Traitor or realist? Samir Nasri leaves Arsenal for Manchester City
Midfielder completes �22m switch to follow Cesc Fabregas out of Arsenal
Samir Nasri will be granted his wish to leave Arsenal after the club agreed terms on his �22m move to Manchester City – and doubled his wages to �180,000 a week.
After increased speculation that the transfer could be in jeopardy if the French midfielder participated in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Udinese, Arsenal announced that the 24-year-old will follow Gael Clichy to Eastlands as has been mooted for most of the summer.
“Arsenal can confirm that they have agreed terms for Samir Nasri to move to Manchester City,” said a club statement on Tuesday.
“[Nasri] has been omitted from Arsenal’s squad which flies to Udinese this afternoon and instead will travel north for a medical.”
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Nasri had surprisingly started in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, but it was to prove his last appearance for the club he joined from Marseille for �15.8m in July 2008. He started 110 games for the Gunners, scoring 27 goals.
However the France international had made it clear he was not going to sign the new five-year deal on �90,000 a week which had been offered to him during last season.
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With his contract due to expire in June 2012, and the prospect of Arsenal losing him on a Bosman free transfer, the Emirates board have reluctantly decided to allow the player to move on.
The move increases the pressure on Arsene Wenger to bring in reinforcements before the transfer window closes in eight days’ time.
Wenger has now received in excess of �60m from the sales of Nasri, Clichy, and former captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona last week.
“Samir loves the club, there is no reason why people should be disrespectful to him” said Wenger ahead of last weekend’s game following the suggestion that Nasri would be booed by the Arsenal fans if he did play.
The player himself had stated that he wanted to join a club where he had a reasonable chance of winning silverware after spending three years without success at the Emirates.
Nasri did receive a favourable reception from the Gunners fans, but he cannot expect to do so again when Arsenal travel to Eastlands on December 17.
The Nasri situation has divided Arsenal fans all summer, many feeling if he doesn’t want to play for the club he should be allowed to go, others saying the board should break the bank to keep him.
But the player has clearly seen enough last season to convince him that last Arsenal is not a place he can realise his ambitions, and his decision not to sign a new deal gave him the power in his dealings with the club.
Wenger had suggested that he was prepared to keep Nasri for another year and let him leave for nothing at the end of the season, but in the end common – and financial sense – prevailed.
Come January 1 Nasri could speak to other clubs and pre-arrange a move, and that could have been to either Manchester United or Chelsea.
That was not an outcome the Arsenal board were prepared to sanction, and with City ready to spend over the odds again to secure the player, he was allowed to move on.
City’s vast wealth has played a huge part here, not just in terms of the transfer fee but also the wages made available to Nasri. Arsenal simply cannot match the sums that will see Nasri earn almost �10m a year.
He is the fourth Arsenal player to make the move in the past two years, following Clichy and his former team-mates Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor in August 2009.
But Wenger’s bold statement from earlier this summer will now come back to haunt him.
“How can we sell Fabregas and Nasri and still think of ourselves as a big club?” said Wenger in Malaysia back in July, while both players were still at Arsenal.
The answer, however painful it is for Wenger and Arsenal fans, is not up for debate. Arsenal are no longer a big club in the eyes of those who matter most. The players.