Footballing allegiances are funny things. One day you’re kissing the badge of the club you love and the next you’re handing in a transfer request and can’t get out of your club quick enough. The question of ‘loyalty’ comes up more and more often in regards to professional footballers as a direct result to the insane amount of money that has been pumped into the game over the last couple of decades.
It’s the summer transfer window, so doubtless there are plenty of footballers out there having their loyalties tested as we speak. Does a player stay at the club they have made their home or do they make a big-money move to pastures new? One player currently facing that choice is Arsenal ’s Samir Nasri .
After enjoying what was arguably his ‘breakout’ season, Nasri won’t be short of suitors and the fact that he hasn’t signed a new long term deal with the Gunners will have fans sweating it out over his future. His contract runs out at the end of next season and if a new deal isn’t agreed upon there’s every chance that he could leave for free; that’s if he or his agent haven’t already engineered a cut price deal to another club.
The last thing any Arsenal fan wants to see is that their star player has been heavily linked with their rivals Manchester United . The thought of losing Nasri and strengthening United at the same time must be a bitter pill to swallow.
But before Arsenal fans overreact and take out their anger on Nasri – who let’s not forget was a key figure in maintaining Arsenal’s form for the first half of last season – they’d do well to consider all the possibilities. For a start, there’s every chance that Nasri’s unwillingness to sign a new contract isn’t down to Arsenal offering what he and his agent consider an unsatisfactory financial recompense.
Perhaps he’s merely looking for assurances that he’ll get more chances to play in his favoured position in the centre of the park next season. Assurances that Arsene Wenger may be unwilling to give whilst the future of midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas remains up in the air. Fans tend to be much more forgiving when they know for sure that a player is agitating, not for money, but for the betterment of their career.
So why doesn’t Nasri come out and say that he wants to stay at Arsenal and help them on their way to trophies? Why can’t he come out and end the speculation? My response to that is that Nasri tends to be quite shy when it comes to interviews and speaking to the Press. I recall an interview he did with Football Focus once, but even that was only done because his girlfriend was the interviewer. He doesn’t have much of a voice in the media and thus his making an announcement that he’s happy at Arsenal would be quite out of character.
EDIT: Since writing this Nasri has spoken to the French Press, rendering me completely wrong. He told Telefoot, “I don’t know if I will sign a new contract, the discussions are ongoing. Do I want to go to United? First, we should see if it’s real and concrete.” Deeply ambiguous and his refusual to rule out joining Manchester United is likely to frustrate Arsenal fans. Has he completely tarnished his reputation?
Nasri may well move away from Arsenal this summer, there’s also every chance that he won’t. For now at least, he ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. What for the time being appears to be disloyalty may in the future be revealed to be just the opposite.