporters crave prizes, but the 31-year-old says the City hierarchy admire Arsenal’s work in the past.
In recent years, Arsenal have spent significant funds on Mesut Ozil (£42.5m), Alexis Sanchez (£31.7m) and Granit Xhaka (£34m). Yet still Clichy argues they are operating in a different transfer market from City.
“Arsenal are a club who bring in players at 16 for free and then maybe sell them six years later, for £50m,” said Clichy. “I’m not sure City are capable of doing this at the moment, but they will eventually. For now they are a different club. New players will be coming next year.
“That is what they want, to be complete in every area of the club – not just the first team. They want to develop the women’s team, they want to improve the academy. It is a club growing year after year – but Arsenal are a special club because of what they are doing.
“You can’t compare Arsenal with any club in England. But of course their fans will say that trophies are what matters in football, and I have no comeback to that.”