Samir Nasri should fit comfortably into the category of former Arsenal players who left and can stay well away. He’s taken noticeable jabs at Arsenal and their current standing in English football, all the while hardly making any impact of worth at Manchester City. This one should be filed under ‘good riddance’.
But it’s difficult to dismiss the idea of the player coming back to Arsenal, even if wages and maybe even reality says otherwise. It’s been said that Arsene Wenger keeps in touch with a number of his former players and it’s easy to understand why the manager would keep up to date with Nasri’s situation. The player’s relationship with Roberto Mancini and the reported disagreement could mean there is something in there, but is he what Arsenal want?
Let’s not forget, this is a supremely talented footballer who outshone even Cesc Fabregas at times during his last season at the Emirates. He may never have looked consistently brilliant, but when placed alongside the other players Wenger has opted to play out wide, Nasri always looked noticeably comfortable.
But then you come back to the reality of it and that Wenger will fight for all he’s worth to avoid bringing back old players. The returns like Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry were a different matter, but Wenger will do all he can to find other alternatives, even if looking to his old stars make the most sense.
The player’s swipes at Arsenal over the past 12-months would make it difficult to accept him back, but are Arsenal in a position where they can be picky? If given the opportunity to bring back Nasri and to a tune that would suit them financially, there can be very few negatives found.
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The player might be heavily criticised and seen as spineless in the wake of his actions in the most recent Manchester derby, but it certainly doesn’t take away his talent. This is still a player who can become a fantastic footballer, but it’s the lack of guidance that is perhaps keeping him from fulfilling that potential.
He should never have left Arsenal, and the idea that last year was his first and last big pay day makes little sense due to his age. He wasn’t and still isn’t the finished article, he often fails to combine a string of back-to-back good performances, and his difficult attitude may be the only thing holding back displays such as the one which saw Manchester City put five past Tottenham last season.
Would Arsenal fans welcome him back? It’s one of those cases where many would hate to accept him back due to what’s been said in the past, but many more I’m sure would take him back. Not for love or anything emotionally driven, but rather because he is a very good footballer who can add a lot to the current Arsenal setup.
Does Nasri fall into that category of players who were badly advised? Probably. It was rumoured that an unnamed player and his agent left successful contract negotiations with City sometime last year and celebrated wildly once they were out of earshot. Unnamed, but I have a shortlist as to who that could have been.
The player has his winners medal and shouldn’t have to worry about wages for the best part of his career; he’s still young and can be a well-paid asset to a number of clubs in Europe. But the player has to start focusing on his football and making in impression in the France squad. It’s easy to accept that things might not be working out for him at Manchester City, and it’s also easy to suggest that Arsenal was always the best place for him to be. But there’s no doubting that Wenger’s track record with talents such as Nasri have been impressive and successful.
Even though the player hadn’t hit his peak for Arsenal, there were always flashes of brilliance, starting with that two-goal performance against Manchester United in his debut season with the club. He’s an intelligent and technically excellent player. Arsenal fans have every right to initially and only for a moment send a few jeers Nasri’s way should he return. But it shouldn’t be disregarded that he would be a fantastic addition to any Arsenal team.
Remembering Tomas Rosicky’s impact when coming on against Bradford and alongside Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, Nasri is exactly the type of player to help get the best out of the leading players in the squad.