Samir Nasri is edging closer to the exit door at the Emirates, with Manchester City expected to offer £20million for the French midfielder next week. Nasri looked set to remain with Arsenal for one more season and play out his contract, although now it appears the Gunners have become more willing to listen to offers for the player. Nasri will be free to leave the Emirates next season for nothing, although City have been monitoring the situation closely over the summer and are now poised to make a move for the former Marseille man amid rumours of a rift between the player and manager Arsene Wenger.
There will be Arsenal fans out there who would consider £20million for a player with a year remaining on his contract as pretty generous, particularly as he has signalled that he has no intention of signing a new deal with the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has done some terrific transfer business since taking over at Arsenal, picking up the likes of Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires for £3.5million and £6million respectively. He has also shown he has the ability to sell players at the right time, cashing in when their best days at Arsenal are probably behind them. Just look at the profits made from the sales of Vieira, Thierry Henry, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor etc. But now it could be time to forget about the money and focus on holding on to one of the Premier League’s finest players.
It is understandable that some supporters and managers are not interested in keeping players who do not want to be at their clubs, especially when the likes of Manchester City are waiting in the wings with absurd transfer fees. But these days, Arsenal are in danger of developing a reputation of a selling club. They should be doing all they can to hold on to their star players if they are serious about ending their six-year trophy drought. Stability is often accompanied by success, ergo, Arsenal should be looking to hold on to their players and develop a winning side. For years now, the fans have been told to be patient and trust their manager. The players would do well to take this advice onboard as well. While there were reasons for them to move on, the Emirates trophy cabinet may not have gathered so much dust over the past six seasons had the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor stuck it out a little longer.
Players who regularly play together over a number of seasons will make up the best sides, more often than not. If Arsenal can achieve something this season, who knows, Nasri might become more willing to commit his future to club. But even if he is set on leaving and does so on a free transfer next summer, will Arsenal really miss the money in the same way a club such as Everton or Swansea City would? The dangers of letting Nasri go now could outweigh the benefits of the £20million fee they are likely to demand for the Frenchman. Particularly as his most likely destination is Manchester, with both City and United keen on capturing his signature. Selling key players to title rivals is not the kind of transfer business Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City conduct, so why should Arsenal?
Either way, if you are looking to build a successful team, you should not be in the business of letting your best players leave. However, it is looking increasingly likely that this is exactly what Arsenal will do. Arsenal fans will just be hoping that Arsene Wenger is at least able to bring in a replacement if Nasri is to leave, with Juan Mata, Joey Barton and Shinji Kagawa all being linked with a move to the North London club. Anyway, who needs Samir Nasri when you’ve got Cesc Fabregas?