Replacing Nasri Is Not The Problem…
Time and other commitments have overtaken One Of Us, you’re stuck with me again this morning. You’ll survive…
So Samir Nasri is bidding Arsenal a fond farewell and an even bigger grin at his new Mancunian pay-packet. In cricketing parlance, it was a drama that almost carried its bat through the transfer window but Arsenal decided to succumb to the realisation that a £10m profit now is better than a £13m loss next summer.
Did I say a fond farewell? Recent events suggest otherwise. Rancour surfaced at Newcastle, Nasri demanded respect. It was a forlorn request. Having kept quiet, tantalised early on that the speculation was perhaps misleading, the player was inviting the response he got. Stapleton had trodden the path before him and could have advised him better than his agent has on how to deal with the fallout.
Nasri indicated last year that the deal was all but done, re-iterated by Wenger early last season. Problems arose and suddenly the PR came that it was Arsenal’s fault the move is happening. Money talked very loudly to the player in the interim period. Why not accept the offer of doubling your salary, few would deny him that opportunity. We would not turn it down ourselves without very good reason, so why should he?
Sadly for Nasri, it is not indicator of his abilities. Nasri was infuriatingly inconsistent, incapable of realising his potential, unable to move from being very good to having star quality. The missing ingredient for me, was not being able to lift the side, to carry them when times were tough. A £200k weekly wage will not hide those deficiencies. In his defence, age may allow for that responsibility to develop, being in his mid-20s he has time but the seasons pass quickly and I hesitate to say whether he will take the necessary steps.
Perhaps I am doing him an injustice. Could it be that he cares more about honours? Perhaps he does not buy into the (continual) rebuilding process undertaken annually at Arsenal without realising (or caring) that he will contribute to the process by refusing a new deal with Arsenal. But he is going or gone by the time you read this and I don’t believe either of those are prime motivations.
Amid the rancour it is easy to forget the stellar moments in an Arsenal shirt, a brace against Manchester United, a stunner against Porto, they will be remembered well. But Samir will be mentioned in the same breath as Marinello, as Petrovic. He could – and should – have been on the same level as Pires but that is not to be, at Arsenal at least.
When the promises of a busy summer came early in the pre-season, selling was not the interpretation put on the transfer window. We were steeled for Catalan approaches and the question is what damage has losing both Nasri and Cesc in one summer done to morale. The players must be wondering who the leaders are, where is the star quality.
Some will step up to the plate, expectations are high for Jack Wilshere and a fit Robin van Persie is no slouch. But in midfield we look inexperienced. Ramsey’s career was crudely interrupted by injury, a similar issue faced by Frimpong. Song and Rosicky are the two genuinely experienced players in the central area. Not threadbare but tissue paper thin.
The ongoing sagas over both departures has stifled Wenger’s ability to strengthen the midfield. Yet they have been dragging on for so long that surely replacements / alternatives have long been identified and contact made? Should Arsenal have bought first, ready to sell? The theory is that the purchase price would have been lower as clubs would not know how much Arsenal really have to spend.
All well and good but knowing that Arsenal have replacements already for Cesc and Nasri would not have driven the selling price up, more likely down. Signing the replacements first sends a signal that deals can be completed for the want-away players. Where is the motivation for increasing offers if Arsenal are ready to sell? Perhaps the purchasing should have been carried out first but in Barcelona’s case there was no guarantee of them being willing or able to meet Arsenal’s demands.
That ignores replacements who are already at the club, for Nasri at least. Gervinho is more direct whilst in Arshavin, we fill the inconsistent role in the team with more attacking reward. There is no apparent necessity to replace the Frenchman.
Fábregas is an entirely different matter. You do not easily replace a player of his quality. Signing another world-class player is desirable but even then adapting formations and tactics to compensate for deficiencies in abilities, will be necessary. Personally I would rather Wenger addressed the issues of Cesc’s departure and invested the remainder from the two deals in strengthening the defence.
Bill Kenwright has bemoaned Everton’s inability to spend, the reluctance of their bank to fund transfers highlights the problems faced by many clubs. Perhaps Arsenal could lend a hand by sending them a suitcase full of used tenners and getting a Jagielka in return?
Some would argue that a new forward is required but with Miyachi and Gervinho on the wings, is Walcott playing centrally the answer? He seems to think so and his pace would compliment van Persie’s movement well. Yet there is a part of me that wonders if Theo’s ambitions are still driven by the dream of emulating Thierry Henry, The Emirates his playground rather than the concrete squares of the Thames Valley’s education facilities.
The obvious similarities are there, wide men with pace, moving centrally. Perhaps these are the discussions that took place on the terraces of Turin and Monaco, how no-one could see Henry making it as lone striker. How wrong they were as we might be too.
Finally, ‘Appy ‘Arry gave an astute lesson in signing players, Emmanuel Adebayor and Tottenham are apparently well-suited because they share a hatred of Arsenal. Lassanna Diarra is also a target for the chirpy character or is that caricature? So Mr Fancy Pants Wenger, get your hate-o-meter out and do the business…