Nasri won’t be missed like Cesc

Samir Nasri

“Imagine the worst situation — we lose Fabregas and Nasri. You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that.

You can’t then pretend you are a big club, because a big club holds on to its best players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they can’t come in and take our players.”
Arsene Wenger, July 11th

August 15th: Cesc Fabregas signs for Barcelona

August 24th: Samir Nasri signs for Man City

It seems a long time ago now, but when Samir Nasri arrived at the club, it was as a replacement for the outgoing Aleksandr Hleb.  After a largely indifferent few years, Hleb had one impressive campaign as a key component of Arsenal’s title charge in 2007/08.  It would be his final season, as Hleb moved on at the first opportunity, joining Barcelona after threatening to invoke the ‘Webster’ ruling and buy out his contract.

Nasri’s departure certainly evokes memories of Hleb’s exit.  Last season was comfortably the Frenchman’s best, and seems to have left him with both an inflated ego and idea of what he ought to be paid.  After turning down a £90,000 p/week contract extension, Nasri left Arsenal with a clear choice: sell him now, or risk losing him for free in twelve months time.

For me, it’s a no-brainer.  As Arsene pointed out, both “economically and psychologically”, the club only had one option.  And, for economic and psychological reasons, Arsenal will be quietly delighted to have sold the player to City rather than United: his original suitors.  It’s worth noting that whilst Hleb left for the mediterranean sun and footballing Mecca of Barcelona, Nasri is moving to Manchester.  Whilst I’m sure he has doubts about Arsenal’s ambition, it’s clear that money has been the major motivating factor.

Hleb’s career has tumbled downhill since leaving: he has found himself unable to replicate his success at Arsenal elsewhere.  He’s an unusual, idiosyncratic footballer, who needs a manager with the patience to indulge a player who, whilst technically brilliant, is prone to overelaboration and seems to be allergic to shooting.

Samir Nasri will have no such problems adapting.  He’s a more effective but more straightforward footballer: quick, skilful, and a smart finisher.  However, by the same token, he is also easier to replace.  Whilst hugely talented, he lacks the intangible quality of ‘vision’ that marked out Cesc Fabregas, say, or even Hleb.  As a goalscoring wide-attacker, the likes of Gervinho and Walcott are well-placed to try and fill the gap left by Nasri’s departure.

The bigger problem remains the creative void created by Fabregas’ move.  Arsene’s plan, of course, was to use Nasri in that role.  As outlined above, I’m not sure he would’ve been the right man for the job.  Cesc was good for twenty assists per season.  I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I believe last season Nasri got one.  Nasri can walk through an open door with plenty of style; Arsenal need someone who can unpick a lock.

Arsene may live to regret the statement of the top of this piece – but he doesn’t have to.  If he spends the £50m or so he’s received for Nasri and Cesc on players of similar quality, then all is recoverable.

Five days.  And counting.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.


  1. lalaland   •  

    and whose our playmaker?
    The really lazy Arshavin? The worthless and pathetic Aaron Ramsay (who hates getting stuck in and hates hard work)?
    The very injured and slothy Rosicky?
    The drunken brute and much injured Wilshere?
    or the worthless Diaby?

    • lalaland's father   •  

      Son, you should get off the computer besides wanking and flogging all our players you don’t much else. Remember the last time Ramsey got ‘stuck in,’ some thug broke his leg in two. Ramsey, Rosicky, and Wilshere give it their all when they wear the shirt. You should do the same by supporting the club instead of being a cunt.

      Your father

  2. Kalix   •  

    Agree. Gervinho is as good or maybe even a little better than Nasri. But Cesc creativity will be missed. We have no players in the squad that is even close yet. Wilshere and Ramsey might be able to get to his level, but they are seasons away at the moment.

    • Tayo fashanu   •  

      It has becom delima to frecnh plays hold clud to a ransome can you imagain the ingrate nasri no wounder dat is the reason why he was not taken to the world cup, and wenger should stop injectin france player into arsenal team again becox they are all ingrate, i wich fabrigas success in his carria and he will always welcum at emmirate stadium, look at the life of adebayo, hleb, flaminin, they were no were to be found very soon is nasri an ingrate player tak a look at loyer ecuador he was welcum warmly at emmirate stadium henry also did u think that ingrate nasri wil be welcum?

