Samir Nasri: Uproar over His Classless Words Disguises Bitter Truth for Arsenal
Samir Nasri, Gooner Nation's latest enfant terrible, did nothing to improve his popularity ratings in North London with a set of pointed comments aimed at Arsenal, his former teammates and Arsenal fans shortly after Manchester City lifted their first league title in 44 years.
Here's part of what he actually did say (via The Telegraph):
People at Arsenal tried to make out that I came here for the money.
I hope they are watching me now, collecting my Premier League winner’s medal. I believe they have not won a trophy for many years now.
I made the hard choice to come and fight for my place at a big club, where they never settle for second best, and I have proved it correct.
I now hope the Arsenal fans can get on with their lives and forget me, they should celebrate their third-place achievement and I will focus on winning titles.
My first reaction to that was "childish, yet true." Sacrilege?
Nasri stated all along that he was going to Manchester City to win titles. Now we may all speculate—and we're probably right—that money played a part. £170,000 a week is no loose change.
But whether I may like to admit it or not, Manchester City have certainly done more in the past few transfer windows to build a title-winning team than Arsenal have.
Yes, they have greater means. Yes, it is not a level financial playing field. But "Clichy, Aguero and Nasri" shows a lot more ambition than "Santos, Park and Gervinho." Not to mention the added departures of Clichy, Nasri and Fabregas.
What will Samir Nasri be doing next season?
Some players will patiently wait for success at a club they love. Others treat football as just a career—they want to maximize their success in what is a ridiculously short time-frame.
And anyway, Nasri is a Marseille native. He's no North London boy. Arsenal did to Marseille what City did to Arsenal. Tough, but that's football.
There is no doubt, though, that Arsenal have not strengthened their team over the past three or four seasons. You can't really if you sell your best players each summer. And last summer's dealings were a case study in transfer market ineptitude.
City, on the other hand, have truly gone from strength to strength. Buying early and buying well.
They have displayed a burning ambition to win. Arsenal have displayed the desire to compete.
I do think it's petty and immature for Nasri to rub it in the Arsenal fans' faces that we finished third, but we've given him a hard time, haven't we? And he's 24 and earning £170,000 a week. What did you expect, private-school etiquette?
Now where he did go wrong, and badly so, was when he said:
If all that I was interested in was money, the easiest decision would have been to stay at Arsenal, picking up my money every week and walking into the team. There are many people doing this right now at Arsenal.
Here he begins to criticize the club and his former teammates, neither of whom said a word when he left. (Besides Frimpong, but we can ignore him for the moment.)
I believe he disrespects Arsenal and Arsene Wenger by saying he could walk into this Arsenal team—irrespective of the fact that he's right—and he makes it worse by criticizing those Arsenal players who he believes are not really pulling their weight—even though he may be right again.
And if you don't agree with the last bit, see how many Arsenal players you can name who have improved over the course of this season. I tried, and I couldn't get beyond Szczesny, Koscielny, Coquelin, Song, Arteta and Rosicky. And I'm not including RVP and Sagna, who are genuinely world class.
All said and done, though, the picture isn't all bright and cheery for Mr Nasri.
Truth be told, he's had a fairly average season and spent a fair number of games warming the bench. He started with a flurry of assists, but his productivity then nosedived over the rest of the season. If he's honest, I doubt if even he will claim that he was one of City's top seven or eight players this season.
So yes, he has a medal, but I wouldn't say he's well and truly earned it.
But what is certainly more worrying for him—or at least it should be, unless he just wants to keep "picking up his money"—is the future.
In terms of creative talent, he is undoubtedly behind Silva, Tevez, Aguero, Balotelli and Yaya Toure in the City pecking order. Alarmingly for Nasri, Roberto Mancini was noticeably successful when moving Toure forward—at Nasri's expense—against Newcastle and deploying two defensive midfielders.
And over at Lille, Mr Hazard seems to be feeling blue. And Mancini has come out and stated that City will sign more players this summer. Guess who's going to be back in those comfy seats in the Etihad dugout?
So, Samir, I think you may have jumped the gun a little bit. Well done on your medal, but for your sake, let's not hope it's the last. Or else, you may just get to hear about it.
And remember what they say about those who laugh last....
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