Morning all, last night I dreamt Arsene was in my kitchen cooking livers and kidneys and I asked him when he was going to get a move on and sign some new players. “This week”, he said, so that’s reassuring, right?
Maybe it’s sad that my cheese powered dream is more reassuring than Samir Nasri when asked about his situation at Arsenal. Speaking to French TV show Telefoot yesterday the conversation went like this (cheers, Dylan):
Q: Will you extend at Arsenal?
I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it. Discussions are taking place. I still have important games with the national team
Q: Were you contacted by Manchester?
You have to ask my agents. I have to see if there is anything concrete/true about it.Then we’ll have to ask the right questions and talk about it with the club after the Poland game with France.
With regards to question 1, I suspect Nasri has thought about extending at Arsenal. So far he’s thought about it enough to knock back every offer the club have made thus far, so it was kind of a silly thing to say. And a touch on the disrespectful side too but he could well be speaking under orders from his agent who, let us not forget, is a massive, massive cunt.
And I imagine that the answer to the second question is again part of his agent’s strategy to get the most money possible out of Arsenal. Let’s hint at interest elsewhere to force the club’s hand, a little bit of scare tactics going on. Once more it’s a bit silly of Nasri and once more a bit disrespectful but then we can’t ignore the fact his agent is a massive, massive cunt.
That said, Nasri is no spring chicken, he’s well aware of what’s he’s saying and how it will be perceived. He knows that he’s in a strong position. He either gets the money he wants or he leaves. Whether that’s next year on a Bosman or this summer in a cut-price deal which will allow the buying club to give him more wages remains to be seen. But that’s the reality of it. That’s modern football for you and Nasri is the archetypal modern footballer.
I’m sure there’s a part of him that’s driven by a need for success and trophies but what seems to be the case right now is that he’s driven almost entirely by money. Which is hardly something new, we’ve come across those guys before, we will again, and it’s something we just have to deal with.
My feeling is that Nasri’s demands for parity with the very top earners at the club don’t have the weight of consistent performance to back them up. Until this season he was a player who showed flashes of brilliance between injury spells and games where he was fairly ineffective. From August to January last season, brilliant. No question about it. January to May, not that good at all. It says a lot that my main image of him from this season isn’t one of his fantastic goals, it’s fluffing the chance at Bolton which would have put us 2- 1 up. Cometh the hour, the main faileth to cometh. Or something.
Over the years I’ve become much better able to deal with situations like this. I don’t take it to heart as much as I used to. If Nasri wants to sign with us, great, but sign on our terms. If our terms aren’t acceptable to him, then that’s fine. We’ll sell him, replace him and move on. He’s a guy who had one outstanding 6 month period in his Arsenal career and who scored some good goals apart from that. We’re not about to lose a player who has provided 6-7 seasons of consistently high quality performances (which is why I would be much less able to be sanguine about the departure of Cesc), so if he wants to follow the money then let him go.
Overall though there’s a slightly worrying trend developing this summer regarding players leaving the club. There are those who very publicly want to go (Denilson, Bendtner), there’s the reluctant leaver (and if Cesc were to go I’d place him in this category) and those who are making it clear via their agents/contract situations that they’d be open to a departure (Nasri, Clichy). When you look as well at the number of fringe players who might also be on their way it’s unprecedented in the Wenger era.
Whether it’s a reflection on modern football or this Arsenal team is open to question but what’s clear is that the rebuilding work needs to be done carefully this summer. There’s nothing wrong with clearing the decks a bit and starting again but you have to be sure (as much as you can be these days) that the players you bring in are in it for the medium-long term. As talented as Nasri is, for example, you can’t help feeling he’s looked at Arsenal as something of a stepping stone. I know that’s a risk you take with any signing but it is vital the manager looks not just at the quality of the players he’s going to bring in but their character too.
We’ll have to wait and see how this Nasri situation plays out but it’s not looking particularly promising. I think they’re trying to hold us to ransom a bit, knowing that other departures could make it more difficult to let him go, but I think we’ve got to stand firm not bow to that kind of pressure. As I said, if he doesn’t like what we’re offering then he can go and somebody new can come in. The same way it has been in the past and always will be. Players come, players go, Arsenal remains.
In other news Henri Lansbury has his eyes on a place in the first team squad next season. Of all the players who went out on loan last season his spell at Norwich was easily the most successful and I think he’s got enough about to him to at least give it a good shot. If he’s using Jack Wilshere as an inspiration then that’s a good start. When I’ve seen him he’s got the same energy and drive when he plays, he’s no stroller trying stupid backheels, so I think he’s got a chance.
Beyond that not a great deal. Still a bank holiday here, but I’m being productive and I’m going to work all day. Although maybe with a beer for lunch.