    • Tayo fashanu   •  

      It has becom delima to frecnh plays hold clud to a ransome can you imagain the ingrate nasri no wounder dat is the reason why he was not taken to the world cup, and wenger should stop injectin france player into arsenal team again becox they are all ingrate, i wich fabrigas success in his carria and he will always welcum at emmirate stadium, look at the life of adebayo, hleb, flaminin, they were no were to be found very soon is nasri an ingrate player tak a look at loyer ecuador he was welcum warmly at emmirate stadium henry also did u think that ingrate nasri wil be welcum? Wenger should stop d stupidity of saling our key players and buy more mature player a very stubone choach in oh EPL dat doen take other pple advice and the useless board menbers , also the inresponsibles shereholder who are only after profit they dnt care about the fans

  3. DeiseGooner   •  

    wow lalaland, do yo like ANY of our players? :)

  4. Glauco Gomes   •  

    Rosicky is the man for this job: experienced, committed and creative. He has proven before in Cesc’s absence that he can fill this role successfully. Whoever says he’s no playmaker has got to be kidding. Only issue left is to deal with injuries. Once he gets a good run of games, he can definitely become our new maestro.

  5. Dennis   •  

    Lalaland. You’re living in lalaland mate. Get a grip.

  6. moyeen   •  

    Cesc left for footballing reason.Imagine taking cut wages.I think in few years time he will win the world best footballer thats how good he is.No wonder Barca put 175m on his back.iam happy that and Real never can buy Cesc,xabi,Inesta and messi

  7. Shandyman   •  

    From what I’ve seen so far, Gervais is more than an adequate replacement for Nasri. Can run, can dribble, can create. It’s not the wing we need to worry about there. Theo, Oxlade, Arshavin could all fit in there too.

    Re: the comment about Rosicky being our playmaker, you got to be kidding. When has he even strung together three games on the trot and influenced a game to good effect? To rely on him as your central playmaker is madness of the highest order. Would have been a good idea after the 2006 World Cup perhaps.

    I read somewhere we were thinking of loaning Kaka from Real Madrid but they don’t want a loan, they want to offload him and his astronomical wages. So no chance of him coming then. Sad that one of the best players in the world has degraded to such a position. Should never have left his beloved AC Milan for the cutthroat dog-eat-dog world of Madrid. Seem to recall from 2006-09 he was easily the best player on the planet. Remember him skinning Messi and running the length of the pitch to score against Argentina? He would be a fantastic replacement for Fabregas. But who am I kidding? In our dreams perhaps! Probably we’ll get M’Vila and call it a day!

  8. LaLalands...   •  

    I’m sorry I’m such a prick. I’m off to shag my mum now

  9. LaLaland..   •  

    Ps I’m a spurs fan

  10. andy   •  

    Definitely will miss Cesc, as we don’t have a good player maker, so from that point we will struggle to score goals (so far this season we have scored 0 goals and had probably 3 shots on target). Our formation relies on the midfielders scoring goals. Wenger is reluctant to play Rosicky cos he doesn’t score and Arshavin looks a shadow of himself. Anyway, the point is we need a creative player to open up the game and create opportunities.

  11. moyeen   •  

    mr wenger diaby,djouru,squlaci,bendtner arent good enough see that please,and buy at least average players.your reputation is om the line dont say winning carling cup we won a throphy.c.cup won by birmingham 1st division.fa cup winners portsmouth 1st divisin.any one can win these the league or c.league no chance with these potencilly world class pretenders.

  12. Phill   •  

    Nasri may be reduced as adebayor in man city. Man city, chelsea nd man u have spoilt england transfer market. Far man city, its a strategy for oda club in england not to buy there player except on loan like odas. I miss cesc and as for nasri, he has ended his carreer by not going to be featured regularly.

